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with their filth and corruption; to groan under the S ER M. burthen and weight of them; to pant and labour for 1. a riddance from them.
2. That God did not upon the first glimpses of provocation proceed to the execution and discharge of his wrath, but did with wonderful patience expect a change in the offenders, waiting to be gracious, as the Ifa. xxx. Prophet speaketh; affording more than competent 18. time, and means more than sufficient of appeasing him by repentance ; vouchsafing frequent admonitions, solicitations, threatenings, moderate corrections, and other such proper methods conducing to their amendment, and to their preservation.
3. That their inflictions themselves, how grievous foever in appearance, were not really extreme in meafure; not accompanied with so acute torments, nor with so lingering pains, nor with so utter a ruin, as might have been inflicted ; but that (as Ezra, in respect to one of those cases, confesseth) they were lefs Ez. ix. 13. than their iniquities deferved. That (as it is in the Psalm) He did not stir up all his wrath ; which would Pl. lxxviii. have immediately consumed them, or infinitely tor- 38. mented them.
4. That (consequently upon some of those premises) the afflictions brought upon them were in a fort rather necessary than voluntary in respect of him; rather a natural fruit of their dispositions and dealings, than a free result of his will; however con- Ezek. xviii. trary to his primary intentions and desires. Whence 23, 3.:
( xxxiii, 11. he no less truly than earnestly disclaims having any Lam iji. pleasure in their death, that he afflicted willingly, or 33. Hof. grieved the children of men; and charged their disasters upon themselves, as the sole causes of them.
5. That farther, the chastisements inflicted were wholesome and profitable, both in their own nature, and according to his design; both in respect to the generality of men, (who by them were warned, and by such examples deterred from incurring the like
rection haymore (to what purpofophet, frould ye be
SER M. mischiefs d; were kept from the inconveniences, seI. cured from the temptations, the violences, the al
lurements, the contagions of the present evil ftate;
according to that realon alledged for punishments of Deut. xvii. this kind : All the people fall hear, and fear, and do
no more presumptuously,) and in regard to the sufferers themselves, who thereby were prevented from pro
ceeding farther in theis wicked courses ; accumulatRom. ii. 5. ing (or treasuring up, as the Apostle speaketh) farther
degrees of wrath, as obdurate and incorrigible people Isa. i. 5. will surely do : (Why, saith the Prophet, should ye be xxvi. 10. Atricken any more? (to what purpose is moderate cor
rection?) Ye will revolt more and more.) That he did
with a kind of violence to his own inclinations, and Hof. xi. 8. reluctancy, inflict punishments on them. O Ephraim,
how mall I give thee up, O Ephrain? Yea farther.
6. That, during their sufferance, God did bear Isa. Ixiii. compassion toward them who underwent it. His 9.15.;. bowels, as we are told, founded and were troubled; his Jer. xxxi. heart was turned within him; his repentings were kindled
together; in all their afflictions himself was afflicted; he Gen. vi. 3. viii. 21.“ remembered and considered they were but duft; that they
i were but flesh, (that they were but of a weak and 14. Ixxviii. 39. frail temper; that they were naturally prone to cor
ruption and evil,) and did therefore pity their infir
mity, and their misery. Hab. iii. 2. 7. That God in his wrath remembered mercy, (as the
prophet Habakkuk speaks,) mixing gracious intenGen. vi. 3. tions of future refreshment and reparation with the viii. 21.
dis. present executions of justice. I know (faith he in the 11. xxxii. prophet Jeremiah) the thoughts that I think toward you;
thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Behold, I will bring health and cure, I will cure them, and will reveal unto them abundance of peace and
Chryf. 'Avdp. .
e Ensinoo tokeapías, où two górtwo un astwo dixny, árral tri píadortu dioedéutros. Chryf. tom. 8. p. 99.
truth. truth. And, For a small moment (faith he again in s ERM. Isaiah) have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies 1. will I gather thee. And, Ye fall be comforted con- Ila. liv. 7. cerning the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem- Ezek. xiv. and ye shall know, that I have not done without cause“. all that I have done in it; faith the Lord (he saith so in Ezekiel) without cause, that is, without a beneficial design toward them.
8. Lastly, That he always signified a readiness to turn from his anger, and to forgive them; and upon very equal and easy terms to be fully reconciled to them ; according to that in the Psalmist, He doth not Pf. ciii. 9. always chide, neither will he keep his anger for ever ; but upon any reasonable overtures of humiliation, confession, and conversion to him, was ready to abate, yea, to remove the effects of his displeasure: Thou Psal. xcix. wajt a God that forgavest them, though thou tookeft 8. vengeance of their inventions
These particulars, if we attentively survey those dreadful examples of divine severity forementioned, (the greatest which history acquaints us with, or which have been shewed on this theatre of human affairs,) we may observe most of them in all, all of them in some, either plainly expressed, or sufficiently insi. nuated by the circumitances observable in the histo. rical narrations concerning them ; so that even the harshest instances of God's wrathful dealing with Tome men, may well serve to the illustration of his mercy and goodness toward all men ; may evince it true, what our Lord affirms, that God is, xensos éri écroisas xai nounpy's, kind and beneficent even to the Luke vi. 35. moft ingrateful and unworthy persons. To make which observation good, and consequently to assert the verity of our text (that God is good unto all, and merciful over all his works) against the most plausible exceptions, I shall examine the particulars in the following discourse.
blervable in the
harshest innons concernina
Of the Goodness of God.
PSALM cxlv, 9.
The Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are :
over all his works.
I SHALL now more particularly consider the se-serm. veral instances before mentioned.
II. I. The punishment inflicted on mankind for the first transgression containeth in it much of depth and mystery, surpassing perhaps all capacity of man to reach ; its full comprehension being by divine wisdom, I conceive, purposely concealed from us; so that I cannot pretend thoroughly to explain it; and shall not therefore speak much about it."
This indeed is clear, that God did in his proceedings, occafioned thereby, intend remarkably to evidence his grievous resentment and indignation against wilsul disobedience ; yet in the management thereof we may observe, that,
1. After the provocation (in itself so high, and liable to so great aggravations) f God did express his resentment in so calm and gentle a manner, that
Vid. Chryf. 'Ande. S'. Oj yap dini, naháme sixòs me ifponívor simiw, w prape xai mapulaga, &c. Ibid. VOL. I.