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good opinion of God; for as yet we are but suspected persons. 2. And therefore God is inquisitive;' he looks før that which he fain would never find: God set spies upon us; he looks upon us himself through the curtains of a cloud, and he sends angels to espy us in all our ways, and permits the devil to winnow us and to accuse us, and erects a tribunal and witnesses in our own consciences, and he cannot want information concerning our smallest irregularities. Sometimes the devil accuses : but he sometimes accuses us falsely, either maliciously or ignorantly, and we stand upright in that particular by innocence; and sometimes by penitence; and all this while our conscience is our friend. Sometimes our conscience does accuse us unto God; and then we stand convicted by our own judgment. Sometimes, if our conscience acquit us, yet we are not thereby justified : for, as Moses accused the Jews, so do Christ and his apostles accuse us, not in their persons, but by their works and by their words, by the thing itself, by confronting the laws of Christ, and our practices. Sometimes the angels, who are the observers of all our works, carry up sad tidings to the court of heaven against us. Thus two angels were the informers against Sodom : but yet these were the last ; for before that time the cry of their inquity had sounded loud and sadly in heaven. And all this is the direct and proper effect of his jealousy, which sets spies upon all the actions, and watches the circumstances, and tells the steps, and attends the business, the recreations, the publications, and retirements, of every man, and will not suffer a thought to wander, but he uses means to correct its error, and to reduce it to himself. For he that created us, and daily feeds us, he that entreats us to be happy with an importunity so passionate as if not we, but himself were to receive the favour; he that would part with his only Son from his bosom and the embraces of eternity, and give him over to a shameful and cursed death for us, cannot but be supposed to love us with a great love, and to own us with an entire title, and therefore, that he would fain secure us to himself with an undivided passion. And it cannot but be infinitely reasonable ; for to whom else should any of us belong but to God? Did the world create us? or did lust ever do us any good ? Did Satan ever suffer one stripe for our advantage ? Does not hestudy all the ways
to ruin us? Do the sun or the stars preserve us alive? or do we get understanding from the angels? Did ever any joint of our body knit, or our heart ever keep one true minute of a pulse, without God ? Had not we been either nothing, or worse, that is, infinitely, eternally miserable, but that God made us capable, and then pursued us with arts and devices of great mercy to force us to be happy ? Great reason therefore there is, that God should be jealous lest we take any of our duty from him, who hath so strangely deserved it all, and give it to a creature, or to our enemy, who cannot be capable of any. But, however, it will concern us with much caution to observe our own ways, since we are made a spectacle to God, to angels, and to men.' God hath set so many spies upon us, the blessed angels and the accursed devils, good men and bad men, the eye of heaven, and the eye of that eye, God himself,—all watching lest we rob God of his honour and ourselves of our hopes. For by this prime intention he hath chosen so to get his own glory, as may best consist with our felicity: his great design is to be glorified in our being saved. 3. God's jealousy hath a sadder effect than all this. For all this is for mercy; but if we provoke this jealousy, if he finds us in our spiritual whoredoms, he is implacable, that is, he is angry with us to eternity, unless we return in time; and if we do, it may be, he will not be appeased in all instances ; and when he forgives us, he will make some reserves of his wrath; he will punish our persons or our estate, he will chastise us at home or abroad, in our bo. dies or in our children; for he will visit our sins upon our children from generation to generation : and if they be made miserable for our sins, they are unhappy in such parents; but we bear the curse and the anger of God, even while they bear his rod. “ God visits the sins of the fathers upon the children.” That's the second great stroke he strikes against sin, and is now to be considered.
That God doth so is certain, because he saith he doth: and that this is just in him so to do, is also as certain therefore, because he doth it. For as his laws are our measures, so his actions and his own will are his own measures. He that hath right over all things and all persons, cannot do wrong to any thing. He that is essentially just (and there could be no such thing as justice, or justice itself could not
be good, if it did not derive from him), it is impossible for him to be unjust. But since God is pleased to speak after the manner of men, it may well consist with our duty to inquire into those manners of consideration, whereby. we may understand the equity of God in this proceeding, and to be instructed also in our own danger if we persevere in sin.
1. No man is made a sinner by the fault of another man without his own consent: for to 'every one God gives his choice, and sets life and death before every of the sons of Adam; and therefore, this death is not a consequent to any sin but our own. In this sense it is true, that if the fathers eat sour grapes, the children's teeth shall not be set on edge: and therefore the sin of Adam, which was derived to all the world, did not bring the world to any other death but temporal, by the intermedial stages of sickness and temporal in-. felicities. And it is not said that sin passed upon all men,' but death; and that also no otherwise but šo návTeslage Tov,
« inasmuch as all men have sinned;" as they havc followed the steps of their father, so they are partakers of this death. And therefore, it is very remarkable, that death brought in by sin was nothing superinduced to man; man only was reduced to his own natural condition, from which before Adam's fall he stood exempted by supernatural favour: and therefore, although the taking away that extraordinary grace or privilege was a punishment; yet the suffering the natural death was directly none, but a condition of his creation, natural, and therefore not primarily evil; but, if not good, yet at least indifferent. And the truth and purpose of this observation will extend itself, if we observe, that before any man died Christ was promised, by whom death was to lose its sting, by whom death did cease to be an evil, and was, or might be, if we do belong to Christ, a state of advantage. So that we, by occasion of Adam's sin, being returned to our natural certainty of dying, do'still, even in this very particular, stand between the blessings and the cursing. If we follow Christ, death is our friend: if we imitate the prevarication of Adam, then death becomes an evil; the condition of our nature becomes the punishment of our own sin, not of Adam's. For although his sin brought death in, yet it is only our sin that makes death to be evil. And I desire this to be observed, because it is of great use in vindicating
the divine justice in the matter of this question. The material part of the evil came from our father upon us : but the formality of it, the sting and the curse, is only by ourselves.
2. For the fault of others many may become miserable, even all or any of those whose relation is such to the sinner, that he in any sense may, by such inflictions, be punished, execrable or oppressed. Indeed it were strange, if, when a plague were in Ethiopia, the Athenians should be infected; or if the house of Pericles were visited, Thucydides should die for it. For although there are some evils which (as Plutarch saith) are “ ansis et propagationibus prædita, incredibili celeritate in longinquum penetrantia,” such which can dart evil influences, as porcupines do their quills; yet as at so great distances the knowledge of any confederate events must needs be uncertain; so it is also useless, because we neither can join their causes, nor their circumstances, nor their accidents, into any neighbourhood of conjunction. Relations are seldom noted at such distances; and if they were, it is certain so many accidents will intervene, that will outweigh the efficacy of such relations, that by any so far distant events we cannot be instructed in any duty, nor understand ourselves reproved for any fault. But when the relation is nearer, and is joined under such a head and common cause, that the influence is perceived, and the parts of it do usually communicate in benefit, notice, or infelicity,--especially if they relate to each other as superior and inferior, then it is certain the sin is infectious; I mean, not only in example, but also in punishment.
And of this I shall show, 1. In what instances it is so. 2. For what reasons it is so, and justly so.
3. In what degree, and in what cases, it is so. 4. What remedies there are for this evil.
1. It is so in kingdoms, in churches, in families, in political, artificial, and even in accidental societies.
When David numbered the people, God was angry with him; but he punished the people for the crime ; seventy thousand men died of the plague. And when God gave to David the choice of three plagues, he chose that of the pestilence, in which the meanest of the people, and such which have the least society with the acts and crimes of kings, are most commonly devoured; whilst the powerful and sinning
persons, by arts of physic, and flight, by provisions of nature, and accidents, are more commonly secured. But the story of the kings of Israel hath furnished us with an example fitted with all the stranger circumstances in this question. Joshua had sworn to the Gibeonites, who had craftily secured their lives by exchanging it for their liberties ; almost five hundred years after, Saul, in zeal to the men of Israel and Judah, slew many of them. After this Saul dies, and no question was made of it: but, in the days of David, there was a famine in the land three years together; and God, being inquired of, said, it was because of Saul's killing the Gibeonites.* What had the people to do with their king's fault? Or, at least, the people of David with the fault of Saul ? That we shall see anon. But see the way that was appointed to expiate the crime and the calamity. David took seven of Saul's sons, and hung them up against the sun: and after that, God was entreated for the land. The story observes one circumstance more; that, for the kindness of Jonathan, David spared Mephibosheth. Now this story doth not only instance in kingdoms, but in families too. The father's fault is punished upon the sons of the family, and the king's fault upon the people of his land; even after the death of the king, after the death of the father. Thus God visited the sin of Ahab partly upon himself, partly upon his sons: “I will not bring the evil in his days, but in his son's days will I bring the evil upon his house.”+ Thus did God slay the child of Bathsheba for the sin of his father David : and the whole family of Eli, all his kindred of the nearer lines, were thrust from the priesthood, and a curse made to descend upon his children for many ages, that all the males should die young, and in the flower of their youth.' The boldness and impiety of Cham made his posterity to be accursed, and brought slavery into the world. Because Amalek fought with the sons of Israel at Rephidim, God took up a quarrel against the nation for ever. And, above all examples, is that of the Jews, who put to death the Lord of life, and made their nation to be an anathema for ever, until the day of restitution : “ His blood be upon us, and upon our children.” If we shed innocent blood, if we provoke God to wrath, if we oppress the poor, if we crucify the Lord of life again, * 2 Sam. xxi. 1,
+ 1 Kings xxi. 29.