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Good and natural Evil are fo clofely con- SERM.IV.
not be fo happy; except there were fo ma-
to the Fall.
People may, I know,
per upon himself by Debauchery, he permitted the Madness to devolve upon his Children.
It is one Thing to fay, that God was, or could be the Author of Evil; and another to say, that, when Evil was introduced by Man, he did not work a Miracle, to prevent the natural Confequences of it; but fuffered it for the Sake of bringing a greater Good out of it; and that by the Redemption, he has advanced Man to much fuperior Happiness, than he could have had any Title to, if he had continued in a State of Innocence. This is the fcriptural Solution of the Difficulty. Where Sin abounded, Grace did much more abound. As in Adam all die; fo in Chrift fball all be made alive. As by one Man Sin entered into the World, and Death by Sin; fo the Grace of God hath abounded unto all Men, through Jefus Chrift. This was the Labour of Love (if any Thing to Love can be a Labour) to countervail the ill Effects of the Fall, by an univerfal Remedy.
However great a Myftery the Tranfmiffion of Sin may be, which yet is not a greater Difficulty, than the Tranfmiffion
of Madness, or any other Disease, from SERM. IV. Father to Son; yet Man, without this Clue to unravel the Intricacies of his Nature, is a greater Mystery to himself, than the Tranfmiffion of Sin can be to him. Original Sin cannot be fo inconceivable by him, as he is by himself without it. For, pray obferve: It cannot enter into the Head of Man to conceive greater Inconfiftencies, Abfurdities, and Contrarieties ; than he may find, if he looks honestly and fairly into it, in his own Heart. How many pious Refolutions he forms, which, perhaps, dye in Embryo, before they ripen into Birth; and yet how many foolish and vain Projects: His Thoughts now afpiring to, and grafping after, heavenly Happiness, and anon finking into the Dregs of CorEruption! He is a ftrange Compound of Excellency and Bafeness; of the Angel and the Brute; a motley Mixture of Knowledge and Ignorance, of Virtue and Vice, of Happiness and Mifery; the Flesh warring against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the Flesh; two fuch mortal Enemies, that they are continually jarring and oppofing each other; and yet two fuch dear Friends, that they dread a Separation from each other. A a 2.
Let then the Difficulties of the Fall be never fo great; yet there is no getting rid of them, but at the Expence of an Absurdity, the greatest of Absurdities, viz. that Creatures fo corrupt as we are, could be immediately formed by an infinitely perfect God, (who cannot behold Iniquity and Corruption with Pleafure) without any Contagion derived from, and tranfmitted to us by, our first Parents. Let a Man look within himself, and he will find, he will feel, a Demonftration of one Part of the Scriptures, the Truth of the Fall: Or, if he cannot fee it there, he will prove by his very Blindness the Truth which he denies. But if he admits this Part of the Scriptures to be true, I cannot perceive, why he fhould demur as to the reft. For there is no Part of them which is attended with
greater Difficulties. "I appeal (fays a lively Writer) to yourself, in your own "Degree of Goodness, if you could create your own Children, whether you would not create them in a better State, and "with lefs of Evil, than that in which you was born yourself. Therefore, only is fuppofing God to have your Degree of Goodness, he could not have created 3.
the firft Man, from whom your Nature SERM.IV. "is derived, in the State that you are; "and therefore, fuppofing him only to be good, you have fufficient Proof; but "fuppofing him to be, what he undoubtedly is, infinitely good, you have a full "Demonstration, that you are a fallen "Creature, or not in that State in which "God created you."
What remains, but that we ftrive to recover that Happiness by thinking foberly, which our first Parents forfeited by ambitious and afpiring Thoughts. Humility is the Valley, in which Benevolence (and every other Virtue) delights to grow. For whatever Profeflions of Benevolence proud Men may make; Pride and Benevolence are utterly inconfiftent. He, who is big with the Sentiments of his Dignity, must have an Averfion to those, who do not seem to have as exalted an Opinion of him, as he has of himself. Now, as none can think as extravagantly of a proud Man, as he thinks of himself; the Confequence is, that he muft hate all Mankind, except a few Flatterers. He must be angry with thofe, who do not proportion their Regard to his imaginary Deferts, which it is impoffible to do.
A a 3