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curse.

ly under the notion, they are, or shall be delivered from its curse, are as blind to its real beauty, as the most stupid sinner in the world. It is just as if a man should pretend to love a tyrant, merely because he is dead. And although they may be ravished to think Christ died for them, yet the real purport of his death never once came into their view. And had the law in reality been no otherwise than it appears to them, Christ never had died to redeem any man from its

For had in not been good and glorious, antecedent to his interposition, he never would have interposed. For he did not die, because the law was bad, to rescue us from its unrighteous curse, and pacify our angry minds: but he died because it was good, to do it honour, and answer its demands in our stead, to the end that God, consistently with his honour, might by his holy spirit, take the vail from our hearts, and bring us to see the glory of his law, and heartily repent of all our hard thoughts of God and of his government, and in this way be forgiven simply on Christ's account, and through faith in his blood. And this is that repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, which Saint Paul preached to the world.

He who never viewed the divine law as glorious and worthy to be magnified and made honourable, never once understood the design of Christ's mediation, or the purport of his death, or the nature of his righteousness and atonement, or saw the glory of the Gospel, or indeed truly knows any thing about the way of salvation through his blood ; as will be proved in the sequel.

Objec. “ To view the law 'as glorious, antecedent to a consideration of the grace of the Gospel, implies, that it appears a glorious thing in God to punish sin according to its desert, with application to myself; but this is inconsistent with that principle of self-preservation originally implanted in human nature when innocent: and so in its own nature is impossible ; and therefore, cannot be a duty. And therefore, to be blind to the beauty of the divine law, thus viewed, cannot be of a criminal nature.-Nor can I be obliged to look upon the law as glorious, only in consequence of the grace of the Gospel.”

Ans. 1. This objection, if there be any weight in it, is sub

to any

versive of all religion, natural and revealed, in heaven, and on earth. For a disposition to punish sin according to its desert, is an essential part of that character of God which is exhibited in law and Gospel, and in the whole of the divine conduct, from the expulsion of the sinning angels out of heaven, down to the last sentence which will be pronounced on the wicked at the day of judgment. And if, with application to myself, this character does not appear glorious, for the very same reason it cannot appear glorious to me, with application

other being, if my heart is as it ought to be. For I ought to love my neighbour as myself. And my neighbour's happiness is worth as much as my own, and his eternal misery as dreadful a thing as mine would be. Therefore, if it is inconsistent with that love I owe to myself, to view the divine law as glorious, antecedent to a consideration of the grace of the Gospel, it is also inconsistent with that love I owe to my neighbour. The moment therefore the sinning angels were doomed to eternal misery, it behooved all the angelic world, on this hypothesis, to revolt. Nor could any thing ever reconcile them to the deity, but his delivering satan and his associates from the curse. And the moment God told Adam he should die if he sinned, it behooved him to look upon

God as an hateful Being, for making such an unmerciful law. And had he been of the same temper we are naturally of, it would have appeared to him impossible to love that character of the deity, which was exhibited to his view in this law. And unless God does, after the day of judgment, reverse the final sentence, depart ye cursed into everlasting fire, it will behoove angels and saints, who ought to love their neighbours as themselves, for ever to look upon God as an hateful Being, while they view the damped, their fellow-creatures, tormented by him in the lake of fire and brimstone, for ever and ever. If, therefore, all beings in the intellectual system felt, as the objector appears to do, all would join with him in enmity to the divine character, through heaven, earth, and hell.

To say in this case, “ if I am elected, redeemed, pardoned, and finally made eternally happy, I can love God, although others are damned, who deserve it no more than I do,” is to declare, " that although I hate the character of the deity,

and care not what becomes of my fellow-creatures, yet as I love myself, if I am happy, I am content,” Which is really to declare myself destitute of all godliness and humanity, and under the entire government of self-love.-But,

2. The objection is founded on an hypothesis which is contrary to plain fact, viz. that it is inconsistent with that love which created intelligences owe to themselves, to view it as a glorious thing in God to punish sin according to its desert, For, ist. It in fact appeared a glorious thing in God to pupish sin according to its desert, to the angels that stood, that very moment satan was driven out of heaven down into an eternal heil, and that with application to themselves. For there was not one of them but was ready to say from the bottom of his heart, “It is a glorious act in God to punish those rebels as he has done.” And it would have been as glorious an act in God to have punished me in like sort, had I joined in their rebellion. 2d. It in fact appeared to Adam, before the grace of the Gospel was revealed, that it would be a glorious thing in God to punish him according to law, if he should sin. For otherwise the character of God exhibited to his view in the law he was under, had not appeared glorious in his eyes. 3d. It will, in fact, appear at the day of judgment, a glorious thing in God to punish the wicked according to their desert, to all holy beings, and that in perfect consistence with the highest exercises of the purest benevolence. Besides,

3. If it is not a glorious thing in God to punish sin according to its desert, there is no glory in the cross of Christ, in which sin was punished according to its desert, in the sinner's representative, the Son of God incarnate. Nay,

4. If the law does not appear glorious, antecedent to a consideration of the grace of the Gospel, the grace of the Gospel cannot be seen. For the relief granted to us in the Gospel is of grace, of mere pure grace, simply on this ground, that the divine law is holy, just, and good, a glorious law in itself. For had it not been such, God had been obliged in justice to have granted us some relief. Besides, 5. Let a man, blind to the glory of the law, be ever so

sured in his own mind, that he is delivered from the

curse, although it may allay his heart-risings, because he is safe himself, and because he cares little what becomes of others, yet it has in its own nature not the least tendency to reconcile him to the divine law, or to the divine character therein exhibited. If God's pardoning my sins were the grounds of the law's loveliness, then a belief of pardon might convince me of the loveliness of the law. But the law is as lovely if I am punished, as if I am pardoned; for it is what it is. And granting pardon cannot render a bad law good; belief of pardon, therefore, only pacifies the angry mind of a guilty sinner, but has no tendency to convince him that the Jaw is in itself good; witness the Pharisees in our Saviour's day, who, notwithstanding their assurance of heaven, were most inveterate enemies to the divine character exhibited in the law, which character was exemplified in the life of Christ. They have both seen and hated both me and my Father, John xv. 24. Witness, also, all open professed Antinomians, of the devoutest sort, who profess the assurance of the love of God, and at the same time appear the most avowed enemies to the divine law. Nay, an assurance of pardon in this case always confirms the native enmity of the heart to the divine law, as is plain froin this. Let one of these people be convinced they are in an unpardoned state, and be awakened to some sense of the dreadfulness of eternal damnation; and their disposition to murmur and blaspheme, will be great in proportion to the greatness of their former confidence. Thus the Israelites, who after the giving of the law, setting up the tabernacle, and approaching to the borders of the promised land, had their confidence of arriving there raised to its greatest height, now were prepared on their disappointment, when the spies returned, to feel worse toward God than ever they had done before. Besides,

6. If, instead of its being owing to the badness of our hearts, it is, in the nature of things, impossible that the law should appear glorious, and the divine character therein exhibited, antecedent to a consideration of the grace of the Gospel, then contrary to the express words of the apostle, the Gentiles, who never heard of the Gospel, are not without excuse, in their want of conformity to the divne law, in

their ungodliness, in their not glorifying God as God. Rom, i. 18. 21. For they have a very good plea to make for themselves; an excuse that will fully justify them. For, as the objector rightly supposes, that kind of impossbility, which is owing to nothing bad in us, takes away all blame. Therefore, every mouth is not stopped, neither doth the rehole world stand guilty before God, as to this particular. And thereupon St. Paul's Gospel, which is built on this foundation, is overthrown, if this objection is allowed to be of weight. And what is here said of the Gentiles, may be equally said of every impenitent sinner, who as yet knows not that he shall be ever the better for the grace of the Gospel, in the world to come. According to the objection, it is impossible, and therefore it is not the duty of such to love God; and their not loving him is no crime, and so Christ did not die to make atonement in this case, nor are we to repent, or to ask God to forgive us. All this will follow, if it be no crime for a sinner not to love God and his law, while as yet he knows not but that he shall perish for ever. And,

y To avoid these consequences, a late author, who affirms that the divine law requires what is “utterly impossible ;” yea, what implies “love to our own eter destruction,” and so is “ inconsistent with our duty, contrary to our original constitution, and to the law of God :" yet, at the same time maintains, that this very law is “ holy, just, and good," binding on all mankind. By holy, just, and good, he seems to mean precisely the same thing that other people do by unholy, un. just, and cruel ; and accordingly he affirms, that “no loveliness conceivable," can be discerned in that charaeter of the Deity, which is exhibited in his law, and that it is “utterly impossible” to love it. However, he also affirms, that all mankind " ought to love it, and are self-condemned if they do not.” And that, although it is not owing to the badness in our hearts that we do not; yea, al. though it is in its own nature “utterly impossible, inconsistent with our duty of self-preservation, and love to ourselves," and so, in its own nature, “contrary to our original constitution, and to the law of God.” A remarkable scheme of re. ligion this ! Query. Can there be any sin, or can we be self-condemned, in not loving a character which has no loveliness in it? Can that law be holy, just, and good, which requires us, on pain of eternal damnation, to do that which is in it. self sinful, “ contrary to the law of God ?” Yea, rather, is not that a wicked law, which requires us to do a wicked thing, to do what is contrary to the law of God? Is not that a tyrannical law, which requires us to do that which is impossible, not through the badness of our hearts, but " utterly impossible," let our hearts be ever so good," contrary to the original constitution of reasonable creatures !"Would not the HOLY ONE of Israel have been obliged, in honour to himself, to have laid aside such an unreasonable, sinful, wicked, tyrannical law, had there

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