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72. THE PROMISES OF THE ; snook 1.

“God does not want servants, Why so?. He ministers himself to mankind ; being every where present and at hand. Whoever conceives not of God as he ought, dealing all things, bestowing his benefits freely, will never make the proper proficiency. Why are the Gods so beneficent? It is owing to their nature. The first article of the worship of the Gods, is to believe that they are: then to render them, the honour of their majesty, and of their goodness, without which there is no majesty: to know, that they preside over the world, ern ings by their power, take special care of manind, without neglecting individuals.” In like manner, we find it among the articles of the Jewish faith, as a thing naturally known, that there are rewards as well as punishments with God; according to that common saying, God defrauds no creature of its reward. The worship of God presupposes the belief of this: For he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of then that diligently seek him, Heb. xi. 6... . . III, 3dly. Besides, this faith is not merely a certain persuasion of the mind, arising from reasoning, and the consideration of the goodness of God: but to render it a genuine faith, it must rest on the word and promise of God: faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God, Rom. x. 17. . .3dly. This was the intent of the tree of life, which the Socinians themselves, in Compend Socinian, c. 2. § 5. allow to have been a kind of oymbol, though obscure, of eternal lift. But that symbol, o: to Adam, could have been of no use, unless he understood it, and considered it as a seal of the promise made by God. It had been mere farce, to have prohibited man from access to, and eating of this tree after the fall; unless thereby, God had given bim to understand, that he would forfeit the thing promised, and concequently become unworthy of the use of that symbol and sacrament. 4thly. If no promise had been made, they might have lived without hope. For the hope which maketh not ashamed, is founded on the promises. But this is the character of the woeful calamity of those who are without God in the world, that they have no hope, Eph. ii. 12, 5thly. God represents to Cain a thing known long before, even by nature, much more by paternal instruction; If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? Gen. iv. 7. But did this maxim begin to be true, and to be known only after the fall P 6thly. The very threatening infers a promise. The language of which at least is, that he was to be deprived of that happiness, which otherwise he would continue to enjoy; we may,

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therefore, most certainly infer, that man had no occasion to
be afraid of losing that happiness, as long as he kept himself
from sin, 7thly. By this assertion of our adversaries, accord-
ing to their own hypotheses, all the religion of the first man
is destroyed. Seeing, as our author writes at the beginning
of that chapter, “the promise of rewards, for well-doing, is
closely interwoven with religion.” 8thly. The reason he gives
for this assertion, is foolish and to no pu . For, do these
many and liberal promises of *...* life, which God hath
given us in Christ, make it now less evident, that God is in-

debted to none, and is the most absolute lord of all things P

Does the supreme Being, by his gracious promises, derogate any
thing from his most absolute dominion? Must it not be known
in oft ages, that God owes nothing to any P. How then comes
it, that God did not always equally forbear promising? . . .
IV. Let this therefore be a settled point, that this covenant
was not established without promises. We now enquire what
sort of promises God made to Adam. Accordingly, we believe
God promised Adam life eternal, that is, the most perfect frui-
tion of himself, and that for ever, after finishing his course of
obedience; our arguments are these: ... a • -
W. 1st. The apostle declares that God, by sending his Son
in the flesh, did what the law could not do, “in that it was
weak through the flesh,” Rom. viii. 3. But it is certain Christ
procured for his own people a right to eternal life, to be en-
joyed in heaven in its due time. This the apostle declares
the law could not now do, not of itself, or, because it has
no such promises, but because it was weak through the flesh.
Had it not therefore been for sin, the law had brought men to
that eternal life, which Christ promises to and freely bestows on
his own people. This appears to me a conclusive argument.
VI. 2dly. It is universally allowed, that Paul, in his epistles
to the Romans and Galatians, where he treats on justification,
does under that name comprise the adjudging to eternal life:
he in many places proves that a sinner cannot be justified,
that is, lay claim to eternal life, by the works of the law ;
but never by this argument, because the law had no promises
of eternal life; but because man is by the law brought to the
acknowledgment of sin, and the ession of deserved dam-
nation, Rom. iii. 19, 20. He insists on this point with great
labour and pains, though otherwise he might have very easily
cut short the whole dispute, by, just saying, that a title to
eternal life was to be sought for by faith in Christ; that it is
in vain to rest upon any law, though kept ever so perfectly, in
regard it has no promises of eternal life annexed to it, . On the

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contrary, the apostle teaches, that the commandment, considered in itself, was ordained to life, Rom. vii. 10. that is, was such as by the observance thereof life might have once been obtained; which if the law could still bestow on the sinner, “verily righteousness should have been by the law,” Gal. iii. 21. that is, the right to that same happiness which now comes from faith in Christ. For the dispute was concerning xxogorousa, the inheritance of eternal life, which was to be entered upon; whether now, by means of the law, or by the promise of the l, v. 18. And he owns, it would be by the law, could the law Zwowoodwa make alive. And this could be done by that law which was ordained to life, Rom. vii. 10. But when P. In innocence before it was made weak by the flesh. If Adam therefore had persevered in obedience, the law would have brought him to that same inheritance, which now in Christ is allotted not to him that worketh, but to him that believeth. And this argument, if I mistake not, is plain to any person of thought and attention.

VII. 3dly. We are above all to observe how the apostle distinguishes the righteousness, which is of the law, from the evangelical. Of the first he thus speaks, Rom. x. 5. “Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law; that the man which doth those things shall live by them:" Of the second, he writes as follows, Rom. i. 17. “The just shall live by faith.” On both sides, the promise of life is the same, and proposed in the very same words. Nor does the apostle in the least hint that one kind of life is promised by the law, another by the gospel. Which, if true, ought for once at least to be hinted; as the doing this would have ended the whole dispute. For, in vain would any seek for eternal life by the law, if never promised in it. But the apostle places the whole difference, not in the thing promised, but in the condition of obtaining the promise; while he says, Gal. iii. 11, 12. “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident; for the just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but the man that doth them, shall live in them.” That very life therefore is promised by the law to the man that worketh, which he now receives through the faith of Christ. But to what man, thus working, were the promises made? Was it to the sinner P Was it not to man in a state of innocence P And was it not then, when it might truly be said if thou continuest to do well, thou shalt be heir of that life upon that condition ? And this could be said to none but to innocent Adam. Was it not then, when the promise was actually made For after sin, there is not so much a promise

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CHAP. Iv.] COVENANT OF WORKS. 75

as a denunciation of wrath, and an intimation of a curse, pro-
posing that as the condition of obtaining life, which is now evi-
dently impossible to be performed. I therefore conclude, that
to Adam, in the covenant of works, was promised the same
eternal life, to be obtained by the righteousness which is of
the law, of which believers are made partakers through Christ.
But let none object, that all these arguments are fetched, not
from the history of man in innocence, but from Paul's reason-
ing. For it is no matter whence arguments are taken, if the

contain a demonstration to the conscience, which I think is
here evident. Undoubtedly Adam knew a great deal more

than is contained in that very short account of him by Moses.

Nor does it appear to be without a mystery, that Moses is more
sparing on most of the particulars of that covenant, and throws
so little light on the shadow of a transient image, to denote that
it was to evanish.
VIII. Once more, 4thly. It was entirely agreeable, that
God should promise Adam, by covenant, something greater
and better to be obtained after finishing his course of obedi-
ence than what he was already possessed of What kind of
covenant would it have been to have added no reward to his
obedience, and his faithful compliance with the conditions of
the covenant, but only a continuation of those blessings which
he actually enjoyed already, and which it was not becoming
God to refuse to man whom he had created 2 Now, Adam
enjoyed in paradise all imaginable, natural, and animal happi-
ness, as it is called. A greater, therefore, and a more ted
felicity still awaited him; in the fruition of which, he would
most plainly see, that in keeping the divine commands, there is
ap any pudoaraboeval utyony great reward, Psal. xix. 11. - Let
none object the case of the angels, to whom he may pretend
nothing was promised by God, but the continuance of that
happy state, in which they were created. We are here to keep
to the apostle's advice, in Col. ii. 18. “not to intrude
into these things we have not seen.” Who shall declare un-
to us those things which are not revealed concerning the an-
gels? But if we may form probable conjectures, it appears to
me very likely that some superior degree of happiness was
conferred on the angels after they were actually confirmed,
and something more excellent than that in which they were at
first created: as the joy of the angels received a considerable
addition, upon beholding the divine perfections so resplendent
in the illustrious work of redemption; and at the consumma-
tion of all things, the happiness of all the elect, both angels
and nien, will be complete; when Christ's whole body shall

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76 THE PROMises of THE [Book 1.

appear glorious, and God be glorified and admired in all his saints. --, -, -, * ; : e.

IX. It still remains doubtful, whether the life promised to Adam upon his perseverance was to be ‘. in paradise,

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or in heaven. The latter appears more probable. 1st. Because paradise is in scripture represented as a type of heaven, and heaven itself is called paradise, Luke xxiii. 43 by that exchange of names which is very common between a sacrament, or sign, and the thing o thereby. But is it in the least probable, that paradise should be made a sacrament after man's ejectment? 2dly. Is it fit that man when raised to consummate happiness should reside there, where God does most brightly display the rays of his glorious majesty; which doub o does in heaven, where he has fixed his throne, Isa. lxvi. 1. 3dly. As the earthly paradise was furnished with all the delights and pleasures appertaining to this animal life, of which there is no necessity in that most perfect and immediate fruition of God, all that external entertaininent being in the highest degree excluded thence; heaven ought to be deemed a much more suitable habitation for glorified man than the earthly paradise. However, we would not deny, that happiness does not depend on place; and there being scarce anything to demonstrate this in scripture; therefore we ought not to contend strenuously about such a question.

... X. This therefore is settled; God promised to Adam eternal life. But here it may be and is usually asked whence

promise flows, whether from the mere good pleasure of

this
the divine will, so that God would have acted mowise unwor-
thy of himself, had he made no such promise to man: or,
whether God's making the covenant with man in this mammer
was from the divine nature, and from what was suitable to it?
Here indeed, ‘I think, we are to be modest; I shall therefore
propose, what I imagine I know, or may reasonably think or
believe concerning my God, with fear and .. O
my. God, grant that what I shall speak on this point may
be managed with a holy awe, and in a manner becoming thy
majesty! -* .

XI. And first, I lay this down as an acknowledged truth, that God owes nothing to his creature. By no claim, no law is he bound to reward it. For all that the creature is, it owes entirely to God; both because he created it, and also, because he is infinitely exalted above it. But where there is so great a disparity, there is no common standard of right, by which the superior in dignity, can become under an obligation to give any reward, Rom. xi. 35, 36.

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