Page images
PDF
EPUB

in us, would be a sin. For sin is a transgression of the law. But Mr. M. says, that it is 'contrary to the law of God for us to love that character of God which is exhibited in the moral law.' p. 41, 42. Thus men are taught to trust in the righteousness of Christ for justification in the sight of God, while they allow themselves to hate that righteousness of Christ, and to believe it would be a sinful thing in them to love what he loved, and to be holy as he was holy, and righteous as he was righteous. But, if we think it lawful to hate that character of God which is exhibited in the divine law; then we think ourselves innocent in hating of it. And so our real dependance for acceptance with God in this case, is not on Christ's righteousness, but on our own innocence.

By the law given to Adam it appears, 1. That God was disposed to punish sin. 2. That in his view, it became him as a moral governor of the world, to punish sin. 3. That it was his fixed determination that sin should not go unpunished. And by the cross of Christ, it appears in a still clearer light, 1. That God is disposed to punish sin. 2. That in his view, it becomes him as moral governor of the world, to punish sin. 3. That it is his fixed determination that sin shall not go unpunished.-But a determination, in all instances, to punish sin in the criminal, and never to accept a surety to die in his room, is not, and never was, any part of God's revealed character. However, if God's disposition to punish sin is not an amiable disposition, it never was and never will be an object of love, whether exhibited in the law, or in the cross of Christ. But if it is a beauty in the divine character, it always was, and always will be, an object of love, whether exhibited in the law, or in the cross of Christ. To say, that the holiness and justice of the divine nature are glorious, when the surety is the sufferer ; but odious, when the criminal himself is pupished, is the grossest absurdity, and the most barefaced hypocrisy.

Arg. 4. The regenerating, sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit, are necessary in order to that reconciliation to God, to which the Gospel calls us, as is evident from Joha iij. 3-6. But the regenerating, sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit are not necessary in order to our loving a charac

41

VOL. III.

ter, which, while unregenerate, we are not at enmity against. For, 1. There is no need of the regenerating influences of the Spirit, in order to all that preparatory work, which is before regeneration; as all grant. 2. After this preparatory work is completely finished, according to Mr. M. the unregenerate sinner is capable of receiving the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ :' while unregenerate, be means; for he adds - by which his soul will be regenerated.' p. il. Thus the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ is actually seen, according to Mr. M. by the unregenerate sinner, while unregenerate. And therefore there is, according to him, no need of the regenerating, sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit to bring the sioner thus far. Nay, in fact, the sinner comes thus far while unregenerate. And, 4. being brought thus far, the sinner now needs no new principle of grace, as he says, p. 47, 48. For indeed it is natural for all mankind to love that which

appears glorious and amiable in their eyes. Nor is any assistance needed in this, according to Mr. M.; no, not so much as external means; it will have this effect without the necessity of an exhortation. p. 52. Just as it was natural for Jacob to love Rachel, as soon as he saw her, 'without the need of an exhortation. And much less did he need any supernatural assistance of the Spirit of God in the affair. Yea, according to Mr. M. the reconciliation will be perfect on the first discovery, so that an exhortation to be reconciled to God will never more be needed. Thus it is evident, that on Mr. M.'s scheme, the regenerating, sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit, are entirely needless in order to a sinner's loving that character of God, against which, Adam was no inore at enmity after his fall, than he was before he fell, which Mr. M. supposes is exhibited in the Gospel. And therefore, 3. Regeneration in his sense of it, may be wrought by light,' without any sanctifying influences of the Spirit at all. For as God's supposed new character may appear glorious and amiable to one, who is at enmity against God's old character; so this new character may for the same reason be loved by one, who is at enmity against his old cbaracter. That is, by the carnal mind. For this New God teaches his votaries,

that, it is contrary to the character of God, and contrary to the character of men; contrary to the law and to the Gospel ; contrary to nature and to grace,' to love that character of God which is exhibited in the divine law, holy, just, and good, as it is, against which the carnal mind is at enmity. And this doctrine is so perfectly agreeable to a carnal heart, that if we may have the favour and love of the Almighty on this plan, Mr. M. might well say, p. 43. • That there is nothing in our fallen circumstances to prevent our returning to the love of God,' and that without any new principle of grace.

Arg. 5. All the holy inhabitants of heaven love that character of Gud, which is exhibited in his holy law, as it is set forth in the clearest and strongest point of light, in the eternal misery of the damned. For they all join to cry, Hallelujah, while their smoke ascendeth for ever and ever. Rev. xix. 1-6. But if we are not by the Gospel brought to a reconciliation to the same character, we cannot join in the worship of heaven, nor with any comfort live among them, 2 Cor. vi. 14, 15. But if Mr. M.'s scheme is true,

Arg. 6. The breach between God and the sinner may be made up, and a perfect reconciliation take place, without the sinner's ever repenting of that enmity against God which is in his heart as a fallen creature. Yea, it is lawful for the sinner to continue in that enmity. Yea, it is his duty. For Mr. M.

says, it is 'contrary to the law of God' to love that character of the Deity, which is exhibited in the moral law. p. 40, 41, 42. And therefore, when Christ came to call sinners to repentance, he had no intention that they should repent of their enmity against his Father's character exhibited in that holy law, which he loved and obeyed in his life, and honoured in his death; but was free and heartily willing they should go on in their enmity to it to all eternity. For Mr. M. says, (p. 43.) “The love of God which the Gospel teacheth,' is not love to the divine character exhibited in the law, but love of that divine character which is exhibited to us in a Mediator, and no other. But if God the Father loves that character of himself which is exhibited in his holy law, and if God the Son loves that character, and if all the holy inhabitants of heaven are like God and his Son, and love that character too,

then converts, on Mr. M.'s scheme, when they arrive to beaven, if they ever should arrive there, could not join with the church above, or make that profession of love to God, which all the rest of the inhabitants do there ; but would need an external graceless covenant in that world, in order to join in full communion there, as much as they do in this world bere below, in order to join in full communion here.

But it is time now to attend to Mr. M.'s reasoning; and this is the sum, and this is the whole force of his argument, on the strength of which his whole scheme stands, and which he has repeated over and over again.

Objection. “To love that character of God which is exhibited in his law, is the same thing as to love our own misery. But to love our own inisery is to take pleasure in pain; which is a contradiction, and in its own nature impossible. Contrary to the character of God, and to the character of men ; contrary to the law and to the Gospel ; contrary to nature and to grace.” p. 10. 12. 41, 42, 43.

Answer, 1. Our author says,(p. 11.) “That the primary reason why God is to be loved, is the transcendent excellency of the divine perfections'.

But the transcendent excellency of the divine perfections is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. And therefore, that character of God which is exhibited in the law, is as 'transcendantly excellent since, as it was before the fall. And therefore this reason of love remains in FULL FORCE to us in our guilty state.

f'If all the ground and reason there is for fallen man to exercise dependence on God,' i. e. for eternal life, . ariseth from the covenant of grace, as Mr. M. says, (p. 12.) yet all the ground and reason that mankind have to love God does not arise from the covenant of grace.' For God was in himself infinitely worthy of our love, antecedent to a consideration of the gift of Christ, otherwise the gift of Christ to answer the demands of the law, in our room, had been needless; for there was no need our surety should ever pay a debt for us which we ourselves never owed. And it was as repugnant to the law, and as much

presumption,' to expeet eternal life before the fall, as since, without perfect abedience, on the foot of law. This kind of dependence was never required by the law of Adam, or of any other man. It was no more his duty before the fall than it was afterwards.

Ans. 2. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, and all the holy inhabitants of heaven, love that character of God which is exhibited in his law; and yet they do not love misery itself, or take any pleasure in the pains of the damned, considered merely as pain. If God did take pleasure in the pains of the damned, considered merely as pain ; if this were the character which he exhibits of himself in his Jaw; then to love this character would be the same thing as to love misery. So that this is implicitly, and by fair construction, imputed to the Father of the universe, when it is said, that' to love that character of God which is exbibited in the divine law, is the same thing as to love our own misery.' But to say, that God and the holy inhabitants of heaven take pleasure in the pains of the damned, considered merely as pain, is to impute to them a spirit of disinterested malice.

But to justify our enmity against God by such an imputation, is exceeding impious. But on the other hand, if God may love that character of himself which is exhibited in his law, and yet not love misery itself; then, were we regenerate, were we made partakers of the divine nature, we might be like God; and be affected as the holy inhabitants of heaven are; and so might love that character of God which is exhibited in the divine law, and not love misery in ourselves, or in any other beings.

A wise and good father, when he inflicts just punishment on a baughty, stubborn 'child, for some heinous crime, approves and loves his own conduct, and the character which he exhibits therein; but yet he does not love his child's misery, itself, or take pleasure in his pain, as such, or desire his child to take pleasure in it. And if the proud, baughty, stubborn, impenitent child should say, "To love a whipping father is the same thing as to love to be whipped; but to love to be whipped is to love misery; but to love misery is a contradiction, and in its own nature impossible, and contrary to the law of God, which requires me to love myself;" every obedient child in the family would be able to see the fallacy of the argument. And love to their father's honour, would make them love him for vindicating his honour in the just punishment of such a son. Nor is there a father on

« PreviousContinue »