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But this will not satisfy some Men; for cheit great Quarrel is, That God made fuch a Creature as could Sigs and be Miserable ; that is, That God created Angels and Men ; that he endowed them with Reason and Understanding, and a liberty of Choice ; for such Creatures as can chuse, may chuse wrong. But this is not an Objection against the Goodness of Providence, but against the Goodness of the Creation; and if it proves any thing, it proves, That God ought not to have made the World; for if Goodness would not allow him to make a Rea. sonable Creature, who might make himself miserable; Wisdom would not allow him to make a World without any Reasonable Creatures in it.

I confess, I am at a great loss to know how they would lay their Objection, so as to bear upon the Goodness of God, and what they intend by it, when they have done: For let us consider wherein Creating Goodness consists.

Does the Goodness of a Maker require any more of him, than to make all Things according to perfect and excellent Ideas, and to make them as perfect as their Ideas are? What is it then they find fault with in God's making Angels and Men? Is not the Idea of a Reasonable Being, and a Free Agent, the idea of an Excellent and Happy Creature? Are there any greater Perfections than Knowledge, and Wildom, and Understanding, and Liberty of Choice? Is there any Happiness like the Happiness of a Reasonable Nature Nay, Is there any Thing that deserves the Name of Happiness besides this? Will you call senseless Matter, nay, will you call Beasts happy? And is the only Idea of a Happy Nature in the World, a reasonable Objection against Creating Goodness?



If then there be no fault to be found in the Idea of a Reasonable Creature, was there any defect in the Workmanship? Did not God make Men and Angels as perfect as their Ideas? And give them all the Happiness which belonged to their Natures? If he did not, this would have been a great fault in their Creation; if he did, Creating Goodness has done all that belonged to it to do.

But I would gladly know whence they have this Notion of Creating Goodness, that it must make no Creature which can make it self Miserable; Justice is as essential to the Notion of a God, as Goodness; and yet it is impossible that Justice should belong to the Idea of God, if it were irreconcileable with the Divine Goodness to make such Creatures who may deserve well or ill: For Justice respects Merit, and consists in Rewards and Punishments; and if the Goodness of God will not suffer him to make a Creature which shall deserve either to be rewarded cr punished, Goodness and Justice cannot both of them belong to the Idea of a God.

But what pretence is there for any Man to say, That because the Devil and his Angels fell from their first happy State, therefore God was not good in creating the Angelical Nature? Or because so many Men Sin, and make themselves miserable, therefore God is not good in creating Man? When there are so many Myriads of blefsed Angels and Saints eternally happy in the Vision and Fruition of God; and those who are not so, are miserable only by their own fault. Not to have made a happy Nature, had been a just blemish to the Divine, Goodness; to make happy Creatures, though they make themselves miserable, is none; non ore than it is to make

a Free


a Free Agent, who alone is capable of Happiness, and who alone can make himself miserable. None but à Reasonable Nature is capable of any great Happiness; and to make a Realonable Creature without liberty of Choice, and consequently without a possibility of Sinning, and being miserable, 'is a contradiction : For what does Reason serve for, but to direct our Choice? And indeed all the Pleasures of Vertue, which are the greatest Pleasures of Human Nature, result from this Liberty, that we chuse well when we might have chofe ill ; and if it becomes a good God to make a Happy Nature, it becomes him to make a reasonable and Free Agent, though many such Creatures may make themselves miserable.

But suppose we could not answer this Objection, That God has made fuch Creatures as both could and do make themselves miserable, What is it they intend by it? Would they prove, that God did not make the World, because he made Angels and Men, fome of whom have made themselves Devils ? Those who are Saints and Angels still shall Answer this Objection, when any Man has Confidence enough seriously to make it. Or would they prove, That God does not govern the World with Goodness and Justice, because he has made such Creatures, as by the good or ill use of their Liberty, make themselves the Subjects of both? There is no other Answer neceffary to that, but only to ask, What place there could be for a Governing Providence, were there no Creatures who could deserve well

or ill?

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But this is enough in Answer to an Oječioti, which no considering. Man would seriously make : The more considerable Objection relates

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to the many Evils and Miseries that are in the World; and the only Objection which, if it were true, could have any weight in it, is, That the Miséries of this Life are so many, so great and so universal, That they over-balance the Pleasures and Comforts of it; that a wise Man would racher chuse not to be, than to live in this world. And though the generality of Mankind are of another Mind, and therefore need no anfwer to this, yet they think they have the Scripture on their side. For the Wise Man, Eccl. 4. 2, 3. tells us, Wherefore I praised the dead, which are al ready dead, more than the living, which are get alive : : Tea better is be than both they, who batb not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the Sun.

This at first view looks like a very sharp Satyr upon Human Life; that it is better to die than to live; and that not to live at all, is better than either : And were this universally true, it were a vain thing to think of vindicating the Goodness of Providence in the Government of this World, which has nothing good or desirable in'it. That this is not the meaning of the Words, we may certainly conclude from those many Promises which are made to good Men in this Life; and God would not promise good Men what is worth nothing.

But the Explication of this Text will contribute very much to the understanding this whole matter ; and therefore I shall,

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1. Shew you, That this is not universally true, nor intended to be so understood by the Wise Man, That it is better to die, or not to be, than it is to live.

2. Shew

2. Shew you in what Sense the Wise Man meant this, viz. with respect to the many Miseries and Calamities, which some Ages of the World, and which some Men in all Ages are exposed to: And how this is also to be understood.

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1. That this is not universally true, That it is better to die, or not to be born, than it is to live. This, I confess, was taught by some of the Ancient Philosophers and Poets in too general terms; That the first best thing is not to be born: and the next, to die quickly; but no body believed them : for most Men felt it otherwise : That light is Sweet, and it is a pleasant thing for the eyes to behold the sun, Eccl. 11. 7. There is a sense indeed, wherein this may be true. If we acknowledge, that this Life in its greatest Glory and Perfection is the most imperfe&t State that a reasonable Soul can live in, as moft certainly it is; then those Philosophers who did believe that the Souls of Men lived and acted before they were born into this world, and were thrust into these Bodies in Punishment for what they had done amiss in a former State, had reason to say, That the best thing is not to be born; for upon this Supposition, it is best for them to continue in that State of Happiness, and not to come into this World ; and if when they die, they return to their Original State of Happiness, the next best thing for them is, to die quickly; and it is most probable that this was their secret meaning in it. For if we only consider the Advantages and Disadvantages of Life, in ordinary Cases Life is very desirable ; so desirable that it makes Death the King of Terrors.

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