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PART Advantages or Pleasures obtained by the Ac-
Į. tions, of which they are the Punishments or

Consequences: That though we may ima-
gine a Constitution of Nature, in which these
natural Punishments, which are in Fact to
follow, would followv, immediately upon
such Actions being done, or very soon after ;
we find on the contrary in our World, that
they are often delayed a great while, fome-
times even till long after the Actions occasion,
ing them are forgot; so that the Constitution
of Nature is such, that Delay of Punish-
ment is ro Sort nor Degree of Presumption
of final Impunity: That after such Delay,
these natural Punishments or Miseries often
come, not by Degrees, but suddenly, with
Violence, and at once; however, the chief
Misery often does : That as Certainty of
such distant Milery fo:lowing such Actions,
is never aforded Persons ; so perhaps during
the Actions, they have seldum a distinct full
Expectation of its following!: And many
Times the Case is only thus, that they see in
general, or may see, the Credibility, ihat In-
temperance, suppose, will bring after it Dif-
cases; civil Crimes, civil Punishments; when
yet the real Probability often is, that they
Thall escape: but things notwithstanding take
their destined Course, and the Misery inevi-
tably follows at its appointed Time, in very ~
! Sce Part II. Ch. vi.

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of these Cases. Thus also though CHAP. C: Youth may be alledged as an Excuse for II.

Rashness and Folly, as being naturally thought-in ele less, and not clearly foreseeing all the Con

sequences of being untractable and profligate;
this does not hinder, but that these Conse-
quences follow, and are grievously felt through-
out the whole Course of mature Life. Habits
contracted even in that Age, are often utter

Ruin : And Men's Success in the World, not 1 only in the common Sense of worldly Success,

but their real Happiness and Misery, depends,
in a great Degree, and in various Ways, upon
the Manner in which they pass their Youth
which Consequences they for the most part
neglect to consider, and perhaps seldom can
properly be said to believe, beforehand. It
requires also to be mentioned, that in num-
berless Cases, the natural Course of things af-
fords us Opportunities for procuring Advanta-
ges to Ourselves at certain Times, which we
cannot procure when we will; nor ever recall
the Opportunities, if we have neglected them.
Indeed the general Course of Nature is an
Example of This. If, during the Opportu-
nity of Youth, Persons are indocile and self-
willed; they inevitably suffer in their future
Life, for Want of those Acquirements, which
they neglected the natural Season of attaining.
If the Husbandman lets his Seed-time pass
without sowing, the whole Year is lost to

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crec PAR T him beyond Recovery. In like Manner,

1. though after Men have been guilty of Folly
Wand Extravagance up to a certain Degree, it

is often in their Power, for instance, to re-
trieve their Affairs, to recover their Health anley
and Character ; at least in good measure: yet
real Reformation is, in many Cases, of no A-
vail at all towards preventing the Miseries, Po- 193 ar
verty, Sickness, Infamy, naturally annexed to
Folly and Extravagance exceeding that De-
gree. There is a certain Bound to Impru-
dence and Misbehaviour, which being trans-
gressed, there remains no Place for Repen-

z COLE
tance in the natural Course of things. It is
further very much to be remarked, that Neg-
lects from Inconsiderateness, Want of Atten-
tion m, not looking about us to see what we
have to do, are often attended with Conse-
quences altogether as dreadful, as any active
Misbehaviour, from the most extravagant
Passion. And lastly, civil Government being
natural; the Punishments of it are so too:
And some of these Punishments are capital ;
as the Effects of a diffolute Course of Plea-
sure are often mortal. So that many natural
Punishments are final • to him, who incurs

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m Part II. Chap. vi.

* The general Confideration of a future State of Punishment, most evidently belongs to the Subject of natural Religion. But if any of these Reflections should be thought to relate more peculiarly to this Doctrine as taught in Scripture :

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nr them, if confidered only in his temporal Ca-CHAP. Fol; pacity: and seem inflicted by natural Ap- II. e, pointment, either to remove the Offender out

of the Way of being further miscievous ; or

as an Example, though frequently a difrese garded one, to those who are left behind. A

These things are not, what we call accidental, or to be met with only now and then ; but they are things of every Day's Experience:

They proceed from general Laws, very gene1. ral ones, by which God governs the World,

in the natural Course of his Providence. And
they are so analogous, to what Religion
teaches us concerning the future Punishment

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the Reader is desired to observe, that Gentile Writers, both
Moralists and Poets, speak of the future Punishment of the
wicked, both as to the Duration and Degree of it, in a like
manner of Expression and of Description, as the Scripture
does. So that all which can positively be asserted to be Mat-
ter of mere Revelation, with regard to this Doctrine, seems to
be, that the great Diftinction between the righteous and the
wicked, shall be made at the End of this World ; that each
Thall Then receive according to his Deserts. Reason did, as it
well might, conclude that it should, finally and upon the
whole, be well with the righteous, and ill with the wicked :
But it could not be determined, upon any Principles of Rea.
fon, whether human Creatures might not have been appointed
to pass through other States of Life and Being, before that di-
ftributive Justice should finally and effectually take place. Re-
velation teaches us, that the next State of things after the pre-
fent, is appointed for the Execution of this Justice ; that it
shall be no longer delayed : But the Mystery of God, the great
Mystery of his suffering Vice and Confusion to prevail, Jhall
then be fixifbed; and he will take to him his great Power and
will reign, by rendring to every one according to his works.

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Part of the wicked, so much of a piece with it,

1. that Both would naturally be expressed in the w very fame Words, and Manner of Defcrip

tion. In the Book of Proverbs, for Instance, Wisdom is introduced, as frequenting the most public Places of Resort, and as rejected when she offers herself as the natural appointed Guide of human Life. How long, speaking to those who are passing through it, how long, ye fimple ones, will ye love folly, and the scorners delight in their fcorning, and fools bate knowledge ? Turn ye at my Reproof

. Behold, I will pour out my Spirit upon you, I will make known my words unto you. But

upon being neglected, Because I have called, and ye refused, I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my Counsel

, and would none of my Reproof : I also will laugh at your calamity, I will mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they fall seek me early, but they shall not find me.

This Passage, every one sees, is poetical, and some Parts of it are highly figurative; but their Meaning is obvious. And the thing intended is expressed more literally in the following Words; For that they hated knowledge, and did not cbuse : Chap

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