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cannot by any contribution of their counsels, discern the ten thousandth part of the excellency of this little parcel of God's works. And as to the whole, it is next to nothing which we comprehend: every worm, every plant excelleth the highest human apprehension. Is there no physical goodness in all this unmeasurable, this harmonious, this glorious frame? Look about you, look upwards, and deny it if you can. And is there no moral goodness in holy men and angels? And is there no felicity and glorious goodness in all the heavens? What mind can be so black, as to deny all created goodness?
Quest.2. Is not all the goodness of the whole creation communicated from God?' Did it make itself? Or who else made it? Are not all effects from their causes? And is he not the first cause? See what I have said to prove this fully in the aforesaid Treatise.
Quest. 3. Hath God made a world that is better than himself? Could he give more goodness than he had to give? Must not he needs be better than all his works?
Quest. 4. Is he fit to be quarrelled with for want of goodness, who hath infinitely more goodness than the whole world besides?' More than sun and stars, heaven and earth, angels and men, all set together in all their single and their united, harmonious worth? If he be better than all, is he not most beyond accusation or exception?
Quest. 5. Must not God necessarily excel his works? Must he needs make every worm a god? Or must he make any god, or equal to himself?' Is not that a contradiction? And is there not necessarily an imperfection in all that is not God? Nothing can be so great, so wise, so good, so holy, so immutable, so self-sufficient, so blessed, as God.
Quest. 6. Is not God's creation a harmonious universe, of which individuals are but the parts?' Are not the parts for the whole, and their worth to be valued for the whole, or for the common ends? Must every pin in a watch, or every stitch in your garment, or every part of your house, or every member of your body, and every humour or excrement in it, have that excellency which may simply dignify itself in a compared or separated sense? Or rather, must it not have that excellency which belongeth to it as a part of the whole for the common end of all together? Is not that best, that
is best to the order, beauty, and usefulness of the universal frame?
Quest. 7. Is it necessary to this end, or to prove God's goodness, that all individuals, or species of creatures, must be of the highest rank or excellency?' Is God wanting in goodness, if every man be not an angel, or every angel made unchangeable, or every unlearned man a doctor, or every star a sun, or every cloud or clod a star, or every beast a man, or every worm an elephant, or every weed a rose, or every member a heart or head, or every excrement blood and spirits? Will you think that a man doth reason like a man who thus disputeth, 'He that doth not do that which is best when he can do it, is not perfectly good, and therefore is not God. But he that maketh toads and serpents, and maketh the guts the passage of filthy excrements, when he could have made them equal with the heart, doth not do that which is best, when he can do it. Therefore he is not perfectly good; therefore he is not God: therefore there is no God; therefore there is no Creator; therefore the world hath no cause, or made itself, and preserveth itself. Therefore I made myself, and must rule and preserve myself.' Conclude next, 'Therefore I will never suffer, nor die,' and thus prove the wisdom of such reasoning, if you can.
Quest. 8. If God made man and all things,' did he not make them for himself, for the pleasure of his own will? Must he not needs in reason be the end of all, who is the beginning and cause of all?' And is not that means the best which is aptest to the end? And doth not the proper goodness of a means consist in its aptitude to promote the end? And then is not that the goodness of all creatures (partly to be what the Creator efficiently maketh them, and partly) to fulfil his will, and what creature hath not this goodness, as to the absolute will of his decrees, which all fulfil?
Quest. 9. Are not now both these conclusions of infallible certainty, and therefore not at all contradictory?' 1. That God is most good, because he is the cause of all the good in the whole creation? 2. And yet that there are toads, serpents, darkness, death, sickness, pains, &c. which there'fore are no whit inconsistent with his goodness? Neither of them being capable of a denial, or of a sober doubt.
Quest. 10. Is not an angel and man, endued with reason and freewill, and left to choose or refuse his own rectitude
and felicity (or misery) capable of knowing, loving, serving, and enjoying God, if he will? and instructed by a perfect holy law (with rewards and punishments) to choose aright? I say, is not such a creature as noble and as meet for God to make as a stone, or a toad, or worm, or serpent?' If God choose to please his own holy will, by making a world of such intellectual, free agents, whom he will (ordinarily) rule by the way of moral laws and motives; is this any disparagement to his wisdom and goodness? It is true, that such a mutable freewill is below a confirmed, immutable will. But it is as true, that a toad is below a man; and that Infinite wisdom thought not meet to make all his creatures of one rank or size, not to make all faces alike, nor all the stones in the street alike, but in wonderful variety. It is not then unbeseeming God, to make a world of rational freeagents, under such a moral government by laws.
Quest. 11. If all these free-agents have abused their liberty and undone themselves, if he so far shew mercy to them all, as that they may be all happy if they will, and none of them shall perish but for wilful and final refusing of the saving means and mercy which is offered to them; and if they will, they may live with God himself, and Christ and angels in endless glory; and none shall lose this free-given felicity, but for final refusal and contempt, preferring certain vanity and dung before it. And if officers be commissioned, and means provided, to acquaint all, in several measures, with the reasons why they should choose heaven and holiness before the dirty pleasures of sin, and to importune them daily to such a choice; and if a life of mercies be granted to allure them, and afflictions to drive them, and examples to invite them to choose aright. I say, after all this, 'have any of these persons cause to complain, that God dealeth not mercifully with them?" Shall they, that will not accept of life and mercy offered them, accuse him as cruel that importuneth them to accept it?
Quest. 12. Is the goodness of a king to be judged of by the interest of murderers in the gaol?' When he restrained them by laws, when he warned them by legal penalties, when he encourageth and protecteth all the good; when the lives of the innocent need this severity against the wicked; when the commonwealth would take him to be bad, that would not restrain thieves and murderers by penalties. Yea,
though this king could, if he would, have set a constant guard on these men to have kept these men from murdering, but he thinketh meet only to govern them by laws; will you rather argue, that the gaol is a place of misery, therefore the king is cruel, than, the rest of the kingdom flourish in prosperity and peace, therefore the king is wise and gracious. And is not this little dirty spot of earth, the next door to hell, a place defiled by wilful sin, and unfit to be the index of God's benignity, from whence we should take an estimate of it?
13 Quest. 13. Do not all men in the world confess God's goodness first or last?' Do not all true believers, that are themselves, acknowledge that he is infinitely good, and good to them, and that his mercy is over all his works, and endureth for ever? And do not the consciences of the damned grind and tear them for the contempt of goodness, and setting against mercy, even mercy to themselves? This is the fuel that feedeth hell, not by way of delusion, but experimental conviction. If the man that doubteth of God's goodness and mercy to him, do despair, or fear damnation, he foolishly contradicteth himself. For hell and damnation is a state of misery and torment, in the loss, and in the conscience and sense of refused and abused mercy. If therefore God be not merciful to you, then you need not fear being damned for sinning against and refusing mercy. For that which is not, cannot be sinned against, or abused. If God be merciful, you may be saved if you will accept this mercy; if he be not, you cannot in justice be damned for rejecting that mercy which was none. And if God be not merciful and just, he is not God. And if there be no God, there is none to damn you. But all confess, in heaven and hell, some with joy, and some with self-tormenting anguish, that God was inconceivably good and merciful.
Quest. 14. What if it were but one or two in a whole kingdom that were damned, and that only for obstinate unpersuadable, final refusal of grace and salvation, and all the rest of the world should be saved; tell me, would you then still suspect God of cruelty, or deny his goodness?' If not, I further ask you:
Quest. 15. Have you so good acquaintance with the extent of the universe, the superior world, the number of angels and blessed spirits, as that you are sure that it is pro
portionably more in the whole universe, that are miserable?' Though some peevish men have wrangled at what I have said of this in my forecited books, I am so far from flattering their self-conceited wisdom that I will say it over again, That it is agreed on by philosophers, that the earth, as to the universe, is no bigger than a point or inch is to the whole earth; we see over our heads, a wonderful sun, a multitude of fixed and unfixed stars, of wonderful magnitude, divers of them many times bigger than all the earth; besides the vast ethereal interspaces; we see in a tube or telescope, a marvellous likeness of the moon to this earth, with shades, inequalities, &c. Multitudes of stars in the galaxy and elsewhere, are discernible in the telescope, which without it no eye can see; little know we how far the world extendeth itself, beyond all these stars and sun which we can see; or whether there be millions of the like beyond our sight. The Scripture telleth us of innumerable angels, holy and glorious spirits, that attend Christ in the service of this lower world. No Scripture telleth us whether all the glorious or blessed spirits be thus employed as angels for mankind, or whether ten thousand thousandfold more be otherwise employed. No Scripture or reason telleth, whether sun or moon, stars and intermediate æther, be inhabited or not? It is temerity to affirm that they are. And it is a great temerity to say that they are not. It is lawful to doubt, and it is lawful to conjecture, that it is most probable they are, considering, 1. That life is the excellency of the creation, and the deadest parts are the basest. 2. That the earth, and water, and air, are full of men, beasts, fishes, birds, worms, flies, &c. 3. That it is incredible to him that looketh upward, that sun, moon, stars, and æther, are baser regions than this dirty earth; and consequently that they are baser as to their use and inhabitants. These thoughts of an uncertain thing, are lawful, to him that will go no further than he hath evidence, and not make an uncertain thing seem certain; and certain it is, that spirits are innumerable. And though some of these have fallen to be devils, God hath not told us how many; nor can we know that it is one to a million of happier creatures. And can that man then, who is offended with God, not for damning a very few, but for the proportion of the damned in comparison of others, tell what he saith? Can he say, if God had cast off all this