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fel of God against themselves, and resistVol.VII.
ing such means as would have brought Tyre and Sidon, Sodom and Gomorrah to repentance; till they had despised the Doctrine of Life and Salvation, delivered to them by the Son of God, and confirmed from Heaven, by the clearest and greatest Miracles; and by wicked hands had crucified and pain the Son of God, and the Saviour of the World. Nay, even after this greatest of fins that ever was committed, God waited for their Repentance forty Years, to see if in that time they would be brought to a sense of their fins,and to know the things which belonged to their peace. And no wonder if after such provocations, and so much pati. ence,
and so obstinate an impenitency, the goodness of God at last gave way to his justice, and wrath came upon them to the utmost.
So that all these Instances rightly considered, are rather commendations of the Divine Goodness, than just and reasonable objections against it; and
notwithstanding the severity of them, : it is evident that God is good, from the primary inclinations of his nature ; and sewere only upon necessity, and in case of
just provocation. And to be otherwise,
VOL.VII. not to punish insolent Impiety and incorrigible Wickedness, in a severe and remarkable manner, would not be goodness, but a fond indulgence ; not patience, but stupidity ; not mercy to Mankind, but cruelty ; because it would be an encouragement to them to do more mischief, and to bring greater misery upon themselves.
So that if we suppose God to be holy and just, as well as good, there is nothing in any of these Instances, but what is very consistent with all that - goodness which we can suppose to be in a holy, and wise, and just Governour, who is a declared Enemy to Sin, and is resolved to give all fitting discountenance to the breach and violation of his Laws. It is necessary in kindness and compassion to the rest of Mankind, that some should be made remarkable Instances of God's severity, that the punishment of a few may be a warn. ing to all, that they may bear and fear, and by avoiding the like fins, may prevent the like severity upon themselves.
And now I have, as briefly as I could, explained and vindicated the
goodness of God; the consideration Vol.VII: whereof is fruitful of many excel
lent and useful Inferences, in relation both
to our Comfort and our Duty: But these I shall refer to another opportunity
The Goodness of God.
PSAL. CXLV. 9.
The Lord is Good to all, and his tender
Mercies are over all his works.
Have made several Discourses up-
of God ; fhewing what it is ; on what accounts we afcribe it to God; what are the Effects and large extent of it to the whole Creation, and more particularly to Mankind ; and, in the last place, considered the several Objections which seem to lie against it. I proceed now to the Application of this excellent Argument, the considederation whereof is so fruitful of useful Inferences, in relation boch to our
Comfort and Duty: And,
1. This shews us the prodigious Vol. VII. folly and unreasonableness of Atheism.
Most of the Atheism that is in the World, doth not so much consist in a firm perswafion that there is no God, as in vain wishes and desires that there were none. Bad Men think it would be a happiness to them, and that they should be in a much better condition, if there were no God, than if there be one. Nemo deum non esse credit, niß cui deum non effe expedit, no Man is apt to disbelieve a God, but he mbose Interest it is that there should be none. And if we could see into the Hearts of wicked Men, we should find this lying at the bottom, that if there be a God, he is just and will punish sin, that he is infinite in power and not to be refifted, and therefore kills them with his terror fo often as they think of him; hence they apprehend it their interest, that there should be no God, and wish there were none, and thence are apt to cherish in their Minds a vain hope that there is none, and at last endeavour to impose upon themselves by vain reasonings, and to suppress the belief of a God, and to stifle their patural