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The offences man is capable of, that are relative to the person of God, if I may fo speak, are mostly of the negative kind, (viz.) a want of a just sense of the kindness and beneficence of his maker and preserver. How far, and how frequent, and in what way a man is to make public profession of his gratitude and thankfulness to the Deity; and whether offences of this kind will make a part of the grand inqucji, I am not a judge ; and therefore, can only observe, that it has been looked upon, among men, to be a mark of greatness of soul rather to despise and overlook such ingratitude, than to shew any resentment to it; but then, how far such fort of greatness may be applicable to the supreme Deity must be left to the determination of more capable judges. And, though it is common for men to talk of doing honour or dishonour to God; yet, I think, those terms are relative to us, and serve rather to express the propriety and impropriety of our sentiments and behaviour with regard to a Deity, than to express any addition to, or diminution of Gɔd's honour and reputation, if I may so speak. The divine honour, or the greatness worthiness and reputation of the Deity, is what it is, independent of any thing and every

thing that his creatures can think, say, or do; and therefore, as God's honour can receive no lustre no increase, from what men can say or perform, so neither can it in the least be sullied, or even shadowed thereby. And, as reward is no other than a return of kindness, or a rendering good for good; and

punishment is no other than the retaliation of injury and wrong, or a rendering evil for evil; fo, in this view of the case, the Deity has received no good from his creatures, nor has he suffered any evil by them; and therefore, as he has no kindness to return to them, lo he has no injury to retaliate upon them, on his own account. But then, as God's end, in calling his intelligent creatures into being, was that they might in common partake of his goodness and be made happy thereby; so by this he becomes a party in their cause, and is interested in their weal or woe, and will return the kindness, and resent the injury done to his intelligent creatures, as if it were done to bimself. It was a just sense of this, that led the wife King Solomon to make the following remark, Proverbs xix. 17. He that bath pity upon the poor, (so as to relieve them in their distress) lendeth unto the Lord; and that

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UPON these principles, chiefly, if not wholly, I think, the just and reasonable expectation of a future judgment and retribution is grounded. For, though the unequal distribution of providence, as it is called, that is, though certain circumstances concur which render one man's life easy and happy to him, and other circumstances concur to render life a weight and a burthen to another man; like as one horfe falls into the hands of a bad master, who uses it ill; and another horse falls into the hands of a good master, who uses it well; which advantages and disadvantages are the produce of second causes, and are perfectly accidental with regard to any special divine determination concerning them, or any special divine interposition with regard to them, and which, I think, contain the film of the argument drawn from the unequal distribution of providence for a future retribution; I say, tho the different states of these two men, or those two horses, do not seem to require that there should be a future retribution, in order to set things upon an equal foot with regard to them; yet the good or bad part men act, by voluntarily contributing to the good or

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burt of the commonweal, most certainly does, because their good or bad behaviour, in this respect, render them the proper objects of reward or punishment. Besides, with regard to this argument drawn from the unequal distribution of providence, I beg leave to observe, that if all the good and evil men partake of in this world must be placed to the account of providence ; and if rečtitude requires that all men should have an equal share of these, if not in this world yet within the period of their existence, whether their disparity, with respect to these, results from, and depends upon second causes, or not, or whether it results from their vertuousness and viciousness, or not; which the argument drawn from the unequal diftri. bution of providence (as it is called) plainly supposes; then it will follow, that as the Jame disparity does take place among

the other species of animals that inhabit this globe, so the present argument does equally conclude for a future state of existence, and a future retribution with respect to all those animals, as it does for the species of mankind. Though, I think, those terms judgment and retribution are greatly improper, in the case 'under consideration ; because the ideas that are usually annexed to those

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terms are quite irrelative to the subject, in our present view of it. Judgment, and retribution consequent upon it, in the common use of those terms, supposes and has reference to a law or rule of affection and action, which law intelligent beings are to direct their conduct by, and for which they are accountable ; judgment being an enquiry into, and forming a judgment from that enquiry of the propriety or impropriety of a man’s conduct with regard to such law; and retribution being a returning to him, or bringing upon him that good or evil which the propriety or impropriety of his conduct renders him worthy of : whereas, in the prefent case, judgment consists in inquiring into, and forming a judgment of the quantity of good and evil each individual has been a partaker of in this world, and also it's proportion, when brought into a comparison, with the good and evil that each and every other individual has been a partaker of; and retribution consists in bringing upon each individual such a quantity and proportion of good and evil in futurity, as will reduce all these to an equality, without having any referrence to the keeping or transgresing any law. Now, though this would be reducing

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