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with more stripes than others, though their existence in that place of torment be of equal duration? May not some prisoners deserve and meet with better treatment than others, though the time of their confinement in prison be the same? Though the scriptures tell us that God will render to every man according to his works, and make mention of the many, and of the few stripes; yet they never say, that some shall be punished for a long time, eis χρόνον πολὺν, and others for a short time, εἰς χρόνον μικρὸν, οι εἰς ὀλίγον καιρόν. But the difference always turns upon the variety of degrees, and not at all upon the inequality of the duration; the punishment of all being represented as αἰώνιος, or εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα, equally; never once, as πрóσкαipos, temporal, or for a This difference of degrees, therefore, is the thing most naturally implied, according to the whole tenor of scripture, when any difference is spoken ofk. But this "equal duration," Mr. W. says, p. 108, "is contrary to the most obvious rules of right "and justice in the world." I, on the other hand, ginningless, as well as endless duration; in which sense, God only hath immortality. In this sense, he will not allow the souls of men to be immortal; not that they will ever perish, for those of the good, he expressly says, shall" die no more;" and those of the wicked shall be punished as long as God wills "to continue them "in being, and to punish them." The meaning of which is, agreeably to the point he is upon, that their existence is dependent upon God; who, as he at first gave, has it always in his power to take it away. But that he ever will do so, is not said; nor consistent with what Justin teaches, concerning their endless punishment, elsewhere: see the pages above referred to in Mr. W.'s book. See also the notes in Jebb's edition of the Dialogue with Trypho, p. 19, 21. And for a full vindication of Justin Martyr, see Mr. Chishull's Charge of Heresy, chap. iii.

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assert, that since there will be so great a difference in the degrees of punishment, each man's being exactly suited to the demerit of his sin, and the malignity of his temper, there will be no injustice in the equal duration of it: and that the Judge of all the earth will still do right, though he does not preternaturally annihilate those creatures whom he originally created naturally immortal. "For why, I "beseech you," says Dr. Clarke, "must it needs be "supposed, that God cannot dispose of all his ra"tional creatures into states suitable to their several "natures, and proportionable to their several capa"cities and deserts, without destroying and taking away their being?" Letter to Mr. Dodwell, p. 62. And again, p. 67. "But certainly it is a very weak " and poor argument, to conclude that numberless "souls must therefore necessarily be annihilated, "merely because we do not know in particular "what state and condition it will please God to as

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sign them." There can be no doubt but that God can thus dispose of all his creatures (incorrigibly wicked Christians, as well as heathens and infants) in such a manner as is right, and best upon the whole; and yet so, that none of them shall suffer more than the reason of the thing demands, or their own iniquities deserve. And provided this be but done, there will be no reasonable ground of complaint, because he does not take away their being.

A third observation to be made is, That these punishments are not merely arbitrary, or so to be understood, as if God interposed every moment to inflict them, by acts of mere power and will; but they are the natural and necessary consequence and result of things. There is a man, indeed, who

calls himself, or his book, the Moral Philosopher, (and one is as much so as the other,) who denies all this; and tells us that "these rewards and punish"ments must be such as are not the natural, neces

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sary consequences of the actions themselves, since every one must see that this would be no govern"ment at all, and that the case, in this respect, "must be the very same, whether we suppose any "rectoral justice, or any presence or operation of "God in the world, or not." Vol. i. p. 189, 190. It is my misfortune not to see this, or any thing like it. On the contrary, I see plainly that the government of God at present, is, in general, administered in a different way. And yet this is very far from being the "very same," as to suppose, that there is no presence or operation of God in the world." But I beg leave to illustrate this point in the words of a great and excellent writer, who has introduced the solid manner of reasoning upon moral subjects, so highly and so justly approved in natural, building nothing upon conjecture and hypothesis, but all upon facts and experience. It will be immediately seen that I mean bishop Butler, whose Analogy of Religion natural and revealed, to the Constitution and Course of Nature, is one of the noblest performances our age has produced, and would have been an honour to any." From this general observation, ob"vious to every one, that God has given us to understand, he has appointed satisfaction and delight to be the consequence of our acting in one

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manner, and pain and uneasiness of our acting "in another, and of our not acting at all; and that

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we find these consequences, which we were before"hand informed of, uniformly to follow; we may

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"learn, that we are at present actually under his "government in the strictest and most proper sense; "in such a sense, as that he rewards and punishes "us for our actions. An author of nature being supposed, it is not so much a deduction of reason, as "a matter of experience, that we are thus under his government: under his government, in the same sense, as we are under the government of civil magistrates. Because the annexing pleasure to "some actions, and pain to others, in our power to "do or forbear, and giving notice of this appoint"ment beforehand to those whom it concerns; is "the proper formal notion of government. Whether "the pleasure or pain which thus follows upon what "we do, be owing to the Author of nature's acting upon us every moment which we feel it; or to his having at once contrived and executed his own part in the plan of the world, makes no alteration "as to the matter before us. For if civil magistrates "could make the sanctions of their laws take place, "without interposing at all, after they had passed "them; without a trial, and the formalities of an "execution: if they were able to make their laws "execute themselves, or every offender to execute "them upon himself; we should be just in the same "sense under their government then, as we are "now; but in a much higher degree, and more per"fect manner." P. 35. 4to edit.1

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As this then is not only a possible, but a real case, the case in fact, under the present government of God; it may be the same, even in a much higher degree, and more perfect manner, in the future state 1 Compare archbishop King's Appendix to his Origin of Evil,

sect. iii.

of retribution. The natural consequences of things and actions may then take their course, with less disturbance and interruption. Natural and moral evil will be closely connected, and every degree of the one be attended with an equal degree of the other. It is a jest to say, that this is inconsistent with the notion of governing justice; which is rather an illustrious display of it. For what does that require more, than that wicked agents should be punished, proportionably as their iniquities deserve? And whether this punishment comes upon them, in the way of natural consequence, or of positive infliction, pro re nata, makes no difference as to them; for the punishment is supposed to be equally the same. And as to the "presence and operation of "God," they are by no means excluded by this supposition. The whole scheme is originally his contrivance and constitution. He is present every where, and acts always; but uniformly, agreeably to certain laws founded in eternal wisdom, reason, and truth; or to those ideas in the divine mind, according to which all things were created. This is acting according to the nature of things, which surely is very different from not acting at all; and seems to be more worthy of the Deity, than acting by occasional and arbitrary interpositions of power; the way in which poor mortals act, for want of ability to contrive, execute, or even comprehend, a system of government, so universal, so complex, and so perfect as the other.

In short, there are two ways in which future punishments may be supposed to be inflicted: they may either proceed arbitrarily from the will of God, or necessarily from the nature of things. Which of

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