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he must always have the rod held over him, be often chastised, and held under the apprehensions of death, to keep him from running wild in pride, contempt and rebellion ; ungratefully using the blessings dealt forth from God's hand, in sinning against him, and serving his enemies. If man has no natural disingenuity of heart, it must be a mysterious thing indeed, that the sweet blessings of God's bounty have not as powerful an influence to restrain him from sinning against God, as terrible afflictions If any thing can be a proof of a perverse and vile disposition, this must be a proof of it, that men should be most apt to forget and despise God, when his providence is most kind ; and that they should need to have God chastising them with great severity, and even killing them, to keep them in order. If we were as much disposed to gratitude to God for his benefits, as we are to anger at our fellow-creatures for injuries, as we must be (so far as I can see) if we are not of a depraved heart; then the sweetness of divine bounty, and the height of every enjoyment pleasing to innocent human nature, would be as powerful incentives to a proper regard for God—tending as much to promote religion and virtueas to have the world filled with calamities, and to have God (to use the language of Hezekiah, Isaiah xxxviii. 13. describing death and its agonies) as a lion, breaking all our bones, and from day even to nigh, making an end of us.
Dr. T. himself, (p. 252.) says, " That our first parents before the fall were placed in a condition proper to engage their gratitude, love, and obedience." Which is as much as to say, a condition proper to engage them to the exercise and practice of all religion. And if the paradisaical state was proper to engage to all religion and duty, and men still come into the world with hearts as good as the two first of the species, why is it not proper to engage them to it still ? What need of so vastly changing man's state, depriving him of all those blessings, and instead of them allotting to him a world full of briers and thorns, affliction, calamity, and death, to engage him to it? The taking away of life, and all those pleasant enjoyments man had at first, by a permanent constitution, would be no stated benefit to mankind, unless there was in them a stated disposition to abuse such blessings. The taking of them away
. is supposed to be a benefit, under the notion of their tending to lead men to sin : But they would have no such tendency, at least in a stated manner, unless there was in men a fixed tendency to make that unreasonable misimprovement of them. Such a temper of mind as amounts to a disposition to make such a misimprovement of blessings, is often spoken of in scripture, as most astonishingly vile and perverse. So concerning Israel abusing the blessings of Canaan, that land flowing with milk and honey; their ingratitude in it is spoken of by the prophets, as enough to astonish all heaven and earth, and as more than brutish stupidity and vileness. Jer. ii. 7. I brought them into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof, and the goodness thereof. But when ye entered, ye defiled my land, fc. See the following verses, especially verse 12. Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this. So Isai. i. 2–4. Heur, o heavens, and give ear, 0 earth; I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib; but my people doth not know, Israel doth not consider. Ah, sinful nation! a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil-doers, children that are corrupters: (Compare Deut. xxxii. 6–19.) If to be disposed thus to abuse the blessings of so fruitful and pleasant a land as Canaan, showed so great depravity, surely it would be an evidence of a corruption no less astonishing, to be inclined to abuse the blessings of Eden, and the garden of God.
2. If death be brought on mankind only as a benefit, and in that manner which Dr. T. mentions,--to mortify or mode. rate their carnal appetites and affections, wean them from the world, excite them to sober reflections, and lead them to the fear and obedience of God, &c. is it not strange that it should fall so heavily on infants, who are not capable of making any such improvement of it; so that many more of mankind suffer death in infancy, than in any other equal part of the age of man? Our author sometimes hints, that the death of infants may be for the correction and punishment of parents. But hath God any need of such methods to add to parents' afflictions? Are there not other ways for increasing their trouble, without destroying the lives of such multitudes of those who are perfectly innocent, and who, on the supposition, have in no respect any sin belonging to them? On whom death comes at an age, when not only the subjects are not capable of reflection, or making any improvement of it, either in suffering, or the expectation of it: but also at an age, when parents and friends-who alone can improve, and whom Dr. T. supposes alone to be punished by it--suffer least by being bereaved of them; though the infants themselves sometimes suffer to great extremity ?
3. To suppose, as Dr. T. does, that death is brought on mankind in consequence of Adam's sin, not at all as a calamity, but only as a favour and benefit, is contrary to the gospel ; which teaches, that when Christ, as the second Adam, comes to remove and destroy that death which came by the first Adam, he finds it not as a friend, but an enemy, I Cor. xv, 22.
Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive; (with ver. 25. and 26.) For he must reign, till he hath put enemies under his feet. The last ENEMY that shall be destroed, is DEATH.
Dr. T. urges, that the afflictions to which mankind are subjected, and particularly their common mortality, are represented in scripture as the chastisements of our heavenly Father; and therefore are designed for our spiritual good, and consequently are not of the nature of punishments. (So in p. 68, 69, 38, 39. S.)
Though I think the thing asserted far from being true, viz. that the scripture represents the afflictions of mankind in general, and particularly their common mortality, as the chastisement of an heavenly Father; yet it is needless to stand to dispute that matter. For if it be so, it will be no argument that the afflictions and death of mankind are not evidences of their sinfulness. Those would be strange chastisements from the hand of a wise and good Father, which are wholly for nothing ; especially such severe chastisements, as to break the child's bones, when at the same time the father does not suppose any guilt, fault, or offence, in any respect, belonging to the child; but it is chastised in this terrible manner only for fear that it will be faulty hereafter. I say, these would be a strange sort of chastisements; yea, though he should be able to make it up to the child afterwards. Dr. T. speaks of representations made by the whole current of scripture; I am certain it is not agreeable to the current of scripture to represent divine fatherly chastisements after this manner. It is true, the scripture supposes such chastenings to be the fruit of God's goodness; yet at the same time it evermore represents them as being for the sin of the subject, and as evidences of the divine displeasure for its sinfulness. Thus the apostle (1 Cor. xi. 30 -32.) speaks of God's chastening his people by mortal sickness, for their good, that they might not be condemned with the world, and yet signifies that it was for their sin ; FOR THIS CAUSE many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep : that is, for the profaneness and sinful disorder before mentioned. So Elihu, (Job xxxii. 16, &c.) speaks of the same chastening by sickness, as for men's good ; to withdraw man from his sinful purpose, and to hide pride from man, and keep buck his soul from the pit; that therefore God chastens man with pain on his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain. But these chastenings are for his sins, as appears by what follows; (ver. 28.) Where it is observed, that when God by this means has brought men to repent, and humbly confess their sins, he delivers them. Again, the same Elihu, speaking of the unfailing love of God to the righteous, even when he chastens them, and they are bound in fetters and holden in cords of affliction, (Chap. xxxvi. 7, &c.) yet speaks of these chastenings as being for their SINS, (ver. 9.) Then he sheweth them their work, and their transgressions that they have exceeded. So David, (Psal. xxx.-) speaks of God's chastening by some afflictions, as being for his
good, and issuing joyfully ; and yet being the fruit of God's anger for his sin, (ver. 5.) God's ANGER endureth but for a moment, &c. (compare Psal. cxix. 67, 71, 75.) God's fatherly chastisements are spoken of as being for sin. (2 Sam. vii, 14, 15.) I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men; but my mercy shall not depart away from him. So the prophet Jeremiah speaks of the great affliction that God's people suffered in the time of the captivity, as being for their good. (Lam. iii. 25, &c.) But yet these chastisements are spoken of as being for their SIN, (see especially ver. 39, 40.) So Christ says, Rev. iii. 19. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. But the words following shew, that these chastenings from love are for sin that should be repented of: Be zealous therefore, and repent. And though Christ tells us they are blessed that are persecuted for righteousness' sake, and have reason to rejoice and be exceeding glad ; yet even the persecutions of God's people, as ordered in divine Providence, are spoken of as divine chastenings for sin, like the just corrections of a father when the children deserve them, Heb. xii. The apostle there speaking to the Christians concerning the persecutions which they suffered, calls their sufferings by the name of divine rebukes ; which implies testifying against a fault : And that they may not be discouraged, puts them in mind, that whom the Lord loves he chastens, and scourgeth every son that he receiveth. It is also very plain, that the persecutions of God's people, as they are from the disposing hand of God, are chastisements for
If divine chastisements in general are certain evidences that the subjects are not wholly without sin some way belonging to them, then in a peculiar manner is death so; for these reasons:
(I.) Because slaying, or delivering to death, is often spoken of as, in general, a more awful thing than the chastisements which are endured in this life. Thus, Psal. cxviii. 17, 18. I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord. The Lord hath chastened me sore; but he hath not given me over unto death. So the Psalmist, (Psal. lxxxviii. 15.) setting forth the extremity of his affliction, represents it as what was next to death. I am afflicted, and ready to die—while I suffer thy terrors, I am distracted. (See I Sam. xx. 3.) And so God's tenderness towards persons under chastisement, is, from time to time, set forth, that he did not proceed so far as to make
* See 1 Pet. iv. 17, 18, compared with Prov. ix. 31. See also Psal. lsis. 4-9.
an end of them by death.* God's people often pray, when under great affliction, that God would not proceed to this as the greatest extremity. Psal. xii. 3.
Psal. xiii. 3. Consider, and hear me, O Lord, my God; lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death.t
Especially may death be looked upon as the most extreme of all temporal sufferings, when attended with such dreadful circumstances and extreme pains, as those with which providence sometimes brings it on infants; as on the children that were offered up to Moloch and some other idols, who were tormented to death in burning brass. Dr. T. says, (p. 83, 128. S.) “ The Lord of all Being can never want time, and place, and power, to compensate abundantly any sufferings infants now undergo in subserviency to his good providence.” But there are no bounds to such a licence, in evading evidences from fact. It might as well be said, that there is not and cannot be any such thing as evidence, from events of God's displea, gure ; which is most contrary to the whole current of scripture, as may appear in part from what has been observed. This gentleman might as well go further still, and say, that God may cast guiltless persons into hell-fire, to remain there in the most unutterable torments for ages of ages, (which bear no greater proportion to eternity than a quarter of an hour) and if he does so, it is no evidence of God's displeasure ; because he can never want time, place, and power, abundantly to compensate their sufferings afterwards. If it be so, it is not to the purpose, as long as the scripture so abundantly teaches us to look on great calamities and sufferings which God brings on men, especially death, as marks of his displeasure for sin, and for sin belonging to them who suffer.
(2.) Another thing—which may well lead us to suppose death, in a peculiar manner, above other temporal sufferings, to be intended as a testimony of God's displeasure for sin-is that death is attended with that awful appearance, that gloomy and terrible aspect, which naturally suggests to our minds God's awful displeasure. Of this Dr. T. himself takes particular notice, when (p. 69.) speaking of death ; " Herein (says he) have we before our eyes a striking demonstration, thai sin is infinitely hateful to God, and the corruption and ruin of our nature. Nothing is more proper than such a sight to give us the utmost abhorrence of all iniquity, &c.” Now, if death be no testimony of God's displeasure for sin—no evidence that the subject is looked upon by him who inflicts it, as any other than perfectly innocent, free from all imputation of guilt, and
* As in Psal. Ixxviii. 38, 39, Psal. ciii. 9, with ver. 14, 15, Psal. xxx. 2, 3, 9, and Job xxxiii, 22-24.
+ So Job 8. 9. Psal, vi. 1-5. lxxxvüi. 9, 10, 11, and cxliii, 7,