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7. 12. Chap. x. 5. Gal. iii. 10. 12. And from the whole tenour of divine revelation we learn, that it requires us to love God with all our heart, and yield a perfect and persevering obedience to his will, on pain of eternal death.
That this law, with respect to mankind in their present state, is holy, just, and good, antecedent to a consideration of the gift of Christ and the work of redemption by him, is certain from two indisputable facts.
First Fact. That all mankind, in their natural state, are by God, the judge of all the earth, considered as under it, and held bound by it. That this is the case, is plain. For, we cannot be guilty before God for the breach of a law, which in his sigbt we are not under. But for the breach of this law, the whole world stand guilty before God: therefore the whole world, in the sight of God, are under the law. Rom iii. 19. No man can be entitled to life by obeying a law which he is not under. But whosoever obeys this law is expressly entitled to life ; therefore every man is under it. Rom. x. 5. No man is liable in the sight of God to the curse or penalty of a law which he is not beld bound by. But God declares, that every Christless sinner is actually under the curse of the law
i therefore every Christless sinner is beld bound by it. Gal. iii. 10. John iji. 18. 36. Thus the fact is plain, that all mankind, in their natural state, are, by God the Judge of all the earth, considered as under it, and held bound by it. But from the absolute perfection of the divine nature, we may be certain that the Judge of all the earth cannot but do right. It is inconsistent with the holiness, justice, and goodness of his nature, and therefore morally impossible he should hold his creatures bound by a law, unless it were holy, just, and good. This law is therefore holy, just, and good.
Second FACT. That God has given his own Son, to be made a curse to redeem us from the curse of this law. But it had been inconsistent with every one of the divine perfections, to have given his Son to be made a curse, to redeem us from the curse of a law, which in justice we could not have been held bound by, if Christ had never died.
Whoever will think of this, and thoroughly weigh it in his mind, will feel himself obliged, either to acknowledge
the law to be holy, just, and good, antecedent to a consideration of the gift of Christ'; or to give up law and Gospel both together. For God's giving his Son to die, to redeem us from the curse of the law, is the greatest proof of its goodoess, which could possibly have been given by the Father or Son. The fact must be denied, therefore, or the consequence must be granted. We must say, that Christ was not made a curse to redeem us from the curse of the law, or we must grant the law was good; for, to say that God the Father gave his Son, to be made a curse, to redeem us from the curse of a bad law, is worse than infidelity; nay, worse than downright atheism. For, to believe that God is an Almighty lyrant, that would put his creatures under an unrighteous law, and then appoint his Son to bear its curse in their room, is worse than to believe there is no God at all. The goodness of the divine law must be granted, therefore, or we shall find no where to stop on this side infidelity. But I mean, at present, to reason only
. with those who grant the Scriptures to be the word of God. And to these, I presume, the argument must be conclusive. But,
1. If the divine law is holy, just, and good, antecedent to a consideration of the gift of Christ, and work of redemption by him ; then the divine law is a glorious and amiable law, antecedent to a consideration of the gift of Christ, and work of redemption by him. For, if holiness, justice, and gooduess, are glorious and amiable attributes, as they are in God, the original ; then they are glorious and amiable attributes, as they are in the divine law, which is his image, and a transcript of his nature. If the original is lovely, the image is lovely also. To say otherwise, plainly implies a contradiction. Besides, if holiness, justice, and goodness, are not glorious and amiable properties, then God himself is not a glorious and amiable being. And if God is not a glorious and amiable being, he ought not to be viewed and loved as such. Which to say, is to overthrow natural and revealed religion both at once. There is no consistent medium, therefore, between renouncing all religion, and granting tbe divine law to be glorious and amiable, antecedent to a consideration of the gift of Christ, and work of redemption by him.-But,
2. If the divine law is a holy, just, good, and glorious law, antecedent to a consideration of the gift of Christ; then it must of necessity appear such, to every one whose eyes are opened, to see it as it is : that is, to every one that is not spiritually blind. For if it is in fact a glorious law, in itself, it must appear so to every one who sees it as it is ; and it must begin to appear so as soon as it begins to be seen as it is. And he that does not so much as begin to see the divine law as it is, is evidently altogether spiritually blind. God has not as yet begun to open his eyes, but the vail is still all over his heart; and enmity to God and his law has full posses, sion of his soul
To say, “ That it is impossible the law should appear glorious to me, before I believe myself delivered from its curse,” is either to say, that the law, antecedent to a consideration of the gift of Christ, was not a glorious law, or else, that a man whose eyes are opened, cannot possibly see it to be what it is. But if it was not a glorious law, antecedent to a consideration of the gift of Christ, it is certain Christ never would have been given to redeem us from its curse. And if men do not see it to be what it is, it is certain they are blind; for this is the very thing that is meant by blindness in this case.
The truth is, those who view the law as being glorious, on
q These four points must be insisted on : 1st. That the divine law is holy, just, good, and glorious, antecedent to a consideration of the gift of Christ. 2d. That it is seen to be such by every enlightened soul. 3d. That in this view Christ crucified, is seen to be the wisdom of God. 4th. That without this view, the wisdom of God in the death of his Son cannot be seen. But whether the glory of the law is seen, in order of time, before the glory of the atonement, need not be insisted on. If things are seen in their true nature, and in their true arrangement, it matters not whether they come into view gradually or instantaneously. They may, in some instances, come into view gradually, and very distinctly; and in some, as it were, instantaneously, and less distinctly. Some may have a greater degree of spiritual light at first, and others a less degree. Some may have a distinct remembrance of their views and exercises, and others not. It matters not as to these things; if men do but know, and love, and obey the truth in sin. cerity, they are Christians. But if the truth is hated and opposed, and errors substituted in its room ; if the divine law be denied to be glorious ; if it fills me with hatred and heart-risings; if my heart-risings are allayed merely in a belief that I am delivered from the curse ; if this belief is the only ground of my love and joy, and of all my religion, I am not a Christian ; I am ao Antinomian ; an enemy to the divine law, and to the cross of Christ. VOL. II.
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 map from its curse. 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 buman 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
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 to any 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 bad 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 damned, 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,