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3, . *
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I02 OF THE PENAL . . [Book r.
o - tinate to escape unpunished.”. Let us here a little examine - - * , these concessions. They say, it is unworthy of God not to pu- *
mish the obstinate: nay, it is due to the nature of God not to
- according to God's natural right; so that to maintain the contrary, would be unworthy of God, and consequently impossible. A difficult question this, because to determine concern-o ing this absolute right of God in special cases, seems to be above human reach “God is greater than man, he giveth not an account of his matters,” Job xxxiii. 12, 13. to us however try, whether from the consideration of the divine perfections, we may not gather what may in this case be . . worthy of God. - o o o o ... .o.o. * * XL. I now Pop there is in sin committed against the infinite majesty of God, a malignity in its measure infinite; and therefore a demerit of punishment in its measure infinite also. I say, there is in sin a malignity only, in its measure infinite. For it cannot be called infinite in an absolute sense: if we consider the entity of the act in itself, an act infinitely intense canot be produced by a finite creature; if the irregularity, and the privation of moral good, adhering to the act, it is a privation of a finite rectitude, which is all that can be found in a creature: if, in fine, we consider the whole complex, namely sin, in the concrete, as they speak; neither in that case will its malignity be absolutely infinite. For neither are all acts of sin j, vicious, there being a great difference among them, which could not be if they were infinite. However, the malig* nity of sin is in its measure infinite: 1st. Objectively, because o committed against an infinite good. 2dly. Extensively, in respect of duration, because the blot or stain of sin endures for ever, unless purged away by the blood of Christ. There is. not therefore in sin a desert of punishment absolutely infinite: as to intenseness of torments. *. such a punishment is absolutely impossible; for, a finite creature is not capable of infinite torments. , 2. Because it would follow, that could never satisfy his justice by inflicting condign punishment on the wicked, because they are incapable of this punishment. It is , then absurd to say, that any punishment is of right due to sin, which God can never inflict. 3. Because it would follow, an equal punishment was due to all sins, or that all in fact were too . be punished alike, which is an absurdity, and against Matt Ki', : 22, 24. The reason of this consequence is, because there neither is, nor can be, any disparity between infinites. Neverthe-jo - less, there is in sin a desert of punishment in its measure infi..., : nite: namely, in the same manner that the malignity of it is in-o. o finite. That is, 1st. Objectively, so as to deprive man of the * . of the infinite good, which is God...?dly. Ex o sively, so that the punishment shall last for ever. And thus I; consider this desert of eternal punishment, so far only as to
104 THE SACRAMENTS OF THE [Book 1.
conclude, that God does nothing contrary to equity and justice, when he punishes the sins of men with eternal torments, both of soul and body. Which the event shews, as I have made appear Ś XVII. XLI. But I know not if it can be determined, whether this eternity ought necessarily to consist in the punishment of sense, or whether the justice of God may be satisfied by the eternal punishment of loss, in the annihilation of the sinful creature. This, I o: may be said with sufficient probability and sobriety: If God should be pleased to continue for ever in existence the sinner, it is necessary (without a satisfaction) that he for ever inflict punishment on him, not only the punishment of loss, but likewise that of sense. The reason is, because not only the guilt of sin always remains, but also the stain with which sin, once committed, infects the soul, and which can never be purged out, but by the blood of Christ. But it is impossible, as we proved, § XXII, XXIII, XXIV. that God should admit man, stained with sin, to communion with himself: and it cannot be that a rational creature, excluded the enjoyment of the divine favour, should not feel this indignation of with the deepest anguish. Conscience most severely lashes the wretches for having deprived themselves of the chief Which with no small care we have also shewn, § XIII. and the following sections. XLII. But whether it be necessary that God should continue for ever the sinful creature in a state of existence, I own I am ignorant. May it not, in its measure, be reckoned an infinite punishment, should God please to doom man, who was by nature a candidate for eternity, to total annihilation, from ... whence he should never be suffered to return to hse? I know, God has now determined otherwise, and that with the highest justice. But it is queried, whether agreeably to his justice, he might not have settled it in this manner: If thou, O man, sinnest, I will frustrate thy desire of eternal happiness, and of a
blessed eternity; and on the contrary, give thee up to eternal
annihilation. Here at least let us hesitate, and suspend our judgment.
C H. A. P. VI. Of the Sacraments of the Covenant of Works. I. It hath lo the blessed and almighty God, in every
economy of his covenants, to confirm, by some sacred symbols, the certainty of his promises, and, at the same time,
char. vi.] covenant of works.
to remind man in covenant with him of his duty: to
or II. God also granted to man such symbols under the Cove.
mant of Works; concerning which we are now to speak, that
nothing may be wanting in this treatise, and, if I mistake not,
2. The Tree of Lift. 3. The Tree of Knowledge of Good and
Evil. 4. The Sabbath. In speaking of each of I shallo.
distinctly shew first, What good they signified and sealed to
man, with respect to God.” Secondl
III. But I must previously observe,
foreign to this treatise, and out of its place, to propose such
significations either of Paradise, or of the Tree of Life, or of
the Sabbath, as relate to the gospel, the grace of Christ, and to glory, as freely given to the elect by the Mediator and Spirit of grace. For here, I observe, that men of learning in other 1 ts, have stumbled, who, when explaining the nature ... Sacraments, too uncautiously blend i. belonging to a quite different covenant. Nothing is here to be brought in which does not belong to the covenant of works, the promises of that covenant, and the duties of man under the same: all which are most distinct from the covenant of grace. Here we are to say nothing of Christ, nothing of justifying faith in him, nothing of our ceasing from our own works as impure, nor any othing of that rest after the miseries of this life. All these belong to another covenant. H do. not however refuse, that the unsearchable wisdom of God did appoint and order these symbols in such a manner, that the remembrance of them after the fall might be able to instruct man in manythings relating to the covenant of grace and its Mediator. As that according to Paul, the first Adam himself was a type of the second: Eve, curiously formed out of Adam's rib while asleep, was a type of the church, as it were, taken from Christ in virtue of his death, and that the first marriage, represented that great mystery which regards Christ and the Church. These things, ło, were neither known nor thought of in the state of nature; nor to be mentioned in a discourse on the Sacraments of the covenant of works. Having premised these things, let us now enquire into each o with all the care possible, beginning with ParaIse. . .
IV. It is far from our design, elaborately to enquire into the situation and topography of Paradise. Let, it suffice to observe, that it was a garden, and a most agreeable enclosure, planted by God ...; toward the east, in Eden, a most fertile region, and abounding in all kinds of delights, as very
learned men think, near Haran, the mart of Arabia, at the con
flux of the Euphrates and Tigris, not far from Mesopotamia; which was watered with four rivers, washing, by many windings and meanders, the most fertile orchard. When man was formed from the earth without Paradise, he was introduced by God as a new guest to till the ground, and give an account of his stewardship and care. Here was .# thing that could contribute to the proper pleasures of this life, God frequently revealing himself to man, and familiarly admitting him to the sweetest fellowship with himself. Moses also