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things, for the Deity to exercise pity * towards one creature ; then that reason will determine the Deity to exercise the like pity to all others, who are alike the
objects of it ; even tho' he is not obliged, in striet justice, to thew pity to any of them, but the contrary, as strict justice requires they should all be punished equal to their respective crimes. Again, if there be a reason, resulting from the nature of things, for the Deity to exercise a severe revenge upon one creature, then that will be a proper reason, which will determine the Deity to exerciso the like revenge upon all other crea
* To Thew pity to the proper objests of pity cannot be a matter of indifference, because it is what the pitiable object is greatly interested in ; and therefore, if there be not a reason, resulting from the nature of things, for the exercising of such pity, there must be a reason against it; but surely, there can be no reason againft shewing pity to the proper objects of pity, because that seems, at least, to imply a contradi&tion, as it seems to suppose a creature to be, and not to be, the proper object of pity, at the same time, and under the same circumstances ; consequently, a creature's being the proper objeet of pity, must be a proper reason to the Deity to Thew pity to that creature. And as penitence seems, at least, to render an offender the proper object of pity or mercy; so it affords a proper reason to God to Thew mercy to him; and it also affords a proper ground of certainty to us, that God will act thus; which certainly results from the nature of the thing, independent of any divine declaration, which has been, or may be, made concerning it.
tures, in equal * circumstances, as they are all the proper objects of it, without Thewing lenity to one, and severity to another. Pity and resentment are not indifferent and trifling affairs, and, therefore, are neither of them to be exercised at random, without any rule, or reason; but, on the contrary, they are matters of great importance to the persons concerned, and therefore, are
neither * Tho', perhaps, there may not be two men, who are in equal circumstances, in all respects, as, I think, a late ingenious Author has remarked, in his observations relating to the divine partiality, which partiality, (in instances that appear to me groundless and unnecessary) he has attempted to vindicate ; yet, if two men are both the proper objects, either of pity and compassion, or of a severe revenge, which, furely, may be the case; then, I think, they may be said to be, without any great impropriety of language, in equal or in the same circumftances, that is, their circumstances are so far equal or the fame, as to render them both the proper objects of either compassion or resentment, fuppofing, in other refpects, their circumstances are as different, as the two polestars are diftant from each other. And as equality, or fameness of circumstances, in the respects before-mentioned, is all that is, or has been, intended, or that relates to the subject ; so were God to treat one creature with lenity, and another with severity, when they are in equal circumstances, as aforesaid ; that is, they are both the proper objects of one, or the other, this would be to act repugnant to the nature of things, and would be an. instance of unnecessary, groundless, and unreasonable partiality : But then,
tho' weak and vain men may effect to exert their power wantonly, improperly, and arbitrarily, or without any rule or reason, as aforesaid ; yet far be the impious thought from me, that this should be che cafe of the wife and good governor of the universe.
neither to be exercised, nor omitted, without a proper reason for so doing. And, tho? it is pretended, that there are instances of unnecessary and groundless partiality in the divine conduct, like that above-mentioned ; yet, I think, the pretence is groundless. Suppose the calling into being a species of creatures called * Angels, and a species of Creatures called men, and a species of creatures called horses, be necessary to answer the purpose of a general good, which good each species of creatures are intended to share in, suitable to the part each one is to act, (a publick, or general good being, I think, the great, if not the only, end of creation to our wise and good creator, in calling this world into being) and supposing that angels are put into a better condition than men, and men than horses ; yet, as this disparity is necessary to answer the purpose aforesaid, viz. a publick good, and as one species, of those
* I here admit the supposition, that there are a species of creatures, called Angels, who are related to, or, at leaft, act upon, this globe, because some of those men, who reason upon this question, will force it into the subject; but then, thofe ministerial and guardian Angels seem to bear some analogy to the tutelar and guardian Deities of the Pagans,and from hence a question very naturally arises, viz. if the former of these are admitted, then why not the latter ; or perhaps, the question may be, whether there are not the fame thing?
creatures must,of necessity, have the advantage of 21.other, seeing that advantage cannot be common ic them all; so there is no groundless, no unnecessary, no unreasonable partiality shewn in the case. But then, to argue from such instances as those above-mentioned, in order to excuse, or rather to justify any unreasonable, unnecessary, any groundlefs partiality, in the exercise of pity or rea sentment, which is sometimes done, seems, to me, to be a bold attempt; especially when the moral character of the Deity is at stake, which is the present case. And, as to men's disparity, in their naturel abilities, or endowments of mind, the shape, fize, beauty and strength of their bodies, their fortunes, their situation upon the globe, and other like circumstances, in, and by, which one man has the advantage of another ; these plainly depend upon second causes, and cannot, with any propriety, or truth, be considered, as instances of partiality in the divine conduct. Suppose one man, by his industry, or any other means, raises a fortune for himself and family, by which means they become rich; and suppose another man, by his extravagancy, or any other way, wastes the fortune that had been railed to his hand, Q
and thereby brings himself and family to poverty; in this case, there is a great disparity of circumstances, betwixt the two families, viz. one is rich, and the other is poor, which gives the former many great advantages over the latter ; but then, to consider, or represent this, as an instance of partiality in the divine conduct, would be greatly unjust ; and yet
it is not more to, than those instances are, that are usually urged to answer this purpose.
PARTY. and faction in religion, have a very great influence, not only on the pasions, but also on the understandings, or, at least, on the judgments of men ; insomuch, that every thing is made to bow down to the idol in vogue : And, as Christianity is the fystem of religion, which is generally received in this part of the world; so, all arguments and reasonings receive an additional strength, or decrease in their weight, as they seem to smile or frown upon christianity ; thus principles are admitted with pleasure, which otherwise would be reje&ted with horror ; and thus one man contends for the most groundless partiality, and another contends for the most absolute tyranny, in the divine conduct; (O my soul ! come not thou into their secret, unto their assembly, mine ho