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all upon great and high Provocations ; most of them after long patience and
Vol. VII, forbearance, and with a great mixture of mercy, and a declared readiness in in God to have prevented or removed them upon repentance; all which are great Instances of the goodness of God. But yet for the clearer manifestation of the Divine Goodness, Į shall consider them particularly, and as briefly as I can.
1. As for the transgression of our first Parents, and the dismal consequences of it to all their Posterity. This is a great depth, and tho the Scripture mentions it, yet it speaks but little of it; and in matters of mere Revelation, we must not attempt to be wise above what is written. Thus much is plain, that it was an act of high and wilful Disobedience, to a very plain and easie Command ; and that in the punishment of it, God mitigated the extre mity of the Sentence (which was present death) by granting our first Parents the Reprieve of almost a thou. fand Years; and, as to the consequences of it to their Posterity, God did not, upon this provocation, abandon his care of Mankind ; and tho he re
mis moved them out of that happy ftate
ted, yet he gave them a tolerable
2. For the general Deluge, tho it
very severe, yet if we consider it well, we may plainly discern much of goodness in it. It was upon great provocation, by the universal corruption and depravation of Mankind, The earth was filled with violence, and all flesh had corrupted its ways; the wickednes of Man was great upon the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually ; which is not
a description of original fin, but of the actual and improved wickedness of Vol. VII. Mankind ; and yet when the wickedness of Men was come to this height, God
gave them fair warning, before he brought this Calamity upon them, when the patience of God waited in the days of Noah, for the space of an hundřed and twenty Tears; at last, when nothing would reclaim them, and al. moit the whole race of Mankind were become so very bad, that it is said, it repented the Lord that he had made Man upon the earth, and it grieved him at his heart, when things were thus extremely bad, and like to continue so; God in picy to Mankind, and to put a stop to their growing wickedness and guilt, swept them away all at once, from the face of the Earth, except one Family, which he had preserved from this Contagion, to be a new Seminary of Mankind, and, as the Heathen Poet expresseth it, Mundi melioris origo, the source and original of a better Race.
3. For that terrible destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by Fire and Brim. stone from Heaven, it was not brought upon them till the cry of their fir was
great, and gone up to Heaven, till by Vol. VII. their unnatural Lafts they had pro
voked supernatural Vengeance. And it is very remarkable, to what low terms God was pleased to condescend to Abraham for the sparing of them; if in those five Cities there had been found but ten righteous persons, he wauld not have destroyed them for those ten's Sake. So that we may say with the Apostle, Behold the goodness and severity of God! Here was wonderful goodne mixt with this great severity,
4. For the extirpation of the Canaanites, by the express command of God, which hath such an appearance of severity, it is to be consider'd, that this Vengeance was not executed: upon them, till they were grown ripe for it. God spared them for above four hundred Years, for so long their growing Impiety is taken notice of, Gen. 18.. 28. where it is said, That the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet full ; God did not proceed to cut them off, till their case was defperate, past all hopes of recovery, till the land was defiled with abominations, and surcharged with wickedness, toʻthat degree, as to fpue out its Inhabitants, as is ex
prefly said, Levit. 18. 28. When they were arrived to this pitch, it was Vol.Vil. no mercy to them to spare them'any longer, to heap up more guilt and mifery to themselves.
Fifthly, and Lastly, As for the great Calamicies which God brought upon the Jews, especially in their final ruin and difperfion, at the destruction of Jerufalem ; not to infift upon the known History of their multiplied Rebellions and Provocations, of their despiteful usage of God's Prophets, whom he fenc to warn them of his Judgments, and to call them to Repentance, of their obstinate refusal to receive Correction, and to be brought to amendment, by any means that God could use; for all which Provocations, le at last delivered them into their Enemies hands, to carry them away Captive;' not to infist upon this, I shall only consider their final destruction by the Romans, which tho'it be dreadfully severe, beyond any Example of History, yet the Provocation was proportionable; for this Vengeance did not come upon them, till they had as it were extorce ed it, by the moit obstinate impenitency and unbelief, in rejecting the Coan.