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his work: The laws of Nature at least are of his appointment. Now according to these laws, we see that children are every day suffering the most grievous calamities, on account of the crimes of their parents and progenitors. It is God's will, that they should do fo: he has made the world so, that they must. What therefore we know he hath done, in many instances which we see, we may well believe he will do in others, if he be pleased to tell us fo.
But the instances which we see, are according to the course of nature. That is the very thing insisted on. God hath established the course of nature; and by the course of nature we find a multitude of such sufferings inflicted, as those which he threatens in the commandment.
Would you urge, that these natural sufferings are not punishments? Shall I ask, whether they are visitations? Alas! to how little purpose both of us! Will our words make any alteration in them? Are the things changed, because we name them differently? Do they become, either less the act of Almighty God, or less calamirous to those on whom they fall?
When a new born infant is carried of by a malady, owing, suppose, to the intemperance of it's parent; the child is not to blame, yet it feels pain and dies.
It is written, The Lord struck the child 2 Sam.xii. that Uriah's wife bare unto David. Are not the laws of nature, by which the child of the intemperare person dies, the hand of the same God, who flew this child of David? Or was this sufferer more innocent, than the other?
The Supreme Governor is directed, no doubt, by his wifdom and rectitude in all his actions, and all his appointments. The reasons of his general laws, and of
his particular acts may be different, and yet both, no doubt, are alike good. But in the guilt of the parents, and the consequent death of the innocent children, the two instances are perfectly similar : and no complaint can be made against the Divine Government in favour of the one sufferer, that will not be equally applicable to the other.
Can we but admire that heavenly wis
dom, which reacheth, as the wise man Wild.viii. speaks, from one end to another, and sweetly
doth order all things? and among the rest, hath established this harmony between natural religion and revealed? in so much that every cavil at the doctrines of revelation, is found to be an objection against the religion of nature, and an arraignment of the Creator of the world.
Yet, say we, The way of the Lord is not xxii, 29. equal; The fathers have eaten four grapes, and the children's teeth are set on, edge.
Therefore will I judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, faith the Lord God.
You complain of the partiality of my Providence; therefore will I be indeed impartial to you, and deal with you according to your deserts: you demand justice, and you shall have it; but remember, that it will descend in punishment. Since you call me so strictly to account, I will be strict and exact in my reckoning with you: I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, faith the Lord God.
Oh! can there be a severer threatening in the whole storehouse of divine vengeance? How impatiently do we call out, for what will be our greatest calamity! Alas! God is but just, when He condemns us sinners to everlasting punishment: and is this, what we desire of Him? this, what we reproach Him for refufing? Forgive
Him this wrong. His denial may be no more than a delay. The recompence we require may overtake us : not so soon indeed as we ask, or as we have deserved ; but in full weight and measure at last, and with such clear demonstration of it's justice, as to overwhelm all our complaints and hopes together.
Instead of censuring the Divine ways, let us amend our own. Let us do, what we know certainly to be our duty; and
not presume to say what is His : His Job Duty! to us! who, what are we? He givXxxiii. 33.
eth not account of any of his matters. He will do what He sees fit; and that will be what is so.
Nay, He is ready to do for us, not that which is not right, That be far from Him; but that which we have no right to require: He will reward us, if we do what is but our duty; and when we do it not, if we repent, He will forgive.