Page images
PDF
EPUB

or--------------~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

3, . *

* * ,

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
pardon them. Why pray Is it because they are stubborn and
obstinate? But obstinacy is not punished on its own account,
because there is a good and laudable obstinacy or constancy.
It is therefore only punished because of the evil that is in it; -
it is then necessary that sin be punished on its own account, –
and obstinacy only because of the sinfulness of it. And if it
be necessary to punish sin on its own account, therefore where-
ever it is to be met with, it must necessarily be punished. Be-
sides, all men after having once sinned, obstinately persevere
in sin, unless they are brought to repentance by the preventin
grace of God. But how can they obtain this without a previ-
ous satisfaction, if it be a debt which the divine nature owes to
itself, not to grant them pardon.
XXXVIII. We likewise readily admit what Crellius ad-
vances in the very same chapter: “ by the same claim of right
that: we owe obedience to God, by #. same, also we become
liable to punishment for neglect of obedience and service: for,
punishment succeeds, as it were, in the place of the duty omit-
ted, and if possible, ought to atone for it.” But doubtless, by
a claim of natural right, obedience is due to God; and it would
be repugnant to the divine perfections, not to require it of a
rational mature. I speak without reserve, he is not God who
cannot demand obedience from his rational creature. And
the very same thing, according to Crellius' very jo. hypothe-
sis, is to be affirmed of punishment. I am well aware, that
Crellius founds both claims as well to obedience as to punish-
ment, on the dominion of God, as Lord; though this ought
rather to be founded on the essential majesty and supremacy of
God, which is the foundation of his sovereign dominion. But
he is forced to confess that this sovereign dominion is so natural
to God, that he cannot renounce it; nay, indeed, that without
it, “it is scarce, intelligible how he can be God; since it is
on account of that very authority, and the power from which
it flows, he is said to be God.” It therefore stands firm, that
the penal sanction of the covenant is founded in the superemi-
ment, most holy, and just nature of God, and not in the mere
good pleasure of the ão will only.
XXXIX. We might here further enquire, whether the
eternity of punishment is to be derived from this natural right
of God; or, which is the same thing, whether a punishment,
justly equivalent to each sin, ought necessarily to be eternal,

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors]

- 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

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]

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,

[graphic]

:

|

char. vi.] covenant of works.

to remind man in covenant with him of his duty: to
symbols ecclesiastical practice has long since given th
of Sacraments: this was certainly too o
lent design by the all-wise God. For, 1st. What God
made known concerning his ...”. -
posed to man's more accurate consideration; "since' o
only once and again instructed in the will of God by a heavenly
oracle, but frequently and almost daily beholds with his eyes
those things which by heaven are granted him as pledges of
the greatest blessings: what believers see with their eyes, usu-
ally sink deeper into the soul, and leave deeper impressions of
themselves, than those only which they hear with their ears.
Elegantly to this purpose says Herodotus, “men usually give
less credit to the ears than to the eyes.” .2dly. These sym-
bols also tend to confirm our faith. For, though nothing can
be thought of that deserves more credit than the word of God;
yet, where God adds signs and seals to his infallible promises,
he gives a twofold foundation to our faith.” “Thus he more
abundantly shews unto the heirs of promise the immutability
of his counsel: that by two immutable things, in which it was
impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong, consola-
tion,” Heb. vi. 17, 18. 3dly. By means of this institution, a
holy man does, by the sight, touch, and taste, of the sacred sym-
bols, attain to some sense of eternal blessings, and accustoms
himself under the symbols, to a contemplation and foretaste
of these things, to the plenary and immediate fruition of which
he will, one time or other, be admitted without any outward
signs. 4thly, and lastly. The man has in these something
continually to remind him of his duty; and as, from time to
time, they present to his thoughts, and give a foretaste of his
Creator, so at the same time they put him in mind of those ..
strong obligations, by which he is bound to his Covenant-God.
And thus, they are both a bridle to restrain him from sin, and
a spur to quicken him cheerfully to run that holy race which
he has so happily entered upon. o' o

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,
were four in all, which I reckon up in this order: 1. Paradise.

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,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]

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

[subsumed][graphic]
« PreviousContinue »