earth, that it had been more than one of a million of millions as to the whole creation? It is true I cannot tell the number; but it is as true that when our foundation is sure, that God is infinitely wise and good, it is madness to accuse him as unwise, or evil, or cruel, for that which we must confess we do not know; and to talk against him in the dark. Stay till you see who dwelleth in all the superior regions, and then take yourselves for fitter discerners of your Maker's


Quest. 16. Are you well acquainted with the nature and degrees of the future miseries which tempt you to think that God is cruel?' They are not all of one degree; what if much of them be still voluntary to the miserable souls? The devils who are now tormented in hell, are yet inhabitants of the air, and exercised in voluntary acts of malice. I take it to be no small degree of hell which the ungodly choose, and love, and possess among us here on earth, and will not be dissuaded from; they are without all holy communion with God, and they would be so; they are out of heaven, and they would be so; they are debased and confined to sensual pleasures, and worldly vanities, and they will be so; they are the drudges of the devil, and the servants of the flesh, and the slaves of men, and they would be so; they are defiled with sin, and imprisoned in their own concupiscence, and they would be so; they are corrupted, and tantalized, and vexed, and tossed up and down by their irregular desires; in a word, they have the plague of sin, and have neither holiness nor true happiness, and so they will have it to be, and will not be cured; now these tempted persons can see a misery in pain; but can see no such evil in sin, for which such pain should be inflicted; when as sin itself, and that which they are willing of, is so great a part of their misery, as that in this life, the rest is as nothing to it. And though, no doubt, much will be involuntary hereafter, we know not what the proportion will be between the voluntary and involuntary part.

And what makes these men that they do not pity a drunkard, a fornicator, a worldling, a sensual lord or gentleman, that hath no better than the shadows which he chooseth? Neither the tempted, nor they themselves, would call God cruel if he would let them so live in health for ever; even a healthful beggar would call God merciful if he might

never die, nor be more miserable. But princes or lords would call him cruel, if he should put them into the beggar's or labourer's case. You accuse not God as cruel for making toads and serpents, worms and vermin, because they are not troubled with their own condition; but if you could imagine them to have the knowledge how much happier men are, the case would alter. Or if God should change men into toads and serpents, you would call him unmerciful; when yet he is no more bound antecedently to man than unto them. Thus because these tempted persons have, as Adam when his eyes were opened, a disquieting knowledge, to know good and evil penally; their own apprehension (as Adam's of his nakedness) maketh that seem cruelty, which seemed a fruit of goodness before.

The sum is, when you come into another world, and see what manner of punishment it is that God exerciseth on the damned (as well as on how many) you will then be perfectly satisfied, that there is nothing but that amiable justice, which is the fruit of holiness, goodness, and wisdom in it all; and you shall see nothing in the punishment of the miserable which you shall either blame or wish were otherwise, if you come to heaven.

To which let me add, when you come to see the heavenly glory, and how the God of infinite goodness hath advanced such innumerable hosts (if not worlds) of men and angels into such wonderful felicity, and compare this with the sufferings of the devil and of his damned followers, instead then of quarrelling with the goodness of God, you will be wrapt up in the admirations and praises of it with full delights, to all eternity.

Quest. 17. And tell me, is he fit to entertain suspicions and quarrels with God, who knoweth God to be God, and knoweth himself to be but a man?' I speak not only in respect of our inferiority, as the potsherd should not quarrel with the potter; but in respect of our great and certain ignorance. Are we not puzzled about the poorest worm and pile of grass, whose manifold mysteries no mortal man can yet discover? Are we not grossly ignorant about every thing (even visible and palpable) which we see, and touch, and have to do with? Do we not know that we know but little, even of ourselves, or of any thing about us in the world? And shall the darkened soul, while it must operate

in such a puddle of brains and humours, be so madly proud, as to presume of a knowledge, which findeth out errors and badness in God, who is infinitely wise and good? Nothing is more sure than that God is most wise and good; and nothing should be more easily known to us, than that we are very blind and bad. And if such wretches then cannot reconcile their thoughts about God's works, should they not rather suspect themselves than him? Suspect, did I say; should they not take it as the surest verity, that it is God, that is not only justifiable, but infinitely amiable and laudable, and that it is worse than brutishness, for such moles to be his accusers?

Quest. 18. Yea, 'is this accusing God a fit employment for that person, who liveth in a land of mercies who hath been bred up in mercy, preserved by mercy, yea, differenced by saving mercy from the ungodly, who hath been called from blindness, carnality, and profaneness, and entertained many a time in holy worship with God; who hath been washed in Christ's blood, and justified from so many and grievous sins, and made of an enemy an adopted child, and of a heir of hell a heir of heaven, and all this by the tender mercies of a provoked God, a gracious Redeemer, and a holy Sanctifier?' Shall this person, I say, this, be one that instead of praising God with the raptures of continual joy, shall turn his accuser? O let the guilty that readeth this stop here, and fall down on his knees to God, and melt into tears in the sense of such unkindness.

Quest. 19. But can a child of God be possibly guilty of so great a sin as this?'

Answ. I speak not now of the malignant atheist; but of the melancholy, tempted persons. Alas, it is the melancholy disease, and the devil, more than he. God pitieth his

children's frowardness, especially when necessitated naturally by diseases; and he that pardoned peevish Jonas, that said, "I do well to be angry to the death ;" and complaining Job; and excused his sleepy disciples with "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak," will not condemn an upright soul, for the effect of a feverish deliration, or a melancholy that overcomes his natural power of resistance.

Quest. 20. Would you thus argue or quarrel against God's greatness and wisdom, as you do against his goodness? You suspect him to be unmerciful, because he cur

eth not men's sins, and preventeth not their damnation. And have you not the like occasion to argue against his other perfections? Do you think he reasoneth soberly that saith, He that maketh asses when he might have made them men, or maketh idiots, or maketh stones that know nothing; he that is the governor of such a foolish, distracted, confused world as mankind is, is foolish himself, or unskilful in government, or wanteth wisdom. But God doth thus.' Is he not worse than a fool that will accuse his God of folly? Doth not the admirable harmony of all the world, and his wonderful work in every creature, prove his incomprehensible wisdom? And what would you say to him that should thus reason: 'He that maketh impotent worms, that suffereth the good to die, that suffereth the tyrants of the earth to persecute his church and cause, is impotent, and not almighty. But so doth God? Would you not say, 'I have the wonderful frame of heaven and earth, the sun and stars, the sea and land, to prove to me that he is Almighty. This therefore is a proved foundation truth, to which all doubts must be reduced?' And if you dare not be so impudent as to deny his Omniscience or Omnipotence, when you think there is error or impotency in his works, why will you any more deny his goodness, when you dream that there is badness in his works? Do you not know, Do you not know, that power, wisdom, and goodness are God's three essential principles of operation, virtues, or properties? And that they are none of them greater or less than other? And that his goodness (though not as to be measured by human interest) is equal to his wisdom and his greatness? And do you not know, that to deny any one of the three, yea, to deny the perfection of any one of them, is to deny that there is any God? And is he sober that will argue, 'There are frogs and toads, there are worms and asses, there are fools and miserable sinners, therefore there is no God.' When as there could neither be any of these, nor any world or being, if there were no God?

Quest. 21. Lastly, now consider, 'whether evidently, the root of all this sin be not (besides melancholy and satan) the power of selfishness, and sensual or fleshly interest.' Alas! poor men, that were made for their God, to rejoice wholly in pleasing him, and to shew forth the lustre of his glory, are fallen unto themselves and flesh; and now they that should

wholly devote and refer themselves to God, do strive to make God a servant to themselves, and measure his goodness by the standard of their fleshly sense and interest; and God shall be with them no longer good, that is, no longer God, than he will give them their wills, and serve their flesh, and keep them from crosses, and losses, and pains, and govern the world according to their fancies; and when they are committing this odious, self-exalting idolatry, and abasing God, even then will they judge themselves both wiser, and more merciful than he. Yea, when a melancholy man despaireth in the sense of his own sin and badness, at that very time he thinketh himself more merciful than the God of infinite goodness, and accuseth his God for being more cruel than he himself. O man, into what distraction and confusion art thou fallen, when thou departest from thy God, and sinkest into that blind and wretched self.

And tell me, what if but the wills of all the poor, the pained, the dying, &c. were but reconciled to their suffering state. Would that which pleaseth the will be matter of any complaint? You may see then that it is not God's providence, &c. but the wills and ways of sinners, that are the diseased causes of all their wranglings. And if our wills were cured, and reduced to God's will, we should find no fault with him; if I can but be truly willing of imprisonment, poverty, or death, how can I feel any thing in it to complain of? When even sinners, as aforesaid, do obstinately here take their misery for their happiness, and are contented with it so far as it is voluntary.

By that time these twenty questions are answered, the accusations of God as wanting goodness, will all turn to the accuser's shame.

II. I am next briefly to detect the false opinions which do ordinarily cause these persons' errors.

1. It is false doctrine to affirm that God condemneth the greatest part of his intectual creatures (as I have shewed) though he condemn never so many of this ungodly world.

2. It is not true that God decreeth to condemn any man but for sin, (for sin, I say, as the cause of his damnation).

3. God decreeth to condemn none at age (which I add but to exclude foolish cavils) for Adam's sin only; nor for

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