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and sinful creature could not otherwise make any compensation for the guilt of its sin: but as it is certain, that God in the first threatening, and in the curse of the law, observed a strict impartiality, and appointed not any kind of punishment, but what according to the rule of his justice, sin deserved ; and as the apostle testifies, 'That the righteous judgment of God is, that they who commit sin, are worthy of death :' and we acknowledge that death to be eternal, and that an injury done to God, infinite, in respect of the object, could not be punished in a subject in every respect finite, otherwise than by a punishment infinite in respect of duration; that the continuation or suspension of this punishment, which it is just should be inflicted, does not undermine the divine liberty, we are bold to affirm ; for it is not free to God to act justly or not. But we have shewn before how absurd it is to imagine that the divine omnipotence suffers any degradation; because upon this supposition he must necessarily preserve alive a sinful creature to all eternity, and be unable to annihilate it.
The conclusion of this dissertation. The use of the doctrine herein vindi
cated. God's hatred against sin revealed in various ways. The dreadful effects of sin all over the creation. Enmity between God and every sin. Threatenings and the punishment of sin appointed. The description of sin in the sacred Scriptures. To what great miseries we are liable through sin. The excellency of grace, in pardoning sin through Christ. Gratitude and obedience due from the pardoned. An historical fact concerning Tigranes, king of Armenia. Christ to be loved for his cross above all things. The glory of God's justice revealed by this doctrine ;
and also of his wisdom and holiness. Let us at length put an end to this dispute ; and as all * acknowledging of the truth ought to be after godliness,’a we shall adduce such useful and practical evident conclusions, as flow from this truth which we have thus far set forth and defended, that we may not be thought to have spent our labour in vain.
First, then, Hence we sinners may learn the abominable
a Titus i. 5.
nature of sin. Whatever there is in heaven or in earth that we have seen, or of which we have heard ; whatever declares the glory of the Creator, also exposes this disgraceful fall of the creature. The genuine offspring of sin are death and hell; ‘for sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.' That the heavens cast out their native inhabitants, viz. 'the angels, who kept not their first estate, but who left their own habitations,'b &c. That the earth is filled with darkness, resentments, griefs, malediction, and revenge, is to be attributed entirely to this cankerous ulcer of nature. Hence "the wrath of God is, revealed from heaven.' The earth, lately founded by a most beneficent Creator, is cursed Hence the old world, having but just emerged from the deluge, 'when the heavens and the earth, which now are, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.'d
Yea, forasmuch as in this state of things which we have described, as being permitted by the will of God, the creature was made subject to vanity,' there is none of the creatures, which by its confusion, vanity, and inquietude, does not declare this detestable poison with which it is thoroughly infected, to be exceeding sinful. This is the souree and origin of all evils to sinners themselves; whatever darkness, tumult, vanity, slavery, fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation to consume the adversaries, oppresses, tortures, harasses, vexes, burns, corrupts, or kills; whatever from without, penal, grievous, sad, dire, dreadful, even the last unavoidable calamity itself, is all to be attributed to this prolific parent of miseries. Some one perhaps will wonder what this so great a plague is, which perverts the course of the creation; what crime, what kind of inexpiable wickedness, that it hath procured to creatures, so very highly exalted, and created in the image of God, to share of his glory, after being banished from heaven and paradise, an eternal deprivation of his glory, punishment to which no measure or end is appointed; what hath so incensed the mind of the most bountiful and merciful Father of all, and imbittered his anger, that he should bring eternal sorrows on the work of his own hands, and kindle a fire that should
d 2 Pet, jii. 7. Rom. vii. 20.
b James i. 15. Jude 6.
c Gen. iii. 17.
burn to the lowest bottom, and inflame the foundations of the mountains? I will tell him in one word.
Is it to be wondered at, that God should be disposed severely to punish that which earnestly wishes him not to be God, and strives to accomplish this with all its might? Sin opposes the divine nature and existence; it is enmity against God, and is not an idle enemy; it has even engaged in a mortal war with all the attributes of God. He would not be God if he did not avenge, by the punishment of the guilty, his own injury. He hath often and heavily complained in his word, that by sin he is robbed of his glory and honour, affronted, exposed to calumny and blasphemy; that neither his holiness, nor his justice, nor name, nor right, or dominion, are preserved pure and untainted. For he hath created all things for his own glory, and it belongs to the natural right of God to preserve that glory entire by the subjection of all his creatures, in their proper stations, to himself: and shall we not reckon that sin is entirely destructive of that order which would entirely wrest that right out of his hands, and a thing to be restrained by the severest punishments ? Let sinners then be informed, that every the least transgression abounds so much with hatred against God, is so highly injurious to him; and so far as is in its power, brands him with such folly, impotence, and in-. justice; so directly robs him of all his honour, glory, and power, that if he wills to be God, he can by no means suffer it to escape unpunished.
It was not for nothing that on that day on which he made man a living soul, he threatened him with death, even eternal death; that in giving his law, he thundered forth so many dread execrations against this fatal evil: that he hath threatened it with such punishment, with so great anger, with fury, wrath, tribulation, and anguish: that with a view to vindicate his own glory, and provide for the salvation of sinners, he made his most holy Son, who was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners,' sin and a curse;
ję and subjected him to that last punishment, the death of the cross, including in it the satisfaction due to his violated law. All these things divine justice required as neces
e Heb, xi. 2.7. 2 Cor. v. 21. Gal. iii. 13.
sary to the preservation of his honour, glory, wisdom, and dominion : let every proud complaint of sinners then be hushed; “for we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against them that do evil."
But sin, in respect of the creature, is folly, madness, fury, blindness, hardness, darkness, stupor, giddiness, torpor, turpitude, uncleanness, nastiness, a stain, a spot, an apostacy, degeneracy, a wandering from the mark, a turning aside from the right path, a disease, a languor, destruction, death. In respect of the Creator, it is a disgrace, an affront, blasphemy, enmity, hatred, contempt, rebellion, an injury. In respect of its own nature it is poison, a stench, dung, a vomit, polluted blood, a plague, a pestilence, an abominable thing, a curse; which, by its most pernicious power of metamorphosing, hath transformed angels into devils, light into darkness, life into death, paradise into a desert, a pleasant, fruitful, blessed world into a vain, dark, accursed prison; and the Lord of all, into a servant of servants : which hath rendered man, the glory of God, an enemy to himself, a wolf to others, hateful to God, his own destroyer, the destruction of others, the plague of the world, a monster, and a ruin; attempting to violate the eternal, natural, and indispensable right of God, to cut the thread of the creature's dependance on the Creator, it introduced with it this world of iniquity.
First, then, to address you, who live, or rather are dead, under the guilt, dominion, power, and law of sin: how shall ye escape the damnation of hell ? The judgment of God is, that they who commit those things, to which you are totally given up, and which you cannot refrain from, are worthy of death. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God:'8 since it is a just thing with him, 'to render to every one according to his works :' and who shall deliver you out of his mighty hand? Wherewith can the wrath to come be averted ? Wherewithal can you make atonement to so great a judge? Sacrifices avail nothing; hence those words in the prophet, which express not so much the language of inquiry, as of confusion and astonishment: Wherewithal shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the Most High God ? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old ? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil ? Shall I give my first-born for my transgressions, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul ? Would you attempt an obedience, arduous and expensive beyond all credibility? By such dreadful propitiations, by such dire and accursed sacrifices, at the thought of which human nature shudders, would you appease the offended Deity? You are not the first whom a vain superstition and ignorance of the justice of God hath forced to turn away their ears from the sighs and cries of tender infants, breathing out their very vitals, your own blood, in vain. These furies, which now by starts, agitate us within, will, by their vain attempts against the snares of death, torment us to all eternity : for God, the judge of all, will not accept of sacrifice, or offering, or burnt-offerings for sin; with these he is not at all delighted; for the redemption of the soul is precious, and ceaseth for ever. ob God cannot so lightly esteem or disregard his holiness, justice, and glory, to which your sins have done so great an injury, that he should renounce them all for the sake of hostile conspirators; unless there should be some other remedy quickly provided for us ; unless the judge himself shall provide a lamb for a burnt-offering ; unless the gates of a city of refuge shall be quickly opened to you, exclaiming and trembling at the avenging curse of the law, unless you can find access to the horns of the altar. If God be to remain blessed for ever, you must doubtless perish for ever. If then, you have the least concern or anxiety for your eternal state, hasten, 'while it is called to-day, to lay hold on the hope that is set before you.' Give yourselves up entirely to him; receive him whom God hath set forth as a propitiation, through faith in his blood; that he might declare his righteousness. But what, and how bitter a sense of sin, how deep a humiliation, contrition, and dejection of heart and spirit, what self-hatred, condemnation, and contempt, what great self-indignation and revenge ; what esteem, what faith in the necessity, excellence, and dignity of the righteousness and satisfaction of Christ, especially if God hath graciously condescended to bestow his Holy Spirit, to convince men's hearts of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment (without whose effectual aid and
i Rom. ii. 2.
& Heb. X. 31.