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ingly affected with such Tendencies and Propensions, Wishes and Desires as stand directly opposed to the Purity and Perfection of the Divine Nature.
If therefore the Enemies of God be the Just and Adequate objects of his Vengeance, 'tis hence manifest, that the everlasting Punishment of Wicked men is so far from being Unjuft or Unequal, that it is the Proper and Neceffary effect of God's Justice; because ail men that die in a state of Impenitence will be for ever Unchangeably subject to the dominion of sin, for ever the Enemies of God. And this consideration alone seems abundantly fufficient to Reconcile the Justice of God with the Eternal punishment of Sinners: And yet this Difficulty is still further satisfied by the
Third Argument, which relates to God's Goodness: But this likewise is thus represented as Insufficient.
It is said, that God hath set before men everlasting Happiness and Mifery, and the Sinner hath bis choice. Here are two things said, which seem to bid fairly towards an answer, First, that the Reward
which God promiseth to our obedience is equal to the punisament which he threatens to our Disobedience. But yet this, I doubt, will not reach the business: Because though it be not contrary to Justice to exceed in Rewards, that being matter of mere favour, yet it may be fo to exceed in punifoments. Secondly. It is further said, that the Sinner in this case hath his choice. This, I confefs, is enough to silence the Sinner, and to make him acknowledge that bis Destruction is of himself; but yet for all that, it does not seem so clearly to satisfy-the objection from the disproportion between the fault and the punishment.
These reflections, though they appear very Smooth and Plausible, are of no force or consequenceatall, being grounded upon nothing but a palpable Fallacy. For 'tis here taken for granted, that there is Excess in the Eternity of punishment, that there is a Disproportion between the Fault and the Punishment, which is the very thing to be proved; and not only so, but which is likewise so far from being true, that what is urged under the particular. immediately foregoing
seems very fully to prove the contrary. For if, as is already shewn, all Impenitent Sinners will be Unchangeably and Eternally subject to the dominion of fin, and by necessary consequence Eternally the Enemies of God and Goodness; the Eternity of their punishment is so far from implying Excess or Disproportion, that it is undeniably proportionate to their Guilt; and so far as we are capable of Judging in this case, God Almighty must be wanting to his Justice, if their punishment should ever have an end.
These Reflections therefore, which are not only Precarious, but plainly False, cannot in the least Invalidate the Argument they are replied to: It is still the Perfection of Goodness in God, that he hath graciously vouchsafed us a power and opportunity of obtaining Unconceivable and Eternal Happiness; and if we cannot be prevaild upon by Goodness it self, our destruction is intirely owing to our own folly, and does not at all interfere with that Infinite Goodness, the demonstrations of which we obstinately Despise and Reject.
D . Having Having thus endeavour'd to Refute what this great man hath Unhappily replied to the Arguments urged in vindication of God's Justice and Goodness; I shall proceed to his other opinions, which seem to be no less Absurd, no less Dangerous, though advanced under the cha- , racter of Considerations whereby he endeavours to clear this matter, the doctrine of Eternal punishments. And
ist, It is proposed as very considerable, that the measure of Penalties with respect to crimes is not only nor always to be taken from the quality and degree of the offence, much less from the duration and continuance of it, but from the ends and reasons of government; so that what proportion crimes and penalties ought to bear to each other, is not so properly a consideration of Justice, as of Wisdom and Prudence in the Law-giver. And hence 'tis concluded, that whatsoever the disproportion may be between Temporary fins and Eternal sufferings, Justice cannot be said to be concernd in it.
The Disproportion is here again taken for granted; but of that already.
That the Determination of punishments and their Proportion to crimes do bear respect to that great end and design of government, securing the observation of wholfom and necessary Laws, may very well be acknowledged: But that this end of Government, singly consider'd, altogether exclusive of Justice, so that Justice cannot be said to be concern'din it, should be fix'd as the Sole Reason and Foundation of Eternal Punishments, is by no means allowable; the Affertion is directly False and directly Destructive of that Faith, which ’tis brought to Establish. It is not possible that any man should, upon this principle, stedfastly believe the Eternity of punishment. For if there be no other Reason and Foundation of Eternal punishments beside the ends and reasons of government, then the only End and Reason of them will be finally outdated and absolutely Void, when this world shall be no more, when the Laws and the Government shall be abolished together; and there is no cause to expect, that the means will be applied, when the Only Reason of those means is
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