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Of the Justice of God: And the Penitential Sorrow

resulting from it.

LOD is a Being infinitely perfect and good ;

the Supreme, the Original Good; the Author and Maker of all things, and cannot therefore be supposed, either to hate what himself hath made, or to have given being to any thing, with a design to render it Miserable. His Providence and Power which made the Subject of the two former Meditations, are in their own Nature and Primitive Intention,calculated forthe Benefit and Security of his Creatures; And if at any time they become the Instruments or Dispensers of Grief and Pain, this is an Effect purely accidental; an Operation so foreign, that it is even extorted from them, and wholly imputable to some other Cause. And this is the Case of Mankind; once favoured above all their Fellow-Creatures, and safe under the Shelter and Smiles of an Almighty Protector ; But by their own fault deprived of this Defence; left naked and exposed to Mischiefs and Sufferings; and not only disarm- : ed of their furest Guard, but in perpetual danger of being destroyed, by that very Hand, which was formerly their Friend and Defender. O wretched Consequences of Sin! that did not only render our first Parents and all their Pofterity liable to bodily

. Death, and all the Diseases and Pains that lead to it; but left a fatal Averfeness to all Good, and a strong Propenfion in us to all Evil; by indulging whereof we add our own actual Guilt, to that which our sinful Parents had derived down to us, and by Iniquities without num ber, by wilful, repeated, habitual, and bold Transgreflions, do confirm and aggravate this Sentence of Death, and arm the Justice of God against our selves.

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II. Wonder not then, if thou see so many dreadful Spectacles of Amiction in the World ; nor murmur, when thou thy self art bound in the same Fetters, and fore loaden with the Burden of Adversity ; But remember that God is righteous, and thou and these People are wicked; that he is holy and just, as well as good ; and tho' he do not willingly grieve the Children of Men, yet their Iniquities put a sort of Violence upon him, which he cannot refift

. They quite weary him out, and render it impossible, (that is, inconsistent with the other Attributes and the Perfections of his Nature). to let such Men go always unpumished. Nay even in those infinitely more dreadfulTorments of another World, his Perfections are concerned to vindicate themselves; for tho' these be terrible, above what we are able to express or conceive, yet are they just. And at the same time that we may be apt to question, whether so great Severity be consistent with the Character of our Judge, we prove the Wif dom of our Lawgiver; and, that even Eternal Pains were necessary, since even all this will not contain us in our Duty, nor effectually restrain us from Sinning.

III. And this, my Soul, is thy Cafe. These everlafting Plagues are the deserved Wages of thy Wickedness. For do but descend into thy Self, ( as it becomes thee to do, now more especially) and there cake an exact Survey of thy Miseries and Frailties; thy raging Passions and ungoverned Appetites; Ask thy Self, what Abuses and Misemployments of Health thou hast been guilty of, Whether thou have not neglected and forgot God and Heaven too much, and been too full of Care and Fondness for this present World; Whether thou have not omitted his Worship and Sacraments, disregarded his Word, or whether these have not been frequented formally and coldly. Examine the Heaviness of thy Affections, the Wan

drings and Negligence of thy Mind in publick and private Devotions. [ Here it may be convenient to instance in any other Particular against our Duty to God. ] See again the Violation of Justice and Charity to thy Neighbour, whether thou hast faithfully discharged the Offices of the several Capacities and Relations God hath placed thee in ; [ A Husband or Wife, a Master or Mistress, a Son or Daughter, a Magistrate, a Subject, a Parent, a Brother or Sister, and the like.] If thou have not been guilty of grofs and palpable Injustice in thy Dealings, yet haft thou done Wrong to no Man's Soul, by ill Advice, or ill Example ? Nor to the Bodies of any, by Malice or Contempt, by ill Treatment, severe Usage, want of Compassion and Care for their Infirmities? What Reputations hast thou injured by Scandal and Cenfure; by false and uncharitable Judg. ments; by bufy medling with Matters that concern thee not; by officiously spreading, or too haftily believing ill Reports; by encouraging, repeating, and being pleased with Detracting or fevere Reflections; or if by none of these, yet at least by neglecting to reprove, or to discountenance a sanderous Tongue, and to deliver the Innocent from its fecret Stabs? [ Here again be particular in any other Sins you have been guilty of against your Neighbour. ] Turn thy Eyes inward once more; and behold the Breaches of that Ducy thou owest to thy felf ; the Intemperance and Irregularity of thy Desires; the Murmurings and Discontents ; the Infirmities indulged ; the Passions unsubdued; the Negligence in chy greatest Concerns; the Love of unlawful, and the Abuse of lawful Diversions and Delights ; these are things fo incident to our State, that no Man's Conscience can speak Peace to him in them all ; and happy art thou in those, where thine condemns thee not. But know withal, that God is greater than thy Heart and know

190 120. eth all things; He keeps exact account of A a


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thy lurking Corruptions, and Secret Faults; the unobferved, or the long since forgotten Misdenieanors of thy Life. The black Catalogue whereof, could they be ser before thee, would give a dismal Prospect, full of Horror and Confusion, and intolerable Amazement. So that thou must of necessity acknowledge thy self a Mass of Filth and Misery ; à Wretch, that, if God should enter into Judgment with thee, haft reason to expect nothing better than Indignation and Fury; to be set up as a Mark of his Vengeance, and by some swift exemplary Destruction swept violently away into the hotteft Flames of Hell.

IV. Thus much I am sadly fenfible of, and do stand condemned out of my own Mouth. And thus far the PS.cxxx.3,4.

Circumstances of all Mankind are the same,

that if God should be extreme to mark what is done amiss, the very best of us all could not abide it. But, blessed be God, though Matters are deplorable, they are not quite desperate ; for there is Mercy with him, and his Justice is satisfied. The Price and Purchase of our Souls is paid ; our forfeit Lives are ranfomed and redeemed; Our Ransom in Value exceeds the whole World; even his own beloved and only begotten Son; who spared not his own Life, but willingly poured out his Soul to the Death; and is thereby become a Sacrifice and Atonement for the Sins of wretched Mortals. He hath published glad Tidings of Reconciliation and Repentance, of Pardon and Peace. He came to save Sinners, even the Chief of Sinners; our God willeth not the Death of any ; provided they believe, and sincerely obey him : Not according to the Shekel of the Sanctuary, which requires unsinning Perfection ; but after the Standard of the New Covenant, which allows for Human Frailties; accepts Sorrow for the past, Amendment for the Time to come; a fervent Love of God, and honeft Endeavours to serve him. This is a saying wors


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thy to be accepted indeed ; This is the Comfort and Confidence of poor rețurning Sinners; And while I can see by Faith the Penalty of Eternal Damnation released, by Virtue of the Blood of this Lamb of God, slain to take away the Sins of the World, I will submit with Patience to the Temporal Punishments in flicted by my provoked God; and thankfully accept the Sickneffes and Afictions of this present Life, as so many Warnings and Calls to Repentance.

V. And sure (my Soul) we shall take care to make this good use of them; For these are the Discipline of the Lord; and if after all that is come upon me for my evil Deeds, and for my great Trespass, seeing that thou, my God, haft punished me less than my Iniquia ties deserve; if I should again break thy Ezra ix. 131 Commandments, thou would'd certainly be angry,till thou hadīt utterly consumed me; and torinent me so much the more, for neglecting so great Salvation. I take therefore this Chastisement with all poflible Submission ; and do with unfeigned Sorrow confess my manifold Offences : I implore thy Mercy, who are justly displeased with me; and since in the midit of Life we are in Death, I cry earneitly to Thee for Succour; and beg that howsoever thou thinkest fit to dispose of this Corruptible Body ; thou wouldst look graciously upon me in thy dear Son, and not deliver

my poor

Soul into the bitter Pains of Eternal Death ; but pity and save me for Christ Jesus his fake. Amen.

Here may be repeated the xxxviii and li. Pfalms.

Then the Confefion in the Communion-Service.
Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of
all things, c.

Or else the three Prayers at the end of the Communioti.
O Lord, we beseech thee, &c.
O most mighty God, GC.
Turn thou me, O good Lord, br.
After either of which, Say as follows:


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