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"Lord our God is righteous in all his works "which he doth. Thy righteousness, O Lord, "is an everlasting righteousness, and thy "law is the truth; every one of thy righteous "judgments endureth for ever. Righteous "is the Lord, and upright are his judgments. "Shall mortal man be more just than God? "shall a man be more pure than his Maker? "Therefore hearken unto me, ye men of un"derstanding. Far be it from God that he "should do wickedness, and from the Al"mighty that he should commit iniquity. "For the work of a man shall he render unto "him, and cause every man to find accord•" ing to his ways. Yea, surely God will not "do -wickedly, neither will the Almighty "pervert judgment*." And the same sentiment is thus expressed by the author of the book of Wisdom: "For seeing thou art "righteous thyself, thou orderest all things "righteously, thinking it not agreeable with "thy power to condemn him that hath not "deserved to be punished; for thy power is "the beginning of righteousness, and be"cause thou art the Lord of all, it mak"eth thee to be gracious unto all. With
"righteousness shall he judge the world, and "the people, with equity*. Whatsoever good "thing any man doth, the same shall he "receive of the Lord, whether he be bond "or free: but he that doth wrong shall re"ceive for the wrong he hath done, for God "will render unto every man according to "his deeds, and according to his deserts "will he judge him; condemning the wicked "to bring his way upon his head, and justi"fying the righteous to give him according "to his righteousness; so that men shall say, "there is a reward for the righteous; doubt"less there is a God that judgeth the earth/' That God intends, and ever did intend, the happiness of man, is plain and evident from his having created him originally in his own image, and placed him in Paradise; in his redemption of him after his fall; in man's being permitted to worship God and walk with him; and in the easy task enjoined him to obtain temporal and eternal happiness; from the pleasures he is permitted to derive both from sense and intellect, when these are not abused. And we are likewise particularly to infer his intentions to promote the happiness of man
from the following passages in Scripture. No text in the Bible, perhaps, more convincingly establishes this opinion in the human mind, than this affectionate and particular address from God himself to the Jews, and through them to the whole human race: "O that there were such an heart in them, *' that they would fear me and keep all my "commandments always, that it might be "well with them and with their children for "ever\" And likewise a similar affectionate address to the Jews by our blessed Saviour: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest "the Prophets, and stonest them which are "sent unto thee, how often would I have "gathered thy children together, even as a "hen gathereth her chickens under her "wings, and ye would not!" These texts certainly prove it to be the intention of God to establish and promote the happiness of all those human beings who fear and obey him; and upon other terms to expect the favour of God is manifestly foolish and absurd, for mankind do not on other terms expect it from each other: every master from his servant, and every father from his son, requires submission and obedience to their commands, as the price of their favour.
Throughout the whole Bible there is not one single instance in which the conduct of God appears unfriendly or unkind to the human race, or in which he punishes it either nationally or individually, without at the same time condescending to assign his reasons for that punishment. Dr. Jortin observes in one of his Sermons, that though God does not appear to consider it as necessary to account for the preference and partiality he shews to human beings, having a clear right to do as he will with his own, yet he appears to consider it as an object of great moment that his conduct should ever appear to them as founded in justice and mercy. It is certainly agreeable to the highest reason to presume that the infinite purity and justice of God requires that sin should not be perpetrated with entire impunity; and accordingly, in the character God has deigned to give of himself to man, he declares he will not clear the guilty. Thus our first parents having disobeyed God, they and their offspring in this world are subject, in a certain degree, to infirmities of body and sorrows of mind, as a punishment for that disobedience; but by the account given in Scripture of this disobedience, it clearly appears that man, and
not God, is chargeable with this suffering. The antediluvians were punished because their guilt was such that God observed only evil continually in their hearts; the Seven Nations, and likewise the Assyrians, Egyptians, and Jews, were punished, but their great and particular crimes are all stated and mentioned; and the same may be said of individuals, as in the cases of Saul, David, the Jewish kings, and others. But how often God is pleased to temper mercy with judgment, is proved first by the redemption of the human race from the death it had incurred; again by his promise of pardoning the sinner on his repentance and amendment; by his having been willing to have pardoned the people of Sodom, had there been even ten righteous persons found amongst them; likewise by his actually pardoning the Ninevites on their having repented at the preaching of Jonah. The same gracious conduct he observed with individuals, as in the instances of Ahab and others. And how greatly God is disposed to shew mercy to man may be collected from the gracious declaration he is pleased to make to Abraham in consequence of this Patriarch's obedience: "By myself have I