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likewise such a full and entire persuasion in his mind, that the decrees of the Almighty are, ever have been, and ever must be, founded in infinite goodness, wisdom, and power, that he fully trusts in his gracious Creator, (though he should slay him,) under the assured belief, that whatever God does is right, whether he can or cannot comprehend his decrees. He believes, that if he endeavours with all his heart and soul to love, honour, and obey him, in spite of all adversity he shall possess the peace of God in this life; and, through God's goodness, and the merits of his Redeemer, he shall receive a favourable sentence at the day of judgment. This opinion the holy page of Scripture, without any presumption on his part, authorizes him to adopt, if he is conscious of a sincere wish and endeavour to obey the terms on which it is grounded; and humbly solicits God's grace and favour to enable him to do so. This opinion thus formed in the mind, and supported by the contemplation of being permitted hereafter to partake of those joys, which are at God's right hand for evermore, possesses in truth and reality a virtue sufficient to counterpoise all the miseries of this life.
The mind of man thus constituted and dis
ciplined, regards the inconveniences of this life in a way extremely advantageous to its feelings : he is by no means discomposed by their occurrence in the manner the bulk of mankind are; for he actually and in truth considers them only as a traveller, on his road to take possession of a vast estate in a distant country, regards the accidental inconveniences he meets with at the several inns at which he may be obliged to stop. He would indeed much rather these inconveniences did not occur; but their prevalence neither destroys his cheerfulness, or dims the brilliancy of that heavenly prospect and inheritance he has in view, and in consequence that joy which surrounds his heart.
The original sin of Adam was undoubtedly the cause of the introduction of misery into the world ; and the sins of the inhabitants of it are the cause of its continuance, in the great degree and measure in which we see its present existence : it is in vain to seek for
any other cause, since, if a fair appeal is made by each man to his bosom, the one assigned must appear just and adequate. The best possible way therefore, I apprehend, for any man to be convinced that God governs the world in the manner he himself expressly
declares by his prophet Jeremiah that he does, not only “ in judgment and righteousness, “ but in lovingkindness," and as mercifully as the sins of men will allow his justice to do, is for every man not so much to consider how God is pleased to deal with other men ; for he can know neither their hearts, or principles of conduct, or God's reasons for the mode or measure of his dealing with them, and without this knowledge it is extreme folly and presumption to suppose he can be any judge; but, instead of this, to consider how God is pleased to deal personally with himself : for, knowing the motives and principles on which he has acted in life, and the measure of his obedience and disobedience to the dictates of his reason, the suggestions of his conscience, and the rules of his religion ; by possessing this knowledge, whether learned or unlearned, he is a competent judge of God's conduct to him: and when he has considered as well as he can, and as impartially and exactly as he can, the merit and demerit of his thoughts, words, and deeds, during his life; then let him make a serious and solemn appeal to his heart, and ask himself whether God has or has not been a severe master to him: and as
I am sure he must acknowledge and confess that God has upon the whole dealt most graciously and indulgently by him, and will acknowledge with David in the 145th Psalm, “ The Lord is loving unto every man, and his
mercy is over all his works ;" let him then be persuaded, that God has the same love, affection, and kindness, for his other intellectual creatures in general, as for him in particular ; and therefore that he has dealt, and does deal, graciously and kindly by them all, frequently as much by punishing as in rewarding them. Let him only adopt this just mode of deciding on the conduct of God, and, if he is a man of any fairness, candour, or reason, he will never in future think of arraigning God's government of the world in any one particular, or say or think there is any imperfection in it, arising either from the promiscuous and indiscriminate distribution of the good things in this life, or from the misery that apparently exists in it. On the contrary, he will greatly admire the excellency of God's moral government in this important particular; that, whilst the flagitiousness of man's conduct occasions the prevalence and infliction of so much
misery in the world, to those characters, who consider it as their chief duty and proper ambition to love, honour, and obey their God, he allows the charming, the exhilarating privilege of availing themselves of his gracious promises; that in the day of trouble they may consider him as a strong rock and fortress, to which they may alway resort; as a castle, into which they may enter and be safe. He exempts them from the apprehension of evil tidings, and grants them his peace; the possession of which infallibly secures to them, amidst all the bustle, confusion, and misery of the world, a considerable portion of comfort and enjoyment in it; with a constant persuasion, that, whenever they quit it, through his goodness, and the merits of their blessed Redeemer, they shall be admitted into the kingdom of heaven, and there enjoy a state of endless felicity.
OBJECTION IV. Events in human life are perpetually occurring of a nature entirely repugnant to what our reason would lead us to suppose could happen, if the world was governed by the providence of a wise and just God; and therefore the occurrence of