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Title: A Body of Divinity, Vol. 2 of 4
Author: Ridgley, Thomas
Language: English
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                           A Body of Divinity



                          A BODY OF DIVINITY:

   WHEREIN THE DOCTRINES OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION ARE EXPLAINED AND
                               DEFENDED.

    BEING THE SUBSTANCE OF SEVERAL LECTURES ON THE ASSEMBLY’S LARGER
                               CATECHISM.

                        BY THOMAS RIDGLEY, D. D.

                   WITH NOTES, ORIGINAL AND SELECTED,
                       BY JAMES P. WILSON, D. D.

                            IN FOUR VOLUMES.

                               _VOL. II._

            FIRST AMERICAN, FROM THE THIRD EUROPEAN EDITION.

                             PHILADELPHIA:

  PRINTED BY AND FOR WILLIAM. W. WOODWARD, CORNER OF CHESNUT AND SOUTH
                            SECOND STREETS.

                                 1815.



                   THE CONTENTS OF THE SECOND VOLUME.


QUEST. XIV, XV. Of the work of Creation.


_CREATION, the word explained_ _Page_ 5

    _It was not from eternity_ 7

    _This proved from the invention of things_ 13

    _By the power and for the glory of God_ 14

    _Performed in six days_ 16

        _Each day’s work_ 19

    _Of instantaneous production_ 17

_The condition and season of the year in which things were created_ 24

_Antiquity of nations vainly boasted of_ 10


QUEST. XVI. Of Angels.


_Of their existence_ 26

    _Nature and properties_ 28

    _Work and employment_ 30

    _Worship. Harmony therein, but no Hierarchy_ 31

_How they impart their_ Ideas _to one another_ 33


QUEST. XVII. Of the creation of Man.


_Man was created male and female_ 34

        _Excellency of his make_ 40

        _Origin of the soul_, in a note 41

        _Of God’s image in man_ 44

    _No men before_ Adam 37


QUEST. XVIII. Of Providence.


_Providence governs all creatures_ 47

        _And all their actions_ _ibid_

    _His concern for man_ 51

    _How conversant about evil actions_ 52

    _Sin over-ruled for God’s glory, and his people’s good_ 53

    _Other things over-ruled by providence_ 59

    _Objections against providence answered_ 60

    _Unequal distributions of providence vindicated_ 61


QUEST. XIX. Of God’s providence towards the angels.


_How it was conversant about the fall of apostate angels_ 63

    _These fell all at once_ 64

_Some angels confirmed in holiness and happiness_ 66

    _Ministry of angels_ 68


QUEST. XX. Of God’s providence towards man in innocency.


_Of Paradise_ 70

    _Man’s secular employment and food therein_ 72

    _His dominion over the creatures_ 74

    _His spiritual concerns were under the direction of providence_ 75

    _Sabbath instituted and the covenant established_ 76

    _Representation_, in a note 77

_Difference between a law and a covenant_ 78

Adam _was under a covenant_ 82

        _Objections answered_ 83

    _Conditions of that covenant_ 84

        _Tree of life a seal of it_ 86

    _Of the tree of knowledge_ 90


QUEST. XXI. Of the fall of man.


_Our first parents were endued with freedom of will_ 93

        _Were left thereunto_ 94

    _How they were tempted_ 96

        _Satan’s subtilty in the temptation_ 99

    _Eve represented by Adam_, in a note 103

    _Aggravations of their sin_ 105

        _Its immediate consequences_ 104


QUEST. XXII. All mankind fell in _Adam_.


Adam _a federal head_ 109

        _All fell in him, except Christ_ 112

    _His sin imputed to his posterity_ 113

    _Penal evils which followed_ 111

_Appointment of his headship vindicated_ 114


QUEST. XXIII, XXIV, XXV, XXVI. Of Sin.


_Original sin_ 118

    _Actual transgressions proceed from it_ 120

    _Conveyed by natural generation_ 132

_Original righteousness lost_ 121

    _Man’s nature inclined to sin_ 123

_Propensity to sin not put into our nature by God_ 124

    _Not harmless even in childhood_ 125

_Origin of moral evil_ 127

    _The notion of two first causes exploded_ _ibid_

_Pre-existence of souls a mere fancy_ 126

_Corruption of nature not by the soul’s traduction_ 128

      _Not from imitation_ _ibid_

      _Necessarily ensues on the privation of original righteousness_
    131


QUEST. XXVII. Of man’s misery by the Fall.


_Various opinions about the salvation of infants_ 138

_Punishment of original sin increased by actual_ 141

    _Sinners liable to God’s wrath and curse_ 143

        _Slaves to Satan_ 144

    _Sin exists in the intentions_, in a note 145


QUEST. XXVIII, XXIX. Of the punishment of sin in both worlds.


_Of judicial blindness of mind_ 146

        _Hardness of heart_ 149

         _Sins that lead to it_ 150

        _Difference between the hardness found in believers and
        judicial_ 152

_Of strong delusions_ 147

    _A reprobate sense_ 152

    _Vile affections_ 153

    _Horror of conscience. When judicial_ 154

_Punishment of sin in outward things_ 155

    _In the world to come_ 158

    _This will be perpetual_, in a note 159, 160


QUEST. XXX. Of man’s Recovery.


_God’s love the only moving cause of it_ 162

    _Covenant of grace. Its various periods_ 166

    _Opposed to that of innocency_ 165


QUEST. XXXI. The covenant of grace made with Christ, and, in him, with
the elect.


Covenant, _scriptural sense of the word_ 168

    _Between the Father and Son, explained_ 171

        _And proved_ 173

      _Of redemption distinguished by some from the covenant of grace_
    178

_God’s covenant differs from human_ 170

    _How he covenants with man_ 181

    _How man covenants with him_ 183


QUEST. XXXII. Of the grace manifested in the second covenant.


_Conditions of a covenant, how understood_ 190

    _Faith is a duty_, in a note 193

    _Meritorious performed by Christ_ 192

    _Conditional promises uncertain_ 191

_Interest in Christ, what meant by it_ 189

_Grace glorified, in ordaining, promising, and working faith_ 197

      _Other graces promised and connected with salvation_ 195


QUEST. XXXIII, XXXIV, XXXV. Of the various dispensations of the covenant
of grace.


_Christ revealed of old by promises and prophecies_ 199

_Ceremonial law typified Christ and the gospel_ 201

_Types. Cautions about them_ 203

        _Rules how to judge of them_ 205

    _How the_ Jews _knew their meaning_ 207

_Cocceius’s sentiments about the bondage and darkness of that
dispensation_ 208

_Gospel-dispensation, when it began_ 212

        _How it excels the Legal_ 213


QUEST. XXXVI, XXXVII. Of the Mediator of the covenant of Grace.


_Saints and angels no Mediators_ 218

_Christ the only Mediator_ 217

    _Two distinct natures in Christ, but not two Persons_ 222

    _His human nature was united to his Person_ 220

        _It shall continue so for ever_ 234

        _How formed like ours. How not_ 227

        _It was formed of the Virgin_ 229

    _His body was truly human_ 224

    _His soul distinct from his deity_ 226

    _He was expected by the_ Jews 231

    _Born in the fulness of time_ 233

        _What meant thereby_ 233


QUEST. XXXVIII, XXXIX, XL. Of the necessity of the Mediator’s having two
natures.


_Why he should be God_ 235

_Why man_ 238

_Why both God and man_ 242


QUEST. XLI, XLII. Of the Mediator’s name and offices.


_Why he was called Jesus_ 244

_Why he was called Christ_ 245

_His offices distinguished, but not divided_ 252

    _He was set apart and authorized to execute them_ 248

    _He was fitly qualified for them_ 249


QUEST. XLIII. Of Christ’s prophetical office.


_He reveals the will of God_ 253

    _He was qualified for it_ 254

    _He does it in various ages_ 257

    _To whom and how he does it_ 255


QUEST. XLIV. Of Christ’s priestly office.


_Priesthood of Christ and_ Aaron _compared_ 280

    _Typified by_ Melchisedek 264

        _Various opinions who_ Melchisedek _was_ 265

        _Proved that he was Christ_ (quære tamen) 267

        _Objections answered_ 270

_Satisfaction demanded for sin, of what value and kind_ 275

    _Of Christ was necessary_ 273

    _His active obedience a part of it_ 283

    _Least degree of his sufferings not sufficient for it_ 281

    _No redemption without price_ 286

_Death of Christ a ransom_ 290

    _Confirmation of his doctrine not its principal end_ 293

_Christ died in our stead_ 290

        _Objections answered_ _ibid_

    _Modern opinions on the atonement_, in a note, 276 _to_ 280, _and_
    292 _to_ 297.

_He offered himself_

        _by the Spirit_ 297

        _without spot to God_ 297

    _Not for all men_ 301 & 276

        _but for his sheep and friends_ 316

        _and for his church_ 318 _Dr. Magee’s Discourses_, in a note
        298-317

    _This evidenced_

        _by his love to it_ 318

        _his propriety in it_ 322

        _and saving it_ _ibid_

        _Objections answered_ 319

_Christ purchased grace and glory_ 328

_Universal redemption_,

        _its consequences_ 326

    _Arguments for it considered_ 327

    _Texts urged for it explained_ 343

    _How the word_ All, &c. _is to be explained_ 341

_Special Redemption,_

        _consistent with the covenant of grace_ 329

        _and with preaching the gospel_ 331

    _It advances grace more than general does_ 337

    _It leads not to despair_ 331

    _Whether it be contrary to scripture_ 338

_Christ intercedes not for all_ 324

_Divine expostulations explained_ 333

_How all should repent and believe, though Christ died not for all_ 335

    _Sacrifice of Christ sufficient for all_, in a note 349


QUEST. XLV. Of Christ’s Kingly office.


_As respecting his subjects_

    _What they were, before subdued_ 353

    _How brought into subjection_ 354

    _How their subjection expressed at first_ 357

    _Their behaviour and conflicts_ 358

    _How Christ deals with them_ 361

_As respecting his enemies_ 362

    _He governed the church before and since his incarnation_ 364

_This office executed by him in glory_ 365


Of the MILLENNIUM.


_Various opinions about it_ 366

    _Some have gross_ Ideas _of it_ 370

    _What shall precede or attend it_ 368

        _Gospel shall then be more spread_ 373

_How this doctrine to be treated_ 367

_In what respects it is to be allowed_ 368

_Some prophecies of the call of the_ Jews _not yet fulfilled_ 376

_Why Christ shall not reign visibly in his human nature_ 379

_Temple-service not to be revived_ 381

      _Gospel-ordinances shall be continued_ 382

_First resurrection; how understood by some_ 383

    _Its literal sense debated_ 384

_General conflagration_ 387

    _New heavens and new earth_ 388

_Resurrection of the church sometimes taken mystically_ 389

_1000 years how understood by some_ 391

    _These not yet begun_ _ibid_

_Mediatorial kingdom of Christ eternal_ 392

1 Cor. xv. ver. 24, 25, 28. _explained_ 393


QUEST. XLVI, XLVII, XLVIII. Of Christ’s Humiliation.


_This shewn in his birth and infancy_ 398

    _In his parentage_ 399

    _In the place of his birth and abode_ 400

    _In the sinless infirmities of his life_ 422

    _In his being made under the law_ 401

    _In his being exposed to indignities_ 402

_Temptations endured by him_ 404

    _General remarks on them_ 406

        _The time and place thereof_ 405

    _His first temptation_ 410

    _His second temptation_ 412

        _Its matter explained_ 416

    _His third temptation_ 417

        _What to be observed therein_ 419

    _Temptations were mental_, in a note 420


Quest. XLIX, L. Of Christ’s humiliation before and after his death.


_Christ betrayed by_ Judas 424

    _Forsaken by his disciples_ 425

    _Denied by_ Peter 426

    _Scorned by the world_ _ibid_

    _Reviled by many_ 428

        _Inferences_ _ibid_

    _Prosecuted by the_ Jews 429

    _Condemned by_ Pilate _ibid_

    _Tormented by his persecutors_ 431

    _Bore the wrath of God_ _ibid_

_Death of the cross cruel and painful_ 433

    _Shameful, servile, and cursed_ 434

_Christ buried with respect by his friends_ 437

    _Was under the power of death till the third day_ 438

      _Of his descent into hell_ 440

        _How the Papists understand it_ 441

        1 Pet. iii. 18. _explained_, in a note 442


QUEST. LI, LII. Of Christ’s Resurrection and Exaltation.


_Resurrection of Christ proved_ 444

    _By credible witnesses_ 448

          _They were men of integrity_ 449

    _By the conduct of his enemies_ 450

    _By miracles_ 451

_Properties of his risen body_ 452

_Christ raised the third day_ 453

        _Reasons of it_ 454

    _Was not three whole days and nights in the grave_ 455

Socinians’ _account of Christ’s resurrection_ 457

_Christ’s own and his peoples’ concern in his resurrection_ 458


QUEST. LIII, LIV. Of Christ’s Ascension.


_It was real and visible_ 464

    _Its necessity and design_ 468

_Its distance from the time of his resurrection_ 461

    _How this interval was employed_ 463

    _Matter of his conversation with his disciples_ 464

_Remarks on what preceded it_ 460

    _He ascended from mount_ Olivet 467

_Christ’s sitting at the right hand of God_ 471


QUEST. LV. Of Christ’s Intercession.


_Necessity of it_ 473

    _His fitness for it_ 474

_Manner of it_ 477

    _How it differs from our prayers_ 476

_What procured by it_ 479

_How to be improved_ _ibid_


QUEST. LVI. Of Christ’s coming to judge the world.


_The time of his appearance_ 481

_The glory that shall attend it_ 482


QUEST. LVII, LVIII, LIX. Of the benefits of redemption, and the
application thereof.


_Benefits procured by Christ_ 486

    _These applied by the Holy Ghost_ 487

        _To all for whom they were purchased_ (_vide_ 349) 488


QUEST. LX. Of the disadvantages of those who never hear the gospel.


_State of the Heathen considered_ 491

    _No salvation without the gospel_—tamen quære 492

        _Nor without faith in Christ_—tamen quære _ibid_

_Deists; falseness of their hope set forth_ 494

    _False grounds of hope in others_ 496

_Salvation in none but Christ_ 498

        _This proved_ 499

        _Objections answered_ 502

_Christ the Saviour only of his Body the church_ 508


QUEST. LXI, LXII, LXIII, LXIV. Of the Church, visible and invisible.


Church, _the word how used_, (515 in a note) 510

    _Places of worship so termed_ 511

        _Their first erection_ 512

_Its distinction into visible and invisible_ 516

_Invisible church described_ 519

    _This farther explained and defended_ 520

_Visible church described_ 521

    _In what respects it is one_ 522

    _In what respects it is not one_ _ibid_

    _Its concern for the children of its members_ 526

Jewish _church, its establishment_ ibid

      _Its government_ 527

_How they promoted religion in their synagogues_ 529

    _Their_ Proseuchæ, _or places appointed for prayer_ 530

_A particular_ gospel-church _described_ 536

    _Its matter_ 539

    _Its form or bond of union_ 540

    _Its subjection to Christ to be professed_ 542

        _How this to be made visible_ 543

    _Its power of admission_ 541

        _The reformed churches differ about this_ _ibid_

        _Terms of communion fixed by Christ_ _ibid_

    _Its power of exclusion_ 544

        _Causes of exclusion_ 545

        _The way of proceeding therein_ 547

        _With what temper this should be done_ 549

        _What meant by being delivered to Satan_ 550

            _and for what end_ 551

_The first preaching and success of the gospel_ 532

_Conduct of the Apostles in planting gospel-churches_ 534
_Church-communion proved_

    _from the law of nature_ 538

    _from scripture_ _ibid_

_Government of churches by their officers_ 552

Αποστολος, Επισκοπος, Διακονος, in a note, _ibid_

_The office of a Pastor, Bishop, or Elder_ 555

    _Bishops and Elders the same_ 556

    _Jerom’s account of the increase of the power of Bishops_, in a note
    558

    _Pastors chosen by the church_ 561

Χειροτονεω, in a note 563

        _How to be set apart_ _ibid_

        _How their office to be discharged_ 565

        _Whether a Teacher be a distinct officer_ 566

_Synods, the abuse and advantage of them_ 566

_Parishes, why churches were so called by ancient writers_ 567

_The office of a Deacon_ 570

_Officers of the church_, in a note 571

_Privileges of the visible church_ 572

    _It is under Christ’s special care_ 574

        _Wherein this consists_ 575

    _It is under Christ’s special government_ 576

        _In what respects_ 577

    _It enjoys communion of saints_ _ibid_

    _It has the ordinary means of grace_ 578



                         THE WORK OF CREATION.



                            Quest. XIV., XV.


    QUEST. XIV. _How doth God execute his decrees?_

    ANSW. God executeth his decrees in the works of creation and
    providence, according to his infallible fore-knowledge, and the free
    and immutable counsel of his own will.

    QUEST. XV. _What is the work of creation?_

    ANSW. The work of creation is that, wherein God did, in the
    beginning, by the word of his power, make, of nothing, the world,
    and all things therein, for himself, within the space of six days,
    and all very good.

Having considered God’s eternal purpose, as respecting whatever shall
come to pass, which is generally called an internal, or immanent act of
the divine will, we are now to consider those works which are produced
by him, in pursuance thereof. It is inconsistent with the idea of an
infinitely perfect Being, to suppose, that any of his decrees shall not
take effect, _Hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?_ Num.
xxiii. 19. _His counsel shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure_,
Isa. xlvi. 10. This is a necessary consequence, from the immutability of
his will, as well as from the end which he has designed to attain, to
wit, the advancement of his own glory; and therefore, if he should not
execute his decrees, he would lose that revenue of glory, which he
designed to bring to himself thereby, which it cannot be supposed that
he would do; and accordingly we are to consider his power as exerted, in
order to the accomplishment of his purpose. This is said to have been
done either in the first production of all things, which is called, _The
work of creation_, or in his upholding and governing all things, which
is his _providence_; both which are to be particularly considered. And,

I. We are to speak concerning the work of creation, and so to enquire
what we are to understand by _creation_, and to consider it as a work
peculiar to God.

II. That this work was not performed from eternity, but in the beginning
of time.

III. How he is said to create all things by the word of his power.

IV. The end for which he made them, namely, for himself, or for his own
glory.

V. The time in which he made them. And,

VI. The quality or condition thereof, as all things are said to have
been made very good.

I. As to the meaning of the word _creation_; it is the application
thereof to the things made, or some circumstances attending this action,
that determine the sense of it. The Hebrew and Greek words[1], by which
it is expressed, are sometimes used to signify the natural production of
things: Thus it is said, in Psal. cii. 18. _The people that shall be
created_, speaking of the generation to come, _shall praise the Lord_;
and elsewhere, in Ezek. xxi. 30. says God, _I will judge thee in the
place where thou wast created_, that is, where thou wast born, in the
land of thy nativity. And sometimes it is applied to signify the
dispensations of providence, which, though they are the wonderful
effects of divine power, yet are taken in a sense different from the
first production of all things: thus it is said, in Isa. xlv. 7. _I form
the light, and create darkness_; which metaphorical expressions are
explained in the following words, _I make peace, and create evil_.

And, on the other hand, sometimes God’s creating is expressed by his
_making all things_; which word, in its common acceptation, is taken for
the natural production of things; though, in this instance, it is used
for the production of things which are supernatural: thus it is said, in
John i. 3. _All things were made by him_; and elsewhere, in Psal.
xxxiii. 6. _By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all by
the host of them by the breath of his mouth._ Therefore it is by the
application of these words, to the things produced, that we are more
especially to judge of the sense of them. Accordingly, when God is said
to create, or make the heavens and earth, or to bring things into being,
which before did not exist, this is the most proper sense of the word
creation; and in this sense we take it, in the head we are entering
upon. It is the production of all things out of nothing, by his almighty
word; and this is generally called immediate creation, which was the
first display of divine power, a work with which time began; so we are
to understand those words, _In the beginning God created the heaven and
the earth_, Gen. i. 1. that is, that first matter out of which all
things were formed, which has been neither increased nor diminished ever
since, nor can be, whatever alterations there may be made in things,
without supposing an act of the divine will to annihilate any part
thereof, which we have no ground to do.

Again, it is sometimes taken for God’s bringing things into that form,
in which they are, which is generally called a mediate creation, as in
the account we have of it in the first chapter of Genesis; in which God
is said, out of that matter which he created at first, to create the
heavens, the earth, the sea, and all living creatures that move therein,
after their respective kinds, which no finite wisdom, or power, could
have done. The work was supernatural, and so differs from the natural
production of things by creatures, inasmuch as they can produce nothing,
but out of other things, that have in themselves a tendency, according
to the fixed laws of nature, to be made, that which is designed to be
produced out of them; as when a plant, or a tree, is produced out of a
seed, or when the form, or shape of things is altered by the skill of
men, where there is a tendency in the things themselves, in a natural
way, to answer the end designed by them that made them, in which respect
they are said to make, but not create those things; so that creation is
a work peculiar to God, from which all creatures are excluded.
Accordingly, it is a glory which God often appropriates to himself in
scripture: thus he is called, by way of eminence, _The Creator of the
ends of the earth_, Isa. xl. 28. and he speaks, concerning himself, with
an unparalleled magnificence of expression, _I have made the earth, and
created man upon it; I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens,
and all their host have I commanded_, Isa. xlv. 12. and he is said to
have done this, exclusively of all others: thus he says, _I am the Lord,
that maketh all things, that stretcheth forth the heavens alone, that
spreadeth abroad the earth by myself_, Isa. xliv. 24. And, indeed, it
cannot be otherwise, since it is a work of infinite power, and therefore
too great for any finite being, who can act no otherwise, but in
proportion to the circumscribed limits of its own power; and being, at
best, but a natural agent, it cannot produce any thing supernatural.
From whence it may be inferred, that no creature was an instrument made
use of, by God, in the production of all things; or that infinite power
could not be exerted by a finite medium: but this has been already
considered, under a foregoing answer.

II. We are now to consider that this work of creation was not performed
from eternity, but in the beginning of time. This we assert against some
of the heathen philosophers, who have, in their writings, defended the
eternity of the world[2], being induced hereunto by those low
conceptions, which they had of the power of God, as supposing, that
because all creatures, or natural agents, must have some materials to
work upon, so that as this proposition is true, with respect to them,
that nothing can be made out of nothing, they conclude, that it is also
applicable to God. And this absurd opinion has been imbibed by some, who
have pretended to the Christian name; it was maintained by Hermogenes,
about the middle of the second century, and, with a great deal of spirit
and argument, opposed by Tertullian; and, among other things, that
father observes, that philosophy, in some respects, had paved the way to
heresy[3]; and probably the apostle Paul was apprehensive that it would
do so; or that they, who were bred up in the schools of the
philosophers, would, as it is plain they often did, adapt their notions
in divinity, to those which they had before learned therein, of which
this is a flagrant instance; and therefore he says, _Beware, lest any
man spoil you through philosophy, and vain deceit, after the tradition
of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ_, Col.
ii. 8. and they, who have defended this notion, have been divided in
their sentiments about it. Some suppose, in general, that matter was
eternal, but not brought into that form, in which it now is, till God,
by his almighty power, produced that change in it, and so altered the
form of things. Others suppose, that the world was in a form, not much
unlike to what it now is, from eternity, and that there were eternal
successive ages, and generations of men, and a constant alteration of
things. Some parts of the world, at one time, destroyed by deluges, or
fire, or earthquakes, and other parts at another time; and so there was
a kind of succession of generation and corruption; former worlds lost
and buried in ruins, and all the monuments of their antiquity perished
with them, and new ones arising in their stead. This they assert, as a
blind to their ungrounded opinion, and as an answer to that reasonable
demand which might be made; If the world was eternal, how comes it to
pass that we know nothing of what was done in it, in those ages, which
went before that which we reckon the first beginning of time?

As for the school-men, though they have not any of them given directly
into this notion, which is so notoriously contrary to scripture, yet
some of them have very much confounded and puzzled the minds of men with
their metaphysical subtilties about this matter; as some of them have
pretended to maintain, that, though God did not actually create any
thing before that beginning of time, which is mentioned in scripture,
yet he might, had he pleased, have produced things from eternity[4],
because he had, from eternity, infinite power, and a sovereign will;
therefore this power might have been deduced into act, and so there
might have been an eternal production of things; for to suppose, that
infinite power cannot exert itself, is contrary to the idea of its being
infinite. And to suppose that God was infinitely good, from eternity,
implies, that he might have communicated being to creatures from
eternity, in which his goodness would have exerted itself. And they
farther argue, that it is certain, that God might have created the world
sooner than he did; so that, instead of its having continued in being,
that number of years, which it has done, it might have existed any other
unlimited number of years; or since, by an act of his will, it has
existed so many thousand years, as it appears to have done, from
scripture, it might, had he pleased, have existed any other number of
years, though we suppose it never so large, and consequently that it
might have existed from eternity. But what is this, but to darken truth,
by words without knowledge? or to measure the perfections of God, by the
line or standard of finite things? it is to conceive of the eternity of
God, as though it were successive. Therefore, though we do not deny but
that God could have created the world any number of years that a finite
mind can describe, sooner than he did; yet this would not be to create
it from eternity, since that exceeds all bounds. We do not deny but that
the divine power might have been deduced into an act, or created the
world before he did; yet to say that he could create it from eternity,
is contrary to the nature of things; for it is to suppose, that an
infinite duration might be communicated to a finite being, or that God
might make a creature equal, in duration, with himself; which, as it
contains the greatest absurdity, so the impossibility of the thing does
not, in the least, argue any defect of power in him.

From whence we may infer, the vanity, and bold presumption, of measuring
the power of God by the line of the creature; and the great advantage
which we receive from divine revelation, which sets this matter in a
clear light, by which it appears, that nothing existed before time but
God; this is agreeable to the highest reason, and the divine
perfections. To suppose, that a creature existed from eternity, implies
a contradiction; for to be a creature, is to be produced by the power of
a creator, who is God, and this is inconsistent with its existing from
eternity; for that is to suppose that it had a being before it was
brought into being.

Moreover, since to exist from eternity, is to have an infinite, or
unlimited duration, it will follow from thence, that if the first
matter, out of which all things were formed, was infinite in its
duration, it must have all other perfections; particularly, it must be
self-existent, and have in it nothing that is finite, for infinite and
finite perfections are inconsistent with each other; and, if so, then it
must not consist of any parts, or be devisible, as all material things
are: besides, if the world was eternal, it could not be measured by
successive duration, inasmuch as there is no term, or point, from whence
this succession may be computed, for that is inconsistent with eternity;
and if its duration was once unmeasured, or not computed by succession,
how came it afterwards to be successive, as the duration of all material
beings is?

Again, to suppose matter to be co-eternal with God, is to suppose it to
be equal with him, for whatever has one divine perfection, must have
all; so that this is contrary to those natural ideas, which we have of
the divine perfections, and contains such absurdities, as have not the
least colour of reason to support them.

But it more evidently appears, from scripture, that the world was made
in the beginning of time, and therefore did not exist from eternity;
since therein we read, that _in the beginning God created the heaven and
the earth_, Gen. i. 1. and elsewhere, _Thou, Lord, in the beginning,
hast laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of
thine hands_, Heb. i. 10. Now since we are not to confound time and
eternity together, or to say, that that which was created in the
beginning, was without beginning, that is, from eternity, it is evident
that no creature was eternal.

Thus having considered the impossibility of the existence of finite
things, from eternity, we may here take occasion to vindicate the
account we have in scripture, concerning the world’s having been created
between five and six thousand years since, from the objections of those
who suppose, that the antiquity thereof exceeds the scripture-account by
many ages. Those that follow the LXX translation of the Old Testament,
in their chronological account of time, suppose the world to be between
fourteen and fifteen hundred years older than we have ground to conclude
it is, according to the account we have thereof in the Hebrew text. This
we cannot but think to be a mistake, and has led many of the fathers
into the same error[5], who, through their unacquaintedness with the
Hebrew language, excepting Jerom and Origen, hardly used any but this
translation[6].

But this we shall pass over, and proceed to consider the account that
some give of the antiquity of the world, which is a great deal remote,
from what we have in scripture, though this is principally to be found
in the writings of those who were altogether unacquainted with it. Thus
the Egyptians, according to the report of some ancient historians,
pretended, that they had chronicles of the reigns of their kings for
many thousand years longer than we have ground to conclude the world has
stood[7]. And the Chaldeans exceed them in the accounts they give of
some things contained in their history; and the Chinese pretend to
exceed them by many thousand years, but these accounts are fabulous and
ungrounded[8][9]. And inasmuch as they are confuted, and exposed by many
of the heathen themselves, as ridiculous and absurd boasts, rather than
authentic accounts, no one who has the least degree of modesty, can
oppose them to the account we have, in scripture, of the time that the
world has continued, which is no more than between five or six thousand
years.

And that the world cannot be of greater antiquity than this may be
proved, from the account which we have of the first original of nations,
and the inventors of things in scripture, and other writings. It is not
reasonable to suppose, that men lived in the world many thousand years,
without the knowledge of those things, that were necessary for the
improvement of their minds, and others that were conducive to the good
of human society, as well as subservient to the conveniencies of life;
but this they must have done, who are supposed to have lived before
these things were known in the world.

As to what concerns the original of nations, which spread themselves
over the earth after the universal deluge, we have an account of it in
Gen. x. and, in particular, of the first rise of the Assyrian monarchy,
which was erected by Nimrod, who is supposed to be the same that other
writers call Belus. This monarchy was continued, either under the name
of the Assyrian, or Babylonian, till Cyrus’s time, and no writers
pretend that there was any before it: and, according to the scripture
account hereof, it was erected above seventeen hundred years after the
creation of the world; whereas, if the world had been so old, as some
pretend it is, or had exceeded the scripture account of the age and
duration thereof, we should certainly have had some relation of the
civil affairs of kingdoms and nations, in those foregoing ages, to be
depended on, but of this, history is altogether silent; for we suppose
the account that the Egyptians give of their Dynasties, and the reigns
of their gods and kings, in those foregoing ages, are, as was before
observed, ungrounded and fabulous.

As to what respects the inventors of things, which are necessary in
human life, we have some hints of this in scripture. As we have an
account in scripture, Gen. iv. 20-22. of the first that made any
considerable improvement in the art of husbandry, and in the management
of cattle, and of the first _instructor of every artificer in brass and
iron_, by which means those tools were framed, which are necessary for
the making those things that are useful in life; and also of the first
inventor of music, who is called, _The father of all such as handle the
harp and organ_, which was in that space of time, which intervened
between the creation and the deluge; and, after this we read of the
first plantation of vineyards, and the farther improvement thereof by
making wine, by Noah, Gen. ix. 20, 21. which the world seems to have
known nothing of before. And it is more than probable, that the art of
navigation was not known, till Noah, by divine direction, framed the
ark, which gave the first hint to this useful invention; and this art
was not, for many ages, so much improved, as it is in our day. The
mariner’s needle, and the variation of the compass, or the method of
sailing by observation of the heavenly bodies, seem to have been
altogether unknown by those mariners, in whose ship the apostle Paul
sailed, Acts xxvii. for want of which, they exposed themselves to suffer
shipwreck, hoping, thereby, to save their lives.

And, as to what concerns those inventions, that are necessary for the
improvement of knowledge; it does not appear that writing was known till
Moses’ time; and, after this, the use of letters was brought into Greece
by Cadmus. And therefore it is no wonder, when historians give some dark
hints of things done before this, being unacquainted with
scripture-history, that they are at a loss, and pretend not to give an
account of things done before the deluge[10]. Shall we suppose, that
there were so many ages, as some pretend in which men lived, and yet no
account given of things done therein, transmitted to posterity, by those
who assert it? Therefore there can be no ground to conclude, that the
world has stood longer than the scripture account thereof[11]. We pass
by the invention of the art of printing, which has not been known in the
world above three hundred years; and the many improvements that have
been made in philosophy, mathematicks, medicine, anatomy, chymistry, and
mechanicks, in the last age; and can we suppose that there are so many
thousand ages passed without any of these improvements? And to this we
may add the origin of idolatry, in them who worshipped men, whom they
called gods, namely, such as had been useful while they lived among
those that worshipped them, or had been of great note, or power, in the
world, or who were the first inventors of things: this being known, and
the time in which they lived, mentioned, by some writers among the
heathen, which is much later than the first age of the world, is a
farther evidence of this truth, that it has not stood so many years as
some pretend.

If it be objected, that there has been a kind of circulation, or
revolution of things with respect to men’s knowing, and afterwards
losing and then regaining the knowledge of some of those arts, which we
suppose to have been first discovered in in later ages, so that they
might have been known in the world many ages before:

This is to assert, without pretending to give any proof thereof; and
nothing can be inferred from a mere possibility of things, which no one,
who has the least degree of judgment, will ever acquiesce in; especially
the memory of some things could never have been universally erased out
of the minds of men, by any devastations that might be supposed to have
been made in the world. Therefore, to conclude this argument, nothing
can be reasonably objected against the account we have in scripture, of
the creation of the world at first, and of its having continued that
number of years, and no longer, which we believe it to have done, from
those sacred writings, which contain the only authentic records thereof,
and have sufficient authority to put to silence all those fabulous
conjectures, or vain and groundless boasts, that pretend to contradict
it.

III. God is said to have created all things by the word of his power;
thus the Psalmist says, _By the word of the Lord were the heavens made;
and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth_, Psal. xxxiii. 6.
Some, indeed, understand this, and several other scriptures, in which
God is said to create all things by his word, as implying, that God the
Father made all things by the Son, his personal Word: but, though this
be a great truth, and it be expressly said, _All things were made by
him_, John i. 3. as has been considered under a foregoing answer[12],
whereby the divinity of Christ was proved; yet here we speak of
creation, as an effect of that power, which is a perfection of the
divine nature. And whereas it is called _the word_ of his power, it
signifies, that God produced all things by an act of his power and
sovereign will; so that how difficult soever the work was in itself, as
infinitely superior to finite power, yet it argues, that it was
performed by God without any manner of difficulty, and therefore it was
as easy to him as a thought, or an act of willing is to any creature;
accordingly it is said, _He spake and it was done; he commanded, and it
stood fast_, Psal. xxxiii. 9. As nothing could resist his will, or
hinder his purpose from taking effect, so all things were equally
possible to him. In this respect, creation differs from the natural
production of things, which, though they be the effects of power, yet
nothing is produced by a powerful word, or, as it were, commanded into
being, but that which is the effect of almighty power, as the creation
of all things is said to be.

IV. The end for which God made all things, was his own glory; or, as it
is said, _He made all things for himself_, Prov. xvi. 4. that is, that
he might demonstrate his eternal power and Godhead, and all those divine
perfections, which shine forth in this illustrious work, and so might
receive a revenue of glory, as the result thereof. Not that he was under
any natural necessity to do this, or would have been less happy and
glorious in himself, than he was from all eternity, if he had not given
being to any thing. We are far from supposing, that there is any
addition made hereby to his essential glory; this appears from the
independence of his divine perfections: As they are not derived from the
creature, so they cannot receive any additional improvement from him, no
more than the lustre of the sun is increased by its being beheld by our
eyes; nor does it sustain any real diminution thereof, when its
brightness is obscured by the interposure of any thing that hides it
from us. God did not make the world that his power or wisdom might be
improved hereby; but that he might be admired and adored, or that his
relative glory might be advanced by us, which would be the highest
advantage to us. This was the great end for which he made all things;
and it is very agreeable to the scope and design of scripture in
general, which puts us upon giving him the glory due to his name, as
being induced hereunto by all the displays thereof in his works.

Therefore it is a very unbecoming way of speaking, and tends very much
to detract from the divine perfections, to say as a judicious writer[13]
represents some objecting, “As though God were not so selfish, and
desirous of glory, as to make the world, and all creatures therein, only
for his own honour, and to be praised by men.” And another writer[14]
speaks his own sense of this matter, in words no less shocking. He says,
indeed, “That God cannot really suffer any diminution of his own by our
dislike, or is advanced in honour by our approbation of his
dispensations;” which, as it respects his essential glory, is an
undoubted truth; but yet he speaks, in other respects, of the glory of
God, by which, it is plain, he means that which is generally called his
relative, or manifestative glory, in a very unbecoming manner, when he
says; “That God, being infinitely perfect, must be infinitely happy
within himself, and so can design no self-end without himself; therefore
what other end can he be supposed to aim at in these things, but our
good? It is therefore a vain imagination, that the great design of any
of God’s actions, his glorious works and dispensations, should be thus
to be admired, or applauded, by his worthless creatures, that he may
gain esteem, or a good word, from such vile creatures as we are. We take
too much upon us, if we imagine that the all-wise God can be concerned,
whether such blind creatures, as we are, approve or disapprove of his
proceedings; and we think too meanly of, and detract from his great
Majesty, if we conceive he can be delighted with our applause, or aim at
reputation from us in his glorious design, that therefore such as we
should think well of him, or have due apprehensions of those attributes,
by the acknowledgment of which we are said to glorify him.” This is, at
once, to divest him of all that glory, which he designed from his works;
but far be it from us to approve of any such modes of speaking.
Therefore we must conclude, that though God did not make any thing with
a design to render himself more glorious than he was, from all eternity,
yet it was, that his creatures should behold and improve the displays of
his divine perfections, and so render himself the object of desire and
delight, that religious worship might be excited hereby, and that we
might ascribe to him the glory that is due to his name.

We might also observe, that God created all things by his power, that he
might take occasion to set forth the glory of all his other perfections,
in his works of providence and grace, and particularly in the work of
our redemption, all which suppose the creature brought into being; and
so his first work made way for all others, which are, or shall be
performed by him in time, or throughout the ages of eternity.

V. We are now to consider the space of time, in which God created all
things, namely, in six days. This could not have been determined by the
light of nature, and therefore must be concluded to be a doctrine of
pure revelation; as also the account we have, in Gen. i. of the order in
which things were brought to perfection, or the work of each day. Here
we cannot but take notice of the opinion of some, who suppose, that the
world was created in an instant, as thinking, that this is more
agreeable to the idea of creation, and more plainly distinguishes it
from the natural production of things, which are brought to perfection
by degrees, and not in a moment, as they suppose this work was. This
opinion has been advanced by some ancient writers; and whereas it seems
directly to contradict that account which is given thereof by Moses,
they suppose that the distribution of the work of creation, into that of
six days, is only designed to lead us into the knowledge of the distinct
parts thereof, whereby they may be better conceived of, as though they
had been made in such an order, one after another; but this is to make
the scripture speak what men please to have it, without any regard had
to the genuine sense and import of the words thereof. Had it only been
asserted, that the first matter, out of which all things were formed,
had been created in an instant; that is not only agreeable to the work
of creation, but to the literal sense of the text; for it is said to be
created _in the beginning_, that is, in the first point of time; or if
it had only been said, that God could have brought all things to
perfection in an instant, we would not have denied it; but to assert
that he did so, we cannot but think an ill-grounded sense of a plain
part of scripture. That which induces them to give into this opinion is,
because they think that this redounds to the glory of God, and seems
most agreeable to a supernatural production of things, and to those
expressions, by which the work of creation is represented; as in the
scripture before-mentioned in which it is said, _God spake, and it was
done_; that which was produced by a word’s speaking, is performed in an
instant. And they suppose, that this is agreeable to the account which
we have of that change which shall pass on the bodies of those who shall
be found alive at the last day, that it shall be _in a moment, in the
twinkling of an eye_, 1 Cor. xv. 52. and to some other miracles and
supernatural productions, which have been instantaneous. But all this is
not sufficient to support an opinion, which cannot be defended any
otherwise, than by supposing that the express words of scripture must be
understood in an allegorical sense.

There is therefore another account given of this matter, by some
divines, of very considerable worth and judgment,[15] which, as they
apprehend, contains a concession of as much as need be demanded in
favour of the instantaneous production of things, as most agreeable to
the idea of creation, and yet does not militate against the sense of the
account given thereof, in Gen. i. and that is, that the distinct parts
of the creation were each of them produced in a moment. As for instance,
in the work of the first day, there was the first matter of all things
produced in one moment; and, after that, in the same day, light was
produced, in another moment, agreeable to those words, _Let there be
light, and there was light_; and, in another moment, there was a
division of the light from the darkness, and so the work of the first
day was finished. And, in the other days, where the works were various,
there were distinct acts of the divine will, or words of command given
concerning their production, which immediately ensued hereupon; and
there was, in several instances, an interval between the production of
one thing and another, which belonged to the same day’s work;
particularly, in the sixth day, there was first a word of command given,
by which beasts and creeping things were formed, and then another word
given forth, by which man was created, when, indeed, there was an
approbation of the former part of this day’s work, in ver. 26. God says,
_That it was good_, before the general approbation, expressed in ver.
31. in the end of the day, was given, when _God saw every thing that he
had made, and behold it was very good_.

There is nothing, in this opinion, (the main reason and foundation
whereof has been before observed) that can be much disliked, neither is
it very material whether it be defended or opposed; and therefore, I
think, they speak with the greatest prudence, as well as temper who
reckon this among the number of those questions, which are generally
called problematical, that is, such as may be either affirmed or denied,
without any great danger of departing from the faith;[16] and, indeed, I
cannot see that the reasons assigned, which induce persons to adhere to
either side of the question, with so much warmth, as to be impatient of
contradiction, are sufficiently conclusive.

The main objection brought against their opinion, who plead for an
instantaneous production of things in each day, is, that for God to
bring the work of each day to perfection in a moment, and, after that,
not to begin the work of the next day, till the respective day began,
infers God’s resting each day from his work; whereas, he is not said to
rest till the whole creation was brought to perfection. But I cannot see
this to be a just consequence, or sufficient to overthrow this opinion;
since God’s resting from his work, when the whole was finished,
principally intends his not producing any new species of creatures, and
not barely his ceasing to produce what he had made; for such a rest as
this might as well be applied to his finishing the work of each day,
though he took up the whole space of a day therein, as if he had
finished it in a moment.

And, on the other hand, when it is objected against the common opinion
relating to God’s bringing the work of each day to perfection by
degrees, so as to take up the space of a day in doing it, that it is not
agreeable to the idea of creation. This is no just way of reasoning, nor
sufficient to overthrow it; since we generally conclude, that God’s
upholding providence, which some call, as it were, a continued creation,
is no less an instance of divine and supernatural power, than his
producing them at first: but this is not performed in an instant;
nevertheless; it is said to be done, as the apostle speaks, in Heb. i.
3. _By the word of his power._ Besides, there are some parts of the
creation, which, from the nature of the thing, could hardly be produced
in an instant, particularly those works which were performed by motion,
which cannot be instantaneous; as the dividing the light from the
darkness, the gathering the waters together into one place, so that the
dry land should appear; and if this took up more than a moment, why may
it not be supposed to take up the space of a day? So that, upon the
whole, we may conclude, that though it is certain that spirits, such as
angels, or the souls of our first parents, could not be otherwise
created, than in an instant, inasmuch as they are immaterial, and so do
not consist of parts successively formed; yet none ought to determine,
with too great peremptoriness, that other works, performed in the six
days, must each of them be performed in an instant, or else the work
could not properly be called a creation; and therefore the commonly
received opinion seems as probable as any other, that has hitherto been
advanced, as it is equally, if not more agreeable, to the express words
of scripture.

Here we shall give a brief account of the work of the six days, as it is
contained in the first chapter of Genesis; in the first day, the first
matter out of which all things were produced, was created out of
nothing, which is described as being _without form_, that is, not in
that form which God designed to bring it into; whereas, in other
respects, matter cannot be without all manner of form, or those
dimensions that are essential to it, and, as it was created without
form, so without motion; so that as God is the Creator of all things, he
is the first mover. Nevertheless, I am far from thinking, that all God
did, in the creation of things, was by putting every thing in motion,
and that this brought all the parts of the creation into their
respective form. As an artificer may be said to frame a machine, which,
by its motion, will produce other things, which he designed to make by
the help thereof, without giving himself any farther trouble; so they
suppose, that, by those laws of motion, which God impressed upon matter
at first, one part of the creation brought another into the various
forms, which they attained afterwards.[17] And the first thing that was
produced, which was a farther part of the six days work, was light;
concerning this, many have advanced their own ill-grounded conjectures.
There are some writers, among the Papists, who have supposed that it was
a quality, without a subject,[18] which is an obscure and indefensible
way of speaking. Others have thought, that hereby we are to understand
the angels; but this is to strain the sense of words too far, by having
recourse to a metaphor, which is inconsistent with what immediately
follows, that God divided the light from the darkness. But it seems most
probable that nothing else is intended hereby, but those lucid bodies,
which, on the fourth day, were collected into the sun and fixed stars.

To this let me add, that it is more than probable that God, on the first
day, created the highest heaven, which is sometimes called his throne,
together with the angels, the glorious inhabitants thereof. It is true,
Moses, in his history of the creation, is silent as to this matter,
unless it may be inferred from those words, _In the beginning God
created the heaven and the earth_; though, as has been before observed,
something else seems principally to be intended thereby: nevertheless,
we have sufficient ground to conclude, that they were created in the
beginning of time, and consequently in the first day, from what is said
elsewhere, that _when God laid the foundations of the earth, the morning
stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy_, Job
xxxviii. 4, 7. where the angels are represented as celebrating and
adoring those divine perfections, which were glorified in the beginning
of the work of creation; therefore they were, at that time, brought into
being.

On the _second_ day, God divided that part of the world, which is above,
from that which is below, by an extended space, which is styled the
_firmament_, and otherwise called heaven, though distinguished from the
highest heaven, or the heaven of heavens; and it is farther observed,
that hereby the waters that are above, are separated from those which
are below, that is, the clouds from the sea, and other waters, that are
in the bowels of the earth.

As for that conjecture of some, taken from hence, and especially from
what the Psalmist says, _Praise him ye waters that are above the
heavens_, Psal. cxlviii. 4. that there is a vast collection of
super-celestial waters, which have no communication with those that are
contained in the clouds; this seems to be an ungrounded opinion, not
well agreeing with those principles of natural philosophy, which are
received in this present age; though maintained by some of the ancient
fathers, as principally founded on the sense in which they understand
this text; neither do they give a tolerable account of the design of
providence in collecting and fixing them there[19]. Therefore nothing
seems to be intended, in that text, but the waters that are contained in
the clouds as it is said, _He bindeth up the waters in his thick
clouds_, Job xxvi. 8. and, indeed, the Hebrew words seem not to be
justly translated[20]; for they ought to be rendered, _Ye waters that
are from above in the firmament_, not above the heavens, but the earth,
or a considerable distance from it, in the firmament, as the clouds are.

On the _third_ day, the sea and rivers were divided from the earth, and
the dry land appeared, and the earth brought forth herbs, grass, trees,
and plants, with which it is so richly stored, which in a natural way,
it has produced ever since.

On the _fourth_ day, the sun, moon and stars were made, to enlighten,
and, by their influence, as it were, to enliven the world, and so render
it a beautiful place, which would otherwise have been a dismal and
uncomfortable dungeon; and that hereby the four seasons of the year
might be continued in their respective courses, and their due measures
set to them: thus it is said, these heavenly bodies were appointed _for
signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years_, Gen. i. 14.

This has occasioned some to enquire, whether any countenance is hereby
given to judicial astrology, or whether the heavenly bodies have any
influence on the conduct of human life, which some ancient and modern
writers have defended, not without advancing many absurdities,
derogatory to the glory of providence, as well as contrary to the nature
of second causes, and their respective effects; and, when the moral
actions of intelligent creatures are said to be pointed at, or directed
by the stars, this is contrary to the laws of human nature, or the
nature of man, as a free agent; therefore, whatever be the sense of
these words of scripture, it is certain, they give no countenance to
this presumptuous and ungrounded practice. But this we shall take
occasion to oppose, under a following answer, when we consider judicial
astrology, as forbidden in the first commandment[21]. Therefore, all
that we shall add, at present, is, that when the heavenly bodies are
said to be appointed _for times and seasons_, &c. nothing is intended
thereby, but that they distinguish the times and seasons of the year;
or, it may be, in a natural way, have some present and immediate
influence on the bodies of men, and some other creatures below them.

There is also another question, which generally occurs when persons
treat of this subject, namely, whether there are not distinct worlds of
men, or other creatures, who inhabit some of those celestial bodies,
which, by late observations, are supposed to be fitted to receive them.
This has been maintained by Keplar, bishop Wilkins, and other ingenious
writers; and that which has principally led them to assert it, is,
because some of them are, as is almost universally allowed, not only
bigger than this earth, but they seem to consist of matter, not much
unlike to it, and therefore are no less fit to entertain distinct worlds
of intelligent creatures. And they farther add, in defence of this
argument, that it cannot reasonably be supposed that there should be
such a vast collection of matter, created with no other design, but to
add to the small degree of light, which the planets, the moon excepted,
afford to this lower world. As for any other advantage that they are of
to it, any farther than as they are objects, to set forth the wisdom and
power of God, this cannot be determined by us; therefore they conclude,
that they were formed for the end above mentioned. And some carry their
conjectures beyond this, and suppose, that as every one of the fixed
stars are bodies, which shine as the sun does, with their own
un-borrowed light, and are vastly larger, that therefore there is some
other use designed thereby, besides that which this world receives from
them, namely, to give light to some worlds of creatures, that are
altogether unknown to us. According to this supposition, there are not
only more worlds than ours, but multitudes of them, in proportion to the
number of the stars, which are inhabited either by men, or some other
species of intelligent creatures, which tends exceedingly, in their
opinion, to advance the power, wisdom, and goodness, of the great
Creator.

The only thing that I shall say, concerning this modern hypothesis, is,
that as, on the one hand, the common method of opposition to it, is not,
in all respects, sufficient to overthrow the argument in general,
especially when men pretend not to determine what kinds of intelligent
creatures inhabit these worlds, and when they are not too peremptory in
their assertions about this matter; so, on the other hand, when this
argument is defended with that warmth, as though it were a necessary and
important article of faith, and some not only assert the possibility,
or, at least, the probability of the truth thereof, but speak with as
much assurance of it, as though it were founded on scripture; and when
they conclude that they are inhabited by men, and pretend to describe,
not only the form of some of these worlds, but give such an account of
the inhabitants thereof, as though they had learned it from one who came
down from thence[22]; in this respect, they expose the argument, which
they pretend to defend, to contempt, and render it justly exceptionable.
But, if men do not exceed those due bounds of modesty, which should
always attend such disquisitions, and distinguish things that are only
probable, from those that are demonstratively certain, and reckon this
no other than an ingenious speculation, which may be affirmed, or
denied, in common with some other astronomical, or philosophical
problems, without considering it, as affecting any article of natural or
revealed religion, I would not oppose the argument in general, how much
soever I would do the particular explication thereof, as above
mentioned: but, when this is brought in, as a matter of debate, in the
theologick schools, and disputed with as much warmth, as though it were
next to an heresy to deny it, I cannot but express as much dislike
thereof, as any have done, who give into the commonly received opinion
relating to this matter.

On the _fifth_ day, another sort of creatures, endowed with sense, as
well as life and motion, were produced, partly out of the waters, and
partly out of the earth, that was mixed with them, namely, the fish that
were designed to live in the waters, and the winged fowl, which were to
fly above them[23].

On the _sixth_ day, all sorts of beasts, and creeping things, with which
the earth is plentifully furnished, were produced out of it. And whereas
there are two words used to set forth the different _species_ of living
creatures, as contra-distinguished from creeping things, namely, the
cattle and the beasts of the earth, it is generally supposed to imply
the different sorts of beasts, such as are tame or wild, though wild
beasts were not, at first, so injurious to mankind as now they are.

In the latter part of the day, when this lower world was brought to
perfection, and furnished with every thing necessary for his
entertainment, man, for whose sake it was made, was created out of the
dust of the ground; which will be more particularly considered in a
following answer[24].

God having thus produced all things in this order and method, as we have
an account thereof in scripture, he fixed, or established the course or
laws of nature, whereby the various species of living creatures might be
propagated, throughout all succeeding ages, without the interposure of
his supernatural power, in a continued creation of them; and, after
this, he rested from his work, when he had brought all things to
perfection.

Thus having considered the creation, as a work of six days, it may
farther be enquired, whether it can be determined, with any degree of
probability, in what time, or season[25] of the year all things were
created. Some are of opinion, that it was in the spring, because, at
that time, the face of the earth is renewed every year, and all things
begin to grow and flourish[26]. And some of the fathers have assigned
this, as a reason of it; because the Son of God, the second Adam,
suffered, and rose from the dead, whereby the world was, as it were,
renewed, at the same time of the year. But this argument is of no
weight.

Therefore the most probable opinion is, that the world was created at
that season of the year, which generally brings all things to
perfection; when the fruits of the earth are fully ripe, and the harvest
ready to be gathered in, which is about autumn, the earth being then
stored with plenty of all things, for the support of man and beast. It
is not, indeed, very material, whether this can be determined or no,
nevertheless this seems the more probable opinion, inasmuch as the
beginning of the civil year was fixed at that time. Accordingly, the
feast of ingathering, which was at this season of the year, is said, in
Exod. xxiii. 16. to be _in the end of the year_; therefore, as one year
ended, the other began, at this time, and so continued, till, by a
special providence, the beginning of the year was altered, in
commemoration of Israel’s deliverance out of Egypt. And, from that time,
there was a known distinction among the Jews, between their beginning of
the civil and the ecclesiastical year; the former of which was the same
as it had been from the beginning of the world, and answers to our month
September; from whence it is more than probable, that the world was
created at that season of the year. We now proceed,

VI. To consider, the quality, or condition, in which God created all
things, which were, at first, pronounced by him _very good_, Gen. i. 31.
It is certain, nothing imperfect can come out of the hand of God, and
the goodness of things is their perfection. Every thing that was made,
was made exactly agreeable to the idea, or platform thereof, that was
laid in the divine mind. All things were good, that is perfect, in their
kind, and therefore, there was not the least blemish in the work. Every
thing was beatiful, as it was the effect of infinite wisdom, as well as
almighty power. Whatever blemishes there are now in the creation, which
are the consequence of the curse that sin has brought upon it, these
were not in it at first, for that would have been a reflection on the
author of it.

And there is another thing, in which the goodness of those things did
consist, namely, as they were adapted to shew forth the glory of God in
an objective way, whereby intelligent creatures might, as in a glass,
behold the infinite perfections of the divine nature, which shine forth
therein.

If any enquire, whether God could have made things more perfect than he
did? it might easily be replied to this, that he never acted to the
utmost of his power, the perfections of creatures were limited by his
will; nevertheless, if any persons pretend to find any flaw, or defect
of wisdom in the creation of all things, this is no other than a proud
and ignorant cavil, which men, through the corruption of their nature,
are disposed to make against the great Creator of all things, who regard
not the subserviency of things to answer the most valuable ends, and
advance his glory, who, _in wisdom has made them all_.

In this respect, the inferior parts of the creation were good; but, if
we consider the intelligent part thereof, angels and men, they were
good, in a higher sense. As there was no moral blemish in the creation,
nor propensity, or inclination to sin, so these were endowed with such a
kind of goodness, whereby they were fitted to glorify God, in a way
agreeable to their superior natures, and behold and improve those
displays of the divine perfections, which were visible in all his other
works; which leads us farther to consider what is said concerning them,
as the most excellent part of the creation.

Footnote 1:

  עשוז, ברא κτιζειν, ποιειν, γινεσθαι.

Footnote 2:

  _Of this opinion was Aristotle, and his followers; though he
  acknowledges, that it was contrary to the sentiments of all the
  philosophers that were before him, Vid. Arist. de Cœlo, Lib. I. cap. 2
  who, speaking concerning the creation of the world, says_, γενομενον
  μεν ουν απαντες ειναι φασιν.

Footnote 3:

  _Tertull. adv. Hermog. cap. 8. Hæreticorum Patriarchæ Philosophi;
  which was so memorable a passage, that it was quoted, upon the same
  occasion, by Jerom, and others of the fathers._

Footnote 4:

  _This was maintained by Aquinas, Durandus, Cajetan, and others; though
  opposed by Albertus Magnus, Bonaventure, &c._

Footnote 5:

  _Thus Augustin, speaking concerning the years from the time of the
  creation to his time, reckons them to be not full, that is, almost six
  thousand years; whereas in reality, it was but about four thousand
  four hundred, herein being imposed on by this translation_. Vid. Aug.
  de Civ. Dei. _Lib. XII. Cap. 10._

Footnote 6:

  _Every one, that observes the lxx. translation in their chronological
  account of the lives of the patriarchs, from Adam to Abraham, in Gen.
  chap. v. compared with chap. xi. will find, that there are so many
  years added therein to the account of the lives of several there
  mentioned, as will make the sum total, from the creation of the world
  to the call of Abraham, to be between fourteen and fifteen hundred
  years more than the account which we have thereof in the Hebrew text;
  which I rather choose to call a mistake, in that translation, than to
  attempt to defend it; though some, who have paid too great a deference
  to it, have thought that the Hebrew text was corrupted, after our
  Saviour’s time, by the Jews by leaving out those years which the lxx.
  have added, designing hereby to make the world believe that the
  Messiah was not to come so soon as he did, by fourteen or fifteen
  hundred years; and that therefore the Hebrew text, in those places, is
  to be corrected by that version; which I cannot but conclude to be a
  very injurious insinuation, as well as not supported by any argument
  that has the least probability in it._

Footnote 7:

  Vid. Pomp. Mel. _Lib. I. Cap. 9. who speaks of the annals of the kings
  of Egypt, as containing above thirteen thousand years; and others
  extend the antiquity of that nation many thousand years more._ Vid.
  Diod. Sicul. Biblioth. _Lib. I._

Footnote 8:

  Vid. Cicero de Divinat. _Lib. I. who condemns the Egyptians and
  Babylonians, as foolish, vain, yea impudent, in their accounts
  relating to this matter, when they speak, as some of them do, of
  things done four hundred and seventy thousand years before; upon which
  occasion, Lactantius, in Lib. 7._ § 14. de Vita beata, _passes this
  just censure upon them_, Quia se posse argui non putabant, liberum
  sibi crediderunt esse mentiri; _and_ Macrob. in somn. Scip. _cap. 11.
  supposes that they did not measure their years as we do, by the annual
  revolution of the sun, but by the moon; and so a year, according to
  them, was no more than a month, which he supposes Virgil was apprised
  of, when he calls the common solar year, Annus Magnus, as compared
  with those short ones that were measured by the monthly revolution of
  the moon: but this will not bring the Egyptians and Chaldean accounts
  to a just number of years, but some of them would, notwithstanding,
  exceed the time that the world has stood. As for the Chinese, they
  have no authentic histories that give any account of this matter; but
  all depends upon uncertain tradition, transmitted to them by those who
  are their leaders in religious matters, and reported by travellers who
  have received these accounts from them, which, therefore, are far from
  deserving any credit in the world._

Footnote 9:

  The reader will be highly gratified by a treatise of Dr. Hugh
  Williamson on climate, wherein he examines this subject.

Footnote 10:

  _The common distribution of time, into that which is_ αδηλον, _before
  the flood, and_ μυθικον, _after it, till they computed by the
  Olympiads; and afterwards that which they call_ ἱστορικον _the only
  account to be depended upon, makes this matter farther evident_.

Footnote 11:

  _See this argument farther improved, by those who have insisted on the
  first inventors of things; as_ Polydor. Virgil. de Rerum inventoribus;
  _and_ Plin. Secund. Hist. Mundi. _Lib. VII. cap. 56.-60. and Clem.
  Alex. Strom. Lib. I. Lucretius, though an assertor of the eternity of
  matter and motion, from his master Epicurus, yet proves, that the
  world, as to its present form, had a beginning; and what he says is so
  much to our present argument, that I cannot but mention it._ Vid.
  Lucret. de Rer. Nat. _Lib. V._

      _Prætera si nulla fuit genitalis origo Terrarum & Cœli, semperq;
         æterna fuere;
      Cur supra bellum Thebanum, & funera Trojæ,
      Non alias alii quoque res cecinere Poetæ?
      Quo tot facta virum toties cecidere? neque usquam
      Æternis famæ monimentis insita florent?
      Verum, ut opinor, habet novitatem Summa, recensq;
      Natura est Mundi, neque pridem exordia cepit.
      Quare etiam quædam nunc artes expoliuntur.
      Nunc etiam augescunt; nunc addita navigiis sunt.
      Multa: modo organici melicos peperere sonores.
      Denique Natura hæc rerum, ratioque reperta est
      Nuper.——_

Footnote 12:

  _See_ Vol. I. _Pages 220, 221._

Footnote 13:

  _See Ray’s Wisdom of God in the Creation, page 182._

Footnote 14:

  _Whitby on Election, page 92, 93._

Footnote 15:

  _See Turret. Elenct. Tom. I. Loc. 5. Quest. 5._

Footnote 16:

  _Vid. Witsii in Symbol. Exercit. 8. § 66._

Footnote 17:

  _This is the main thing that is advanced by Des Cartes, in his
  philosophy, which formerly obtained more in the world than it does at
  present; though there are several divines in the Netherlands, who
  still adhere to, and defend that hypothesis. This was thought a
  sufficient expedient to fence against the absurdities of Epicurus, and
  his followers, who suppose that things attained their respective forms
  by the fortuitous concourse of atoms; nevertheless, it is derogatory
  to the Creator’s glory, inasmuch as it sets aside his immediate
  efficiency in the production of things._

Footnote 18:

  _This absurd opinion the Papists are very fond of, inasmuch as it
  serves their purpose in defending the doctrine of Transubstantiation._

Footnote 19:

  _Ambrose, in his Hexameron, Lib. II. cap. 3. as well as Basil, and
  others, suppose, that the use thereof is to qualify the extraordinary
  heat of the sun, and other celestial bodies, to prevent their burning
  the frame of nature, and especially their destroying this lower world;
  and others think, that they are reserved in store, to answer some
  particular ends of providence, when God, at any time, designs to
  destroy the world by a deluge; and consequently they conclude, that it
  was by a supply of water from thence, that there was a sufficient
  quantity poured down, when the world was drowned, in the universal
  deluge: but, though a late ingenious writer, [Vid. Burnet. Tellur.
  Theor. Lib. I. cap. 2.] supposes, that the clouds could afford but a
  small part of that water, which was sufficient to answer that end,
  which he supposes to be eight times as much as the sea contains; yet
  he does not think fit to fetch a supply thereof from the
  super-celestial stores, not only as supposing the opinion to be
  ill-grounded, but by being at a loss to determine how these waters
  should be disposed of again, which could not be accounted for any
  other way, but by annihilation, since they could not be exhaled by the
  sun, or contained in the clouds, by reason of their distant situation,
  as being far above them._

Footnote 20:

  _It is not_ על תקיע, _but_ מעל לרקיע.

Footnote 21:

  _See Quest. CV._

Footnote 22:

  _Thus the learned Witsius, in Symbol. Exercitat. 8. § 78. exposes this
  notion, by referring to a particular relation given, by one, of
  mountains, vallies, seas, woods, and vast tracts of land, which are
  contained in the moon, and a describing the men that inhabit it, and
  the cities that are built by them, and other things relating hereunto,
  which cannot be reckoned, in the opinion of sober men, any other than
  fabulous and romantic._

Footnote 23:

  _This, supposing the fowl to be produced out of the water, mixed with
  earth, reconciles the seeming contradiction that there is between Gen.
  i, 20. and chap. ii. 19. in the former of which it is said, the fowl
  were created_ out of the water, _and in the latter_, out of the earth.

Footnote 24:

  _See Quest. XVII._

Footnote 25:

  _When we speak of the season of the year, we have a particular respect
  to that part of the earth, in which man at first resided; being
  sensible that the seasons of the year vary, according to the different
  situation of the earth._

Footnote 26:

                 _——Ver illud erat, Ver magnus agebat
                 Orbis, & Hybernis parcebant flatibus Euri._

  Virg. Georg. 2.



                              Quest. XVI.


    QUEST. XVI. _How did God create angels?_

    ANSW. God created all the angels, spirits, immortal, holy, excelling
    in knowledge, mighty in power, to execute his commandments, and to
    praise his name, yet subject to change.

There are two species of intelligent creatures, to wit, angels and men.
The former of these are more excellent; and we are in this answer, led
to speak concerning their nature, and the glorious works which they are
engaged in: But let it be premised, that this is a doctrine that we
could have known little or nothing of, by the light of nature. We might,
indeed, from thence, have learned, that God has created some spiritual
substances, such as the souls of men; and we might argue, from his
power, that he could create other spirits, of different natures and
powers, and that some of them might be without bodies, as the angels
are; yet we could not have certainly determined that there is such a
distinct order of creatures, without divine revelation, since they do
not appear to, or visibly converse with us; and whatever impressions
may, at any time, be made on our spirits, by good or bad angels, in a
way of suggestion, yet this could not have been so evidently
distinguished from the working of our own fancy or imagination, were we
not assisted in our conceptions about this matter, by what we find in
scripture, relating thereunto. Accordingly, it is from thence that the
doctrine, which we are entering upon, is principally to be derived; and
we shall consider it, as the subject-matter of this answer, in seven
heads.

I. There is something supposed, namely, that there are such creatures as
angels. This appears, from the account we have of them in the beginning
of the creation of all things, _The morning stars sang together, and all
the sons of God shouted for joy_, Job xxxviii. 7. which can be no other
than a metaphorical description of them. They are called the _morning
stars_, as they exceed other creatures, as much in glory, as the stars
do the lower parts of the creation. It would be a very absurd method of
expounding scripture to take this in a literal sense, not only because
the stars in the firmament do not appear to have been then created, but
principally because these are represented, as engaged in a work peculiar
to intelligent creatures; and they are called, the _sons of God_, as
they were produced by him, and created in his image; whereas men, who
are sometimes so called, were not created. They are elsewhere called
_spirits_, Psal. civ. 4. to distinguish them from material beings; and
_a flame of fire_, to denote their agility and fervency, in executing
the divine commands. It is plain, the Psalmist hereby intends the
angels; and therefore the words are not to be translated, as some do,
_who maketh the winds his angels, and the flame of fire his ministers_,
as denoting his making use of those creatures who act without design to
fulfil his pleasure; because the apostle, to the Hebrews, chap. i. 7.
expressly applies it to them, and renders the text in the same sense as
it is in our translation. They are elsewhere styled, _Thrones,
dominions, principalities, and powers_, Coloss. i. 16. to denote their
being advanced to the highest dignity, and employed in the most
honourable services. And that it is not men that the apostle here speaks
of, is evident, because he distinguishes the intelligent parts of the
creation into visible and invisible; the visible he speaks of in the
following words, ver. 18. in which Christ is said to be _the Head of the
body, the church_; therefore here he speaks of invisible creatures
advanced to these honours, and consequently he means hereby the angels.

Moreover it appears, that there are holy angels, because there are
fallen angels, who are called in scripture, devils; this is so evident,
that it needs no proof; the many sins committed by their instigation,
and the distress and misery which mankind is subject to, by their means,
gives occasion to their being called, _The rulers of the darkness of
this world_, Eph. vi. 12. And, because of their malicious opposition to
the interest of Christ therein, _spiritual wickedness in high places_.
Now it appears, from the apostle Jude’s account of them, that they once
were holy; and they could not be otherwise, because they are creatures,
and nothing impure can proceed out of the hand of God, and, while they
were holy, they had their residence in heaven: This they lost, and are
said _not to have kept their first estate, but left their own
habitation_, being thrust out of it, as a punishment due to their
rebellion, and to be _reserved in everlasting chains, under darkness,
unto the judgment of the great day_, Jude, ver. 6. Now it is plain, from
scripture, that it is only a part of the angels that left their first
estate; the rest are called _holy angels_, and their number is very
great. Thus they are described, as _an innumerable company_, Heb. xii.
22. This is necessary to be observed against the ancient, or modern
Sadducees, who deny that there are either angels, or spirits, whether
good or bad.

II. We farther observe, that the angels are described, as to their
nature, as incorporeal, and therefore called spirits. It is but a
little, indeed, that we can know concerning the nature of spirits, in
this present state; and the first ideas that we have concerning them,
are taken from the nature of our souls, as, in some respects, agreeing
with that of angels. Accordingly, being spirits, they have a power of
thinking, understanding, willing, chusing, or refusing, and are the
subjects of moral government, being under a law, and capable of moral
good or evil, happiness or misery.

Moreover, they have a power of moving, influencing, or acting upon
material beings, even as the soul moves and influences the body, to
which it is united. This we understand concerning the nature and power
of angels, as spirits, by comparing them with the nature of the soul;
though there is this difference between them, that the souls of men are
made to be united to bodies, and to act by and upon them, whereas angels
are designed to exist and act without bodies; nevertheless, by the
works, which are often, in scripture ascribed to them, it appears that
they have a power to act upon material beings. As for the conjecture of
some of the fathers,[27] that these spirits are united to some bodies,
though more fine and subtil than our’s are, and accordingly invisible to
us, we cannot but think it a groundless conceit; and therefore to assert
it, is only to pretend to be wise above what is written, and to give too
great a loose to our own fancies, without any solid argument.

III. It follows, from their being spirits, and incorporeal, that they
are immortal, or incorruptible, since nothing is subject to death, or
dissolution, but what is compounded of parts; for death is a dissolution
of the composition of those parts, that were before united together; but
this is proper to bodies. A spirit, indeed, might be annihilated; for
the same power that brought it out of nothing, can reduce it again to
nothing. But, since God has determined that they shall exist for ever,
we must conclude that they are immortal, not only from the constitution
of their nature, but by the will of God.

IV. Besides the excellency of their nature, as spirits, they have other
super-added endowments; of which, _three_ are mentioned in this answer.

1. They were all created holy; and, indeed, it could not be otherwise,
since nothing impure could come out of the hands of a God of infinite
purity. Creatures make themselves sinners, they were not made so by him;
for, if they were, how could he abhor sin, and punish it, as contrary to
his holiness; nor could he have approved of all his works, as _very
good_, when he had finished them, as he did, Gen. i. 31. if he had
created any of the angels in a state of enmity, opposition to, or
rebellion against him.

2. They excel in knowledge, or in wisdom, which is the greatest beauty
or advancement of knowledge. Accordingly, the highest instance of wisdom
in men, is compared to the wisdom of an angel. Thus the woman of Tekoa,
when extolling David’s wisdom, though with an hyperbolical strain of
compliment, compares it to that of _an angel of God_, 2 Sam. xiv. 20.
which proves that it was a generally received opinion, that angels
exceeded other creatures in wisdom.

3. They are said to be mighty in power: thus the Psalmist speaks of
them, as _excelling in strength_, Psal. ciii. 20. and the apostle Paul,
when speaking of Christ’s being revealed from heaven, in his second
coming, says, that it shall be _with his mighty angels_, 2 Thess. i. 7.
And, since power is to be judged of by its effects, the great things,
which they are sometimes represented, as having done in fulfilling their
ministry, in defence of the church, or in overthrowing its enemies, is a
certain evidence of the greatness of their power. Thus we read of the
whole Assyrian host, consisting of _an hundred and fourscore and five
thousand men_, being destroyed in one night; not by the united power of
an host of angels, but by one of them. _The angel of the Lord_ did it;
but this will more evidently appear, when, under a following head, we
speak of the ministry of angels.

V. These natural, or super-added endowments, how great soever they are,
comparatively with those of other creatures, are subject to certain
limitations: their perfections are derived, and therefore are finite. It
is true, they are holy, or without any sinful impurity; yet even their
holiness falls infinitely short of God’s, and therefore it is said
concerning him, _Thou only art holy_, Rev. xv. 4. and elsewhere, Job xv.
15. speaking concerning the angels, who are, by a _metonymy_, called the
heavens, it is said, they _are not clean in his sight_, that is, their
holiness, though it be perfect in its kind, is but finite, and therefore
infinitely below his, who is infinitely holy.

Moreover, though they are said, as has been before observed, to excel in
knowledge, we must, notwithstanding, conclude, that they do not know all
things; and therefore their wisdom, when compared with God’s, deserves
no better a character than that of folly, Job iv. 18. _His angels he
charged with folly_. There are many things, which they are expressly
said not to know, or to have but an imperfect knowledge of, or to
receive the ideas they have of them by degrees: thus _they know not the
time of Christ’s second coming_, Matt. xxiv. 36. and they are
represented as enquiring into the great mystery of man’s redemption, or
as _desiring to look into it_, 1 Pet. i. 12.

And to this let me add, that they do not know the hearts of men, at
least not in such a way as God is said to _search the heart_, for that
is represented as a branch of the divine glory, Jer. xvii. 10. 2 Chron.
vi. 30. And, besides this, it may be farther observed, that they do not
know future contingencies, unless it be by such a kind of knowledge, as
amounts to little more than conjecture; or, if they attain to a more
certain knowledge thereof, it is by divine revelation. For God
appropriates this to himself, a glory, from which all creatures are
excluded; therefore he says, _Shew the things that are to come_, that
is, future contingencies, _that we may know that ye are gods_, Isa. xli.
23. which implies, that this is more than what can be said of any finite
mind, even that of an angel.

As to the way of their knowing things, it is generally supposed, by
divines, that they know them not in a way of intuition, as God does, who
is said to know all things in himself, by an underived knowledge; but
whatever they know, is either communicated to them, by immediate divine
revelation, or else is attained in a discursive way, as inferring one
thing from another; in which respect, the knowledge of the best of
creatures appears to be but finite, and infinitely below that which is
divine.

Again, though they are said to be mighty in power, yet it is with this
limitation, that they are not omnipotent. There are some things, which
are the effects of divine power, that angels are excluded from, as being
too great for them; accordingly they were not employed in creating any
part of the world, nor do they uphold it; for as it is a glory peculiar
to God, _to be the Creator of the ends of the earth_, so he, exclusively
of all others, is said _to uphold all things by the word of his power_.

And to this we may add, that we have no ground to conclude, that they
are employed in the hand of providence, to maintain that constant and
regular motion, that there is in the celestial bodies, as some of the
ancient philosophers[28] have seemed to assert; for this is the
immediate work of God, without the agency of any creature subservient
thereunto.

Again, to this let me add, that how great soever their power is, they
cannot change the heart of man, take away the heart of stone, and give a
heart of flesh; or implant that principle of spiritual life and grace in
the souls of men, whereby they are said to be _made partakers of a
divine nature_, or _created in Christ Jesus unto good works;_ for that
is ascribed to the exceeding greatness of the divine power, and it is a
peculiar glory belonging to the Holy Spirit, whereby believers are said
to be born from above; this therefore is too great for the power of
angels to effect.

VI. We have an account of the work or employment of angels; it is said,
they execute the commands of God, and praise his name. The former of
these will be more particularly considered, under a following
answer,[29] when we are led to speak of their being employed by God, at
his pleasure, in the administration of his power, mercy and justice; and
therefore we shall now consider them as engaged in the noble and
delightful work of praise; they praise his name. For this end they were
created; and, being perfectly holy and happy, they are fitted for, and
in the highest degree, devoted to this service. This work was begun by
them as soon as ever they had a being: _they sang together_, and
celebrated his praise in the beginning of the creation, Job xxxviii. 7.

And when the Redeemer first came into this lower world, and thereby a
work, more glorious than that of creation, was begun by him, they
celebrated his birth with a triumphant song; as it is said, that with
the angel that brought the tidings thereof to the shepherds, there was a
_multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God
in the highest; on earth peace; good will towards men,_ Luke ii. 14.
Whether all the hosts of heaven were present at that solemnity, we know
not; but there is sufficient ground to conclude, from the harmony that
there is in the work and worship of the heavenly inhabitants, that they
all celebrated his incarnation with their praises; and this was a part
of that worship, which, upon this great occasion, they gave, by a divine
warrant, to him, who was then brought into this lower world, Heb. i. 6.

Moreover, they praise God for particular mercies vouchsafed to the
church, and for the success of the gospel in the conversion of sinners
thereby; on which occasion, they express their joy as our Saviour
observes, though it be but _one sinner that repenteth_, Luke xv. 7, 10.
And,

_Lastly_, They are represented, as joining in worship with the saints in
heaven; for which reason the apostle, speaking concerning the communion
that there is between the upper and the lower world, as well as the
union between the saints departed, and the angels, in this work of
praise, says, _Ye are come unto the innumerable company of angels, to
the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in
heaven, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,_ Heb. xii. 22, 23.
and they are also represented as joining with all others, which are
_before the throne, the number of whom is ten thousand times ten
thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying, with a loud voice, Worthy
is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom,
and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing,_ Rev. v. 11, 12.

This is a branch of that social worship, which they are engaged in; and
since we cannot suppose that it is performed without harmony, otherwise
it wants a very considerable circumstance, necessary to render it
beautiful, and becoming a state of perfection, we must conclude, that
there is the greatest order among these heavenly ministers; but whether
they are to be considered, as having a government, or hierarchy, among
themselves, so that one is superior in office and dignity to others; or
whether they have a kind of dominion over one another; or whether some
are made partakers of privileges, that others are deprived of; this we
pretend not to determine, since scripture is silent as to this matter.
And what some have laid down, as though it were deduced from it, is
altogether inconclusive; and therefore they, who express themselves so
peremptorily on this subject, as though they had received it by divine
inspiration, or were told it by some, who have been conversant among
them in heaven, must be reckoned among them, whom the apostle speaks of,
who _intrude into those things which they have not seen, vainly puft up
by their fleshly mind_, Colos. ii. 18.

The Papists are very fond of this notion, as being agreeable to that
unscriptural hierarchy, which they establish in the church here on
earth, which they pretend to be, in some respects, founded upon it,
instead of better arguments to support it[30]. All the countenance which
they pretend to be given to it, in scripture, is taken from the various
characters, by which they are described, as _cherubim_, _seraphim_,
_thrones_, _dominions_, _principalities_, _powers_, _angels_,
_arch-angels_, all which expressions they suppose to signify various
ranks and orders among them; and when they speak of three classes, or
degrees of dignity, and office, under which they are distributed, and
that some of those characters are reduced to one, and others to another
of them, this is nothing else but to impose their own chimerical
fancies, as matters of faith; and when they speak of some of them, as
being of a superior order, and admitted to greater honours than the
rest, whom they compare to ministers of state, who always attend the
throne of princes, or stand in their presence; and others that are
employed in particular services for the good of the church, and are
conversant in this lower world: This is a distinction which the
scripture says nothing of; for they all behold the face of God in
heaven, and are in his immediate presence; and they are all likewise
called _ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to them which shall
be the heirs of salvation_.

The great oracle which they have recourse to, where the scripture is
silent, is a spurious writing, that goes under the name of Dionysius,
the Areopagite, concerning the celestial hierarchy[31]; which contains
not only many things fabulous, but unworthy of him, who was converted at
Athens by the apostle Paul’s ministry, Acts xvii. 34. as well as
disagreeable to the sentiments of the church in the age in which he
lived; therefore, passing by this vain and trifling conjecture, all that
we can assert, concerning this matter, is, that there is a beautiful
order among the angels, though not of this kind; and this appears very
much in that social worship, which is performed by them.

And this leads us to enquire how they communicate their ideas to each
other, though destitute of organs of speech, like those that men have.
That they do, some way or other, impart their minds to one another, is
sufficiently evident, otherwise we cannot see how they could join
together, or agree in that worship, which is performed by them, and
those united hallelujahs, with which they praise God, and so answer the
end of their creation. That they converse together is evident, since
they are represented as doing so, in several places of scripture: thus
the prophet speaks of the angel that _talked with him_; he _went forth,
and another angel went out to meet him_, Zech. ii. 3. and elsewhere it
is said, concerning them, that one cried to another, _Holy, holy, holy,
is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory_, Isa. vi. 3.
and the apostle John speaks of _an angel ascending from the east, who
cried with a loud voice to four_ other _angels_, Rev. vii. 2, 3. who
were performing a part of their ministry here on earth, and giving them
a charge relating thereto; and elsewhere he again represents one angel
as speaking to another, and _crying with a loud voice_, &c. chap. xix.
17. In some of these instances, if the voices uttered by them were real,
this may be accounted for, by supposing that they assumed bodies for the
same purpose, and so communicated their minds to each other, in a way
not much unlike to what is done by man. But this is not their ordinary
way of conversing with each other: notwithstanding, we may, from hence,
infer, and from many other scriptures, that might be brought to the same
purpose, that there is some way or other by which they communicate their
thoughts to one another. How this is done, is hard to determine; whether
it be barely by an act of willing, that others should know what they
desire to impart to them or by what other methods it is performed; it is
the safest way for us, and it would be no disparagement were we the
wisest men on earth to acknowledge our ignorance of it, rather than to
attempt to determine a thing so much out of our reach, in this imperfect
state, in which we know so little of the nature or properties of
spirits, especially those that are without bodies. It is therefore
sufficient for us to conclude, that they converse together, when joined
in social worship; but how they do this, is altogether unknown to us.

VII. Notwithstanding all the advantages which the angels had from those
natural endowments, with which they were created, yet it is farther
observed, that they were subject to change. Absolute and independent
immutability is an attribute peculiar to God; so that whatever
immutability creatures have, it is by his will and power. Some of the
angels, who were created holy, were not only subject to change, but they
_kept not their first estate_, Jude, ver. 6. and, from being the sons of
God, became enemies and rebels; which is an evident proof of the natural
mutability of creatures, if not confirmed in a natural state of holiness
and happiness; and we have ground to conclude, from hence, that the rest
might have fallen, as well as they, had they not been favoured with the
grace of confirmation, which rendered their state of blessedness
unchangeable. But this will be farther considered, under a following
answer[32].

Footnote 27:

  _Vid. Augustin. de Civ. Dei, Lib. XV. cap. 23. Tertull. de
  Idololatria, & alibi passim._

Footnote 28:

  _This was the opinion of Aristotle, though he does not call them
  angels, but intelligent Beings, for angel is a character belonging to
  them, derived only from scripture; neither do we find that this work
  is assigned to them, as a part of their ministry therein._

Footnote 29:

  _See Quest. XIX._

Footnote 30:

  _It is strenuously maintained, by Baronius, Bellarmine, and many other
  writers; as also by many of the schoolmen, as Durandus, Tho. Aquinas,
  and others._

Footnote 31:

  _This book is sufficiently proved to be spurious, and not to have been
  known in the four or five first ages of the church, as not being
  mentioned by Jerom, Gennadius, and others, who make mention of the
  writers of their own and former ages, and pass their censures on them,
  as genuine or spurious. And, from others of the Fathers, who lived in
  those centuries, it plainly appears, that the doctrines maintained in
  this book, concerning the celestial hierarchy, were not then known by
  the church. It is also proved to be spurious, because the author
  thereof makes mention of holy places, such as temples, altars, &c. for
  divine worship, and catechumens, and the like, and many other things,
  unknown to the church till the fourth century; and he uses the word
  Hypostases to signify the divine Persons, which was not used till
  then. He also speaks of the institution of monks, and various sorts of
  them, which were not known till long after the apostolic age; yea, he
  quotes a passage out of Clemens Alexandrinus, who lived in the third
  century. These, and many other arguments, to the same purpose, are
  maintained, not only by Protestants, but some impartial Popish
  writers, which sufficiently prove it spurious. See Dallæus De Scrip.
  Dionys. Areop. and Du Pin’s history of ecclesiastical writers, Cent.
  1. Page 32-34._

Footnote 32:

  _See Quest. XIX._



                              Quest. XVII.


    QUEST. XVII. _How did God create man?_

    ANSW. After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male
    and female, formed the body of the man of the dust of the ground,
    and the woman of the rib of the man; endued them with living,
    reasonable, and immortal souls, made them after his own image, in
    knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, having the law of God
    written in their hearts, and power to fulfil it, with dominion over
    the creatures, yet subject to fall.

In this answer it is observed,

I. That man was created after all other creatures. There was a sort of
_climax_, or gradation in the work of creation; and that the wisdom and
power of God might be more admired herein, he proceeded from things that
were less to those that were more perfect. Man, who is the most
excellent creature in this lower world, was framed the last, inasmuch as
God designed hereby not only to give a specimen of his power, wisdom,
and goodness, but that the glory of those perfections, which shine forth
in all his other works, might be adored and magnified by him, as a
creature fitted for that purpose. And his being created after all other
things, is not only an instance of the bounty and goodness of God, in
that the world, which was designed to be the place of his abode, should
be stored with all those provisions that were necessary for his
entertainment and delight; but that he might hereby be induced to give
him the glory that was due to his name, and all other creatures, that
were formed before him, might be objects leading him to it.

II. As to what concerns the difference of sex, it is farther observed,
that man was made male and female. Adam was first formed, concerning
whom we read, which is an humbling consideration, that his _body was
formed of the dust of the ground_, from whence he took his name. This
God puts him in mind of, after his fall, when he says, _Dust thou art_,
Gen. iii. 19. And the best of men have sometimes expressed the low
thoughts they have of themselves, by acknowledging this as the first
original of the human nature. Thus Abraham, when standing in the
presence of God, says, _I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord,
which am but dust and ashes_, Gen. xviii. 27. And this character is
considered, as universally belonging to mankind, when it is said, _Then
shall the dust return to the earth, as it was_, Eccles. xii. 7.

As for the woman, it is said, she was formed of the rib of the man. The
reason of her formation is particularly assigned, _It is not good that
the man should be alone, I will make him an help-meet for him_, Gen.
iii. 18. There was a garden planted for his delight, and the beasts of
the earth brought, and given, to him, as his property; and his
sovereignty over them was expressed by his giving names to every living
creature: But these were not fitted to be his companions, though
designed for his use. He was, notwithstanding, alone; therefore God,
designing him a greater degree of happiness, formed one that might be a
partner with him, in all the enjoyments of this life, that hereby he
might experience the blessings of a social life; and that, according to
the laws of nature, by this means the world might be inhabited, and its
Creator glorified, by a numerous seed, that should descend from him.

From Adam’s being first formed, the apostle infers his preeminence of
sex, 1 Tim. ii. 11-13. compared with 1 Cor. xi. 8, 9. though not of
nature; the woman being, in that respect, designed to be a sharer with
him in his present condition, and future expectation. From her being
formed of a rib, or, as some understand it, out of the side of man, some
curious, or over-nice observations have been made, which it is needless
to mention. The account, which the scripture gives of it, is, that her
being part of himself, argued the nearness of relation, and unalienable
affection, which ought to be between man and wife, as Adam observed,
_This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh_, Gen. ii. 23, 24.
and our Saviour, as referring to the same thing, says, _For this cause
shall a man leave father and mother, and cleave to his wife, and they
twain shall be one flesh_, Matth. xix. 5.

III. The next thing that may be observed, is, that these were the first
parents of all mankind; for the apostle expressly calls Adam the first
man, 1 Cor. xv. 45. And this is very agreeable to the account which
Moses gives of his creation, on the sixth day, from the beginning of
time. This is a truth so generally received, that it seems almost
needless to insist any farther on the proof thereof. The very heathen,
that knew not who the first man was, nor where, or when, he was created,
did, notwithstanding, allow, in general, that there was one, from whom
all descended; therefore, when the apostle Paul argued with them, that
_God had made of one blood all nations of men, for to dwell on all the
face of the earth_, Acts xvii. 26. none of them pretended to deny it.
And, none who own the divine authority of scripture, ever questioned the
account which Moses gives hereof, till a bold writer, about the middle
of the last century, published a book, in which he advanced a new and
fabulous notion; that there was a world of men who lived before Adam was
created[33], and that these were all heathen; and that Moses speaks of
their creation, as what was many ages before Adam, in Gen. i. and of
Adam’s in chap. ii. whom he supposes to have been created in some part
of the world, which was then uninhabited, where he was designed to live,
and to be the father of the church, which was to descend from him; and,
being so far remote from the rest of mankind, he knew not that there was
any other men besides himself, till his family increased, and some of
them apostatized from the faith; and, in particular, Cain, and his
descendents _went out from the presence of the Lord_, and dwelt among
them. And whereas Adam is called, by the apostle Paul, _the first man_,
he supposes that he is styled so only as contra-distinguished from
Christ, who is called _the second man_, designing thereby to compare the
person, whom he supposes to have been the head of the Jewish church,
with him who is the head of the Christian church. And he insists largely
on, and perverts that scripture, in Rom. v. 13. where it is said, _Until
the law, sin was in the world_; as though the sense of it were, that
there was a sinful generation of men in the world, before God erected
his church, and gave laws to it, when he created Adam, as the head and
father thereof; whereas the apostle there speaks of sin’s prevailing in
the world before the law was given by Moses; and as for the historical
account of the creation of man in scripture, it is plain that Moses
speaks of the creation of man in general, male and female, Gen. i. 27.
and, in chap. ii. gives a particular account of the same thing, and
speaks of the manner of the formation of Adam and Eve. Besides, when God
had created Adam, it is expressly said, in Gen. ii. 5. that _there was
not a man to till the ground_, therefore there was no other man living,
which is directly contrary to this chimerical opinion. And, if there had
been a world of men before Adam, what occasion was there for him to be
created out of the dust of the ground? He might have been the father of
the church, and yet descended from one that was then in being, in a
natural way; or, if God designed that he should live at a distance from
the rest of the world, he might have called him from the place of his
abode, as he afterwards did Abraham, without exerting power in creating
him; and he might have ordered him to have taken a wife out of the
world, without creating a woman for that purpose.

It would be too great a digression, nor would it answer any valuable
end, for me to take notice of every particular argument brought in
defence of this notion: but though the book we speak of, be not much
known in the world, yet the notion is defended and propagated by many
Atheists and Deists, who design hereby to bring the scripture-history
and religion in general into contempt; therefore I am obliged, in
opposition to them, to answer an objection or two.

_Object. 1._ If Adam was the first man, and his employment was tilling
the ground, where had he those instruments of husbandry, that were
necessary, in order thereto, and other things, to subserve the various
occasions of life?

_Answ._ This may easily be answered, by supposing that he had a
sufficiency of wisdom to find out every thing that was needful for his
use and service, whatever improvement might be made in manual arts, by
future ages; but this objection, though mentioned amongst the rest, is
not much insisted on. Therefore,

_Object. 2._ There is another objection, which some think a little more
plausible, taken from what is contained in Gen. iv. where we read of
Cain’s killing his brother Abel, which was a little before the _hundred
and thirtieth year_ of the world, as appears, by comparing chap. v. 3.
with chap. iv. 25, in which it is said, _Adam lived an hundred and
thirty years, and begat Seth_; upon which occasion, his wife
acknowledges it as a mercy, that _God had appointed her another seed,
instead of Abel, whom Cain slew_. Now, if we observe the consequence of
this murder; how Cain, as it is said, in chap. iv. 16. _went out from
the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod_; and, in ver.
17. that he _built a city, and called the name of it after the name of
his son, Enoch_; from whence they infer, that, in a little above _an
hundred and thirty_ years after the world was created, there were
several colonies settled in places remote from the land of Eden, where
Adam, and his posterity, dwelt; and the inhabitants of those countries
were of a different religion from him, otherwise Cain’s living among
them would not be styled, his _going out from the presence of the Lord_.
And it is not said, that Cain peopled that land, but he went there, that
is, dwelt, amongst the inhabitants thereof; and it must be by their
assistance that he built this city, inasmuch as it is probable that the
art of building, at this time, was hardly known by our first parents,
and their descendants; but they lived, separate from the world, in
tents, and worshipped God in that way, which they received by divine
revelation, being but few in number, while other parts of the world
might be as much peopled as they are, at this day.

_Answ._ But to this it may be answered that as this chimerical opinion
sets aside; or perverts the scripture-account of things, so the
absurdity of it may be easily manifested. And,

1. If they suppose that the number of Adam’s posterity were small, and
inconsiderable, when Cain slew his brother, and built the city
before-mentioned, this will appear to be an ungrounded conjecture, if
the blessing, which God conferred on man in his first creation, of
_increasing, multiplying, and replenishing the earth_, Gen. i. 28. took
place, as it doubtless did, and that in an uncommon degree, the
necessity of things requiring it; therefore it is not absurd to suppose,
that, at least, as many children were generally born at a birth, and in
as early an age of the mother’s life, as have been, or are, in any
uncommon instances in latter ages. It is also very probable, that the
time of child-bearing continued many years longer than it now doth, in
proportion to the number of years, in which the life of man exceeded the
present standard thereof; and if the age of man was extended to eight or
nine hundred years, we may conclude that there were but few that died
young. If these things be taken for granted, which seem not, in the
least, improbable, any one, who is curious in his enquiries about this
matter, and desires to know what a number of people might be born in
_one hundred and thirty years_, will find it will be so great, that they
might spread themselves through many countries, far distant from the
place where Adam dwelt; and therefore there is no need to suppose, that
those, with whom Cain dwelt in the _land of Nod_, were persons that
lived before Adam was created. But, that this may more abundantly
appear, let it be farther considered,

2. That though we read of Cain’s _going out from the presence of the
Lord_, and his dwelling _in the land of Nod_, and _building a city_,
immediately after the account of Abel’s death, and therefore it is taken
for granted, that this was done soon after, that is, about the _hundred
and thirtieth year_ of the world; yet there is no account that this was
done immediately, or some few years after, in scripture, which contains
the history of the life of Cain, in a few verses, without any
chronological account of the time, when these things were said to be
done by him, and therefore it seems probable, that this was done some
hundreds of years after Cain slew Abel; so that we need not enquire what
a number of persons might be in the world in _one hundred and thirty
years_, but in _seven or eight hundred years_, and then the world might
be almost as full of people, as it is now at present, and then the
greatest part of the world might be also degenerate, and strangers to
the true religion; so that Cain might easily be said to go out of the
presence of the Lord, and choose to live with those that were apostates
from him, and served other gods; therefore no advantage is gained
against the scripture-history by those, who in contempt of it, defend
this ill-grounded opinion.

Thus we have considered man, as created male and female, and our first
parents, as the common stock, or root, from whence all descended; we
shall now take a view of the constitution, or frame of the human nature,
and consider,

IV. The two constituent parts of man, namely, the soul and body. With
respect to the former of these, he is, as it were allied to angels, or,
to use the scripture-expression, _made a little lower_ than them, Psal.
viii. 5. As to the other, which is his inferior part, to wit, the body,
he is _of the earth, earthy_, and set upon a level with the lower parts
of the creation. And here we shall,

1. Consider the body of man, inasmuch as it was first formed before the
soul; and according to the course and laws of nature, it is first
fashioned in the womb, and then the soul is united to it, when it is
organized, and fitted for its reception: There are many things very
wonderful in the structure of human bodies, which might well give
occasion to the inspired writer to say, _I am fearfully and wonderfully
made_, Psal. cxxxix. 14. This is a subject that would afford us much
matter to enlarge on, and from thence, to take occasion to admire the
wisdom and goodness of God in this part of his work.

Many things might be observed from the shape, and erect posture thereof,
and the several conveniences that arise from thence, and how we are
hereby instructed that we were not born to look downwards to the earth,
but up to heaven, from whence our chief happiness is derived. We might
here consider the various parts of the body, whereof none are
superfluous or redundant, and their convenient situation for their
respective uses; the harmony and contexture thereof, and the
subserviency of one part to another; and particularly, how it is so
ordered by the wisdom of the Creator, that those parts, which are most
necessary for the preservation of life, which, if hurt, would occasion
immediate death, are placed most inward, that they might be sufficiently
defended from all external injuries that might befal them; and also the
disposition of those parts, that are the organs of sense, and their
contexture, whereby they are fitted to exert themselves, in such a way,
as is most proper to answer the ends thereof. We might also consider the
temperature of the body, whereby its health and vigour is maintained;
and that vast variety that there is in the countenances, and voices of
men, in which there is hardly an exact similitude in any two persons in
the world; and the wise end designed by God herein, for the advantage of
mankind in general; these things might have been particularly insisted
on, and have afforded many useful observations; but to enlarge on this
head, as it deserves, would be to divert too much from our present
design; and it will be very difficult for any one to treat on this
subject with more advantage than it has been done by several learned and
judicious writers, being set in a much clearer light than it has been in
former ages, by those improvements, which have been lately made in
anatomy; and it is insisted on so particularly, and with such
demonstrative evidence, by them, that I shall rather choose to refer the
reader to those writings, in which it is contained, than insist on
it[34].

All that I shall farther observe is, that there is something wonderful
in that natural heat that is continued in the bodies of men, for so many
years together, and in the motion of the heart, the circulation of the
blood and juices, the continual supply of animal spirits, and their
subserviency to muscular motion: these things, and many other of the
like nature, are all wonderful in the bodies of men.

If it be objected, that there are other creatures, who, in some
respects, excel men, as to what concern their bodies, and the powers
thereof; as the vulture, and many other creatures, in quickness of sight
and hearing; the dog in the sense of smelling, and many others excel
them in strength and swiftness; and some inanimate creatures, as the
sun, and other heavenly bodies, in beauty.

To this it may be answered: That the bodies of men must be allowed to
have a superior excellency, if considered as united to their souls, and
rendered more capable of glorifying God, and enjoying that happiness,
which no creatures, below them, are capable of. It is true, man is not
endowed with such quickness of sense, strength of body, and swiftness of
motion, as many other creatures are; some of which endowments tend to
the preservation of their own lives: others are conducive to the
advantage of man, who has every thing, in the frame of his nature,
necessary to his happiness, agreeable to his present station of life,
for his glorifying God, and answering higher ends than other creatures
were made for; so that if we judge of the excellencies of the human
nature, we must conceive of man, more especially as to that more noble
part of which he consists. Accordingly,

2. We shall consider him as having[35] a rational and immortal soul,
which not only gives a relative excellency to the body, to which it is
united, and, by its union therewith, preserves it from corruption, but
uses the various organs thereof, to put forth actions, which are under
the conduct of reason; and that which renders it still more excellent,
is, that it is capable of being conversant about objects abstracted from
matter, and of knowing and enjoying God. And whatsoever obstructions it
may meet with from the temperament of the body, to which it is united,
or what uneasiness soever it may be exposed to from its sympathy
therewith; yet none of those things, which tend to destroy the body, or
separate it from the soul, can affect the soul so far, as to take away
its power of acting, but when separate from it, it remains immortal, and
is capable of farther improvements, and a greater degree of happiness.

We might here proceed to prove the immortality of the soul; but that we
shall have occasion more particularly to do, under a following
answer[36], when we consider the souls of believers, as made perfect in
holiness, and thereby fitted for, and afterwards received into heaven,
having escaped the grave, (in which the body is to be detained until the
resurrection) which is the consequence of its immortality. And therefore
we proceed,

V. To consider another excellency of the human nature, as man was made
after the image of God. To be made a little lower than the angels, as
he is represented by the Psalmist, in Psal. viii. 5. is a very great
honour conferred on him: But what can be said greater of him, than
that he was made after the image of God? However, though this be a
scripture-expression, denoting the highest excellency and privilege,
yet it is to be explained consistently with that infinite distance
that there is between God and the creature. This glorious character,
put upon him does not argue him to partake of any divine perfection;
nor is it inconsistent with the nothingness of the best of finite
beings, when compared with God; for whatever likeness there is in man
to him, there is, at the same time, an infinite dissimilitude, or
disproportion, as was before observed, when we considered the
difference between those divine attributes, which are called
incommunicable, from others, which some call communicable.

If it be enquired, wherein the image of God in man consists? It would be
preposterous and absurd, to the last degree, to suppose that this has
any respect to the lineaments of the body; for there is a direct
opposition rather than similitude, between the spirituality of the
divine nature, and the bodies of men. And, indeed, it would have been
needless to have mentioned this, had not some given occasion for it, by
perverting the sense of those scriptures, in which God is represented,
in a metaphorical way, in condescension to our common mode of speaking,
as though he had a body, or bodily parts; from whence they have
inferred, that he assumed a body, at first, as a model, according to
which he would frame that of man; which is not only absurd, but
blasphemous, and carries it own confutation in it.

There are others, who suppose that man was made after the image of
Christ’s human nature, which, though it doth not altogether contain so
vile a suggestion as the former, yet it is groundless and absurd,
inasmuch as Christ was made after the likeness of man, as to what
concerns his human nature, Phil. ii. 7. and man, in that respect, was
not made after his image.

And to this let me add, that when the scripture speaks of man, as made
after the image of God, it plainly gives us ground to distinguish
between it and that glory which is peculiar to Christ, who is said not
only to be made after his image, but to be the _image of the invisible
God_, Col. i. 15. and the _express image of his person_, Heb. i. 3. and
therefore that there is, in this respect, such a similitude between the
Father and Son, as cannot, in any sense be applied to the likeness,
which is said to be between God and the creature.

Moreover, when we speak of man, as made after the image of God, as
consisting in some finite perfections communicated to him, we must
carefully fence against the least supposition, as though man were made
partaker of any of the divine perfections. It is true, the apostle
speaks concerning believers, as being made _partakers of the divine
nature_, 2 Pet. i. 4. for the understanding of which we must take heed,
that we do not pervert the mind of the Holy Ghost herein; for nothing is
intended by this expression, in which the image of God is set forth, but
a sanctified nature, or, as I would rather choose to render it, _a
divine nature_, derived from, and, in some respects, conformed to him
but yet infinitely below him.

This image of God in man, in this answer, is said to consist
particularly in three things.

1. In knowledge. This is what we generally call the natural image of God
in man, which he is endowed with, as an intelligent creature; not that
the degree of knowledge, which the best of men are capable of, contains
in it any thing properly divine as to its formal nature; for there is a
greater disproportion between the infinite knowledge of the divine mind,
and that of a finite creature, than there is between the ocean and a
drop of water: But it signifies, that as God has a comprehensive
knowledge of all things, man has the knowledge of some things, agreeable
to his finite capacity, communicated to him; and thus we are to
understand the apostle’s words, when he speaks of man’s being _renewed
in knowledge, after the image of him that created him_, Col. iii. 10.

2. It consists in righteousness and holiness. This some call the moral
image of God in man; or, especially if we consider it as restored in
sanctification, it may more properly be called his supernatural image,
and it consists in the rectitude of the human nature, as opposed to that
sinful deformity and blemish, which renders fallen man unlike to him.
Therefore we must consider him, at first, as made upright, Eccles. vii.
29. so that there was not the least tincture, or taint of sin, in his
nature, or any disposition, or inclination to it; but all the powers and
faculties of the soul were disposed to answer the ends of its creation,
and thereby to glorify God.

And to this some add, that the image of God, in man, consisted in
blessedness; so that as God is infinitely blessed in the enjoyment of
his own perfections, man was, in his way and measure, blessed, in
possessing and enjoying those perfections, which he received from God.
But, though this be true, yet I would rather choose to keep close to the
scripture mode of speaking, which represents the image of God in man, as
consisting _in righteousness and true holiness_, Eph. iv. 24.

Man, being thus made after the image of God, is farther said in this
answer, to have the law of God written in his heart, and, power to
fulfil it. Herein God first made, and then dealt with him as a
reasonable creature, the subject of moral government; and, that this law
might be perfectly understood, it was written on his heart, that hereby
he might have a natural knowledge of the rule of his obedience, and
might, with as little difficulty, be apprised of his duty to God, as he
was of any thing that he knew, as an intelligent creature.

And inasmuch as he was indispensably obliged to yield obedience to this
law, and the consequence of violating it would be his ruin, God, as a
just and gracious Sovereign, gave him ability to fulfil it; so that he
might not, without his own fault, by a necessity of nature, rebel
against him, and so plunge himself into inevitable misery.

3. It is farther observed, that the image of God, in man, consisted in
man’s dominion over the creatures. This is expressly revealed in
scripture, when God says, _Let us make man in our image, after our
likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over
the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and
over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth_, Gen. i. 26. and
the Psalmist describes this dominion in other words, though not much
differing, as to the general import thereof, when he says, _Thou madest
him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all
things under his feet: All sheep and oxen; yea, and the beasts of the
field, the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever
passeth through the paths of the seas_, Psal. viii. 6-8. This dominion
consisted in the right which he had to use and dispose of the inferior
creatures, for his comfort and delight, and to serve him, in all things
necessary, for the glorifying his Creator, though he had no right, nor
inclination, in his state of integrity, to abuse them, as fallen man
does, in various instances.

VI. The last thing observed in this answer, is that notwithstanding the
advantageous circumstances, in which man was created, yet he was subject
to fall; by which we are not to understand that he was forced or
compelled to fall, through any necessity of nature; for that would have
been inconsistent with the liberty of his will to what was good, or that
rectitude of nature, whereby he was not only fitted to perform perfect
obedience, but to avoid every thing that has a tendency to render him
guilty before God, and thereby to ruin him.

As for the devil, he had no power to force the will; nor could he lay
any snare to entangle and destroy man, but what he had wisdom enough,
had he improved his faculties as he ought, to have avoided: But,
notwithstanding all this, it is evident that he was subject to fall, for
that appears by the event; so that, though he had no disposition to sin
in his nature, for God could not create a person in such a state, since
that would render him the author of sin, yet he did not determine to
prevent it; though this, as will be hereafter considered, was a
privilege which man would have attained to, according to the tenor of
the covenant he was under, had he performed the conditions thereof, and
so would have been confirmed in holiness and happiness; but this, it is
certain, he was not at first, because he fell: But of this, more under a
following answer.

Footnote 33:

  _This book, which is called, Systema Theologicum, in which this matter
  is pretended to be defended, was published by one Peirerius, about the
  middle of the last century; and, being written in Latin, was read by a
  great many of the learned world: And, inasmuch as the sense of many
  scriptures is strained by him to defend it, and hereby contempt was
  cast upon scripture in general, and occasion given to many, who are so
  disposed, to reproach and burlesque it; therefore some have thought it
  worth their while to take notice of, and confute this new doctrine;
  after which, the author thereof, either being convinced of his error
  thereby, as some suppose, or being afraid lest he should suffer
  persecution for it, recanted his opinion, and turned Papist._

Footnote 34:

  _See Ray’s wisdom of God, in the work of creation, Part. II. and
  Derham’s Physico. Theology, Book V._

Footnote 35:

  The _Origin_ of the soul, at what time it enters into the body,
  whether it be _immediately_ created at its entrance into the body, or
  comes out of a _pre-existent state_, are things that cannot be known
  from any fitness or reasonableness founded in the nature of things;
  and yet it is as necessary to believe this is done according to
  _certain reasons_ of wisdom and goodness, as to believe there is a
  God.

  Now, who can say that it is the same thing, whether human souls are
  created _immediately_ for human bodies, or whether they come into them
  out of some _pre-existent state?_ For aught we know, one of these ways
  may be exceeding _fit_ and _wise_, and the other as entirely _unjust_
  and _unreasonable_; and yet, when Reason examines either of these
  ways, it finds itself _equally perplexed_ with difficulties, and knows
  not which to chuse: but if souls be immaterial [as all philosophy now
  proves] it must be one of them.

  And perhaps, the reason why God has revealed so little of these
  matters in holy Scripture itself, is, because any more particular
  revelation of them, would but have perplexed us with greater
  difficulties, as not having capacities or ideas to _comprehend_ such
  things. For, as all our natural knowledge is confined to ideas
  borrowed from _experience_, and the use of our _senses_ about _human
  things_; as Revelation can only teach us things that have some
  likeness to what we already know; as our notions of equity and justice
  are very limited, and confined to certain actions between man and man;
  so, if God had revealed to us more particularly, the origin of our
  souls, and the reason of their state in human bodies, we might perhaps
  have been exposed to greater difficulties by such knowledge, and been
  less able to vindicate the justice and goodness of God, than we are by
  our present ignorance. HUMAN REASON.

Footnote 36:

  _See Quest._ lxxxvi.



                             Quest. XVIII.


    QUEST. XVIII. _What are God’s works of Providence?_

    ANSW. God’s works of Providence are his most holy, wise, and
    powerful preserving and governing all his creatures; ordering them,
    and all their actions, to his own glory.

In speaking to this answer, we must consider what we are to understand
by providence in general. It supposes a creature brought into being; and
consists in God’s doing every thing that is necessary for the
continuance thereof, and in his ordering and over-ruling second causes,
to produce their respective effects, under the direction of his infinite
wisdom, and the influence of his almighty power. It is owing to this
that all things do not sink into nothing, or that every thing has what
it wants to render it fit to answer the end designed in the creation
thereof. Pursuant to this general description of providence, it may be
considered as consisting of two branches, namely, God’s upholding, or
preserving, all creatures; and enabling them to act by his divine
concourse or influence: and his governing or ordering them, and all
their actions, for his own glory.

I. That God upholds all things. This he is expressly said to do, _by the
word of his power_, Heb. i. 3. and it may be farther evinced, if we
consider that God alone is independent, and self-sufficient, therefore
the idea of a creature implies in it dependence; that which depended on
God for its being, must depend on him for the continuance thereof. If
any creature, in this lower world, could preserve itself, then surely
this might be said of man, the most excellent part thereof; But it is
certain, that man cannot preserve himself; for if he could, he would not
be subject to those decays of nature, or those daily infirmities, which
all are liable unto; and he would, doubtless preserve himself from
dying, for that is agreeable to the dictates of nature, which would,
were it possible for him to do it, prevent itself from being dissolved.
And if man could preserve himself in being, he might, and doubtless,
would, by his own skill, maintain himself in a prosperous condition in
this world, and always lead a happy life, since this is what nature
cannot but desire: But, inasmuch as all are liable to the afflictions
and miseries of this present state, it plainly argues that they are
unavoidable, and consequently that there is a providence that maintains
men, and all other creatures, in that state in which they are.

In considering the upholding providence of God, we must observe, that it
is either immediate, or mediate. The former of these consists in his
exerting that power, by which we live, move, and act, which is sometimes
called the divine manutenency; and this cannot be exerted by a finite
medium, any more than that power that brought all things into being.

But besides this, God is said, according to the fixed laws of nature, to
preserve his creatures by the instrumentality of second causes. Thus
life is maintained by the air in which we breathe, and the food, by
which we are nourished; and every thing that tends to our comfort in
life, is communicated to us by second causes, under the influence and
direction of providence, to which it is as much to be ascribed, as
though it were brought about without means: thus Jacob considers God, as
giving him _bread to eat, and raiment to put on_, Gen. xxviii. 20.
whatever diligence or industry was used by him to attain them; and God
is elsewhere said _to give food to all flesh_; Psal. cxxxvi. 25. and,
concerning brute creatures, it is said, _These wait all upon thee, that
thou mayest give them their meat in due season; that thou givest them,
they gather; thou openest thy hand, they are filled with good_, Psal.
civ. 27, 28.

II. God governs all things by his providence, so that nothing happens by
chance to him. This appears from those admirable displays of wisdom,
which come under our daily observation, in the government of the world.
Many things are ordered to subserve such ends, as are attained by them
without their own knowledge; as the sun and other heavenly bodies which
are a common blessing to this lower world; so the rain, the air,
vapours, minerals, beasts, vegetables, and all other creatures, below
men, answer their respective ends, without their own design, and not by
the will or management of any intelligent creature therefore it must be
by the direction of providence.

That there is a providence, that governs the world, is so obvious a
truth, that it has been denied by none, but the most stupid part of
mankind, who wholly abandoned themselves to sensuality and libertinism,
and hardly owned that there is a God, or such things as moral good or
evil; and these scarce deserve the name of men.[37] All others, I say,
have owned a providence, as what is the necessary consequence of the
belief of a God, and therefore it is a doctrine founded in the very
nature of man; so that the heathen who have had no other light than that
affords, have expressed their belief of it, and have compared the divine
Being to a pilot, who sits at the helm and steers the ship; or to one
that guides the chariot where he pleases; or to a general, that marshals
and gives directions to the soldiers under his command: or to a king,
that sits on the throne, and gives laws to all his subjects.
Accordingly, the apostle Paul, when arguing with the Athenians, from
principles which they maintained, takes it for granted, as what would
not be contested by them, that there was a providence, when he says, _In
him we live, and move, and have our being_, Acts xvii. 28. And, indeed,
this truth appears to have been universally believed, in the world, by
men of all religions, whether true, or false. As it is the foundation of
all true worship; so, that worship, which was performed by the heathen
as derived partly from the light of nature, and partly from tradition;
and those prayers, that were directed to God, and altars erected for his
service, all argue their belief, not only of God, but of a providence;
so that this doctrine is agreeable to the light of nature, as well as
plainly evinced from scripture.

III. The providence of God extends itself to all the actions of
creatures. That this may appear, let it be considered; that there are
innumerable effects produced by, what we call, second causes; this is
allowed by all. Moreover, every second cause implies, that there is a
first cause, that guides and directs it. Now no creature is the first
cause of any action, for that is peculiar to God, therefore all
creatures act under his influence, that is, by his providence. If it is
in God, not only that we live, but move, and act, then there is no
motion, or action in the world, whether in things with, or without life,
but is under the influence of providence. Therefore we shall proceed to
consider the providence of God, as conversant about all things, the
least as well as the greatest, and about things that are agreeable, or
contrary to the laws of nature, and particularly how it is conversant
about the actions of intelligent creatures, such as angels and men.

1. The greatest things are not above, nor the least and most
inconsiderable below the care and influence of providence, and
consequently it must extend itself to all things. The most excellent of
finite beings are but creatures, and therefore they are dependent upon
God, as much as the least: thus it is said, _He doth according to his
will, in the army of heaven, as well as among the inhabitants of the
earth_, Dan. iv. 35. Sometimes we read of the providence of God, as
conversant about the most glorious parts of the frame of nature: it is
by his influence that the sun appears to perform its regular motions; he
hath fixed it in the heavens, as in a tabernacle appointed for it. And
those creatures that are most formidable to men, as the leviathan, which
is represented as the fiercest of all creatures, who abide in the sea,
and the lion of all the beasts of the forest; these are described as
subject to his providence, and receiving their provisions from it, Job
xli. Psal. civ. 21. and the inconsiderable _sparrow_ doth not _fall to
the ground_ without it, Matt. x. 29, 30. and the very _hairs of our head
are all numbered_; which is a proverbial expression, to denote the
particular concern of providence, as conversant about the most minute
actions of life.

2. The providence of God is conversant about those things which come to
pass, either agreeably, or contrary, to the fixed laws of nature, the
whole frame whereof is held together by him: the successive returns of
_seed-time and harvest, summer and winter, day and night_, are all
ordered by him, Gen. viii. 22. the elements and meteors are subject to
his appointment; _Fire and hail, snow and vapour, and stormy wind,
fulfil his word_, Psal. cxlviii. 8. _He looketh to the ends of the
earth, and seeth under the whole heaven, to make the weight for the
winds, and he weigheth the waters by measure; when he made a decree for
the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder_, Job xxviii.
24-26.

And as for effects, that are above, or contrary to the course of nature,
these are subject to, and ordered by, his providence. It was contrary to
the course of nature for the ravens, which are birds of prey, to bring
provisions to mankind, yet these were ordered to bring a supply of food
to the prophet, Elijah, 1 Kings xvii. 4. And the lions, who knew no
difference between Daniel and his persecutors, and were naturally
inclined to devour one, as well as the other, were obliged to make a
distinction between them, and not to hurt the one, but immediately to
devour the other, Dan. vi. 22, 24. And a whale was provided, by
providence, to receive and bring the prophet Jonah to land, when cast
into the sea, chap. i. 17. So the fire had no power over Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abed-nego, when thrown into it, but immediately consumed
those who were ordered to cast them in, Dan. iii. 22, 27.

3. We shall consider providence, as conversant about intelligent
creatures, and more particularly man, the most excellent creature in
this lower world. He is, as it were, the peculiar care, and darling of
providence; as it has rendered him capable of enjoying the blessings of
both worlds, fitted him to glorify God actively, as well as objectively,
and governs him in a way suited to his nature, and as one who is
designed for greater things, than other creatures below him are capable
of. Here we shall consider the providence of God, as ordering the state
and condition of men in this world, and then speak, more particularly of
it, as conversant about the moral actions of men, considered as good or
bad.

_First_, To consider the providence of God, as it respects the state and
condition of man in this life; and, in particular, what respects not
only his natural, but religious interests.

(1.) There is a peculiar care of providence extended towards us, in our
birth and infancy. The Psalmist acknowledges this, when he says. _Thou
art he that took me out of the womb; thou didst make me hope when I was
upon my mother’s breasts; I was cast upon thee from the womb; thou art
my God from my mother’s belly_, Psal. xxii. 9, 10. Providence has
provided the breast, and the most proper food contained therein, for the
nourishment of the infant, at its first coming into the world; and it
has put those tender bowels into the parents, to whose immediate care
they are committed, that, without any arguments, or persuasive motives
thereunto, besides what nature suggests, they cannot, unless divested of
all humanity, and becoming worse than brutes, neglect and expose it to
harm. Thus the prophet says, _Can a woman forget her sucking child, that
she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?_ Isa. xlix. 15.
Therefore, be the parents never so poor, there is something in nature
that inclines them rather to suffer themselves, than that the helpless
infant should be exposed to suffer through their neglect; which is a
peculiar instance of the care of providence. To this we may add, the
time, and place in which we were born, or live; the circumstances of our
parents, as to what concerns the world, especially if they are such who
are religious themselves, and earnestly desire that their children may
become so, and endeavour to promote their spiritual, as well as their
temporal welfare. These are all instances of the care of providence.

(2.) We shall now consider the concern of providence for man in his
childhood, and advancing years. This discovers itself in furnishing us
with natural capacities to receive instruction, which are daily
improved, as we grow in years; and, though every one has not an equal
degree of parts, fitting him for some station in life, that others are
qualified for, yet most are endowed with that degree thereof, as may fit
them for the station of life, in which they are placed, so that they may
glorify God some way or other, in their generation.

(3.) We shall consider the care of providence, respecting various other
ages and conditions of life. It is this that fixes the bounds of our
habitation, determines and over-rules the advantages or disadvantages of
conversation; the secular callings, or employments, which we are engaged
in, together with the issue and success thereof. Again, health and
sickness, riches and poverty, the favour or frowns of men; the term of
life, whether long or short, all these are under the direction of
providence: _One dieth in his full strength, being wholly at ease and
quiet. His breasts are full of milk, and his bones are moistened with
marrow. And another dieth in the bitterness of his soul, and never
eateth with pleasure_, Job xxi. 23-25. Likewise, as to what respects the
injurious treatment we meet with from men; providence is so far
concerned about it, as that it sometimes permits it for the trial of our
graces; and at other times averts the evil designed against us, by
softening their tempers, allaying their resentments; as in the instance
of what respected Laban’s and Esau’s behaviour towards Jacob; or else
finds some way to deliver us from the evil intended against us.

(4.) We shall now consider the providence of God, as respecting, more
especially, the spiritual concerns of his people. There are some kind
foot-steps thereof, that have a more immediate subserviency to their
conversion; particularly, their being placed under the means of grace,
either bringing the gospel to them, or ordering their abode where it is
preached, and that in such a way, as is most adapted to awaken,
instruct, convert, or reprove, as means conducive to that great end.
Moreover, it is very remarkable in casting our lot, where we may
contract friendship and intimacy with those, whose conversation and
example may be made of use to us, for our conviction, imitation, and
conversion.

And to this let me add, that sometimes there is a peculiar hand of
providence, in sending afflictions, which are sanctified, and rendered
means of grace, and have a tendency to awaken men out of their carnal
security. This is one way whereby God speaks to man, to _withdraw him
from his purpose, and hide pride from him_, Job xxxiii. 14, 17, 19.
Sometimes God makes his exemplary judgments, that are abroad in the
world, effectual to warn others to flee from the wrath to come. And as
for the preaching of the gospel, there is a peculiar hand of providence,
sometimes in giving a suitable word, in which case God often over-rules
the thoughts and studies of his ministers; so that they are, as it were,
directed without their own forethought relating to this event, to insist
on such a subject, that God designs to make instrumental for the
conversion of souls. This he sets home on the consciences of men, keeps
it fixed on the imagination of the thoughts of their hearts, and enables
them to improve it to his glory in the conduct of their lives.

_Secondly_, We shall proceed to consider the providence of God, as
conversant about the actions of men. If other creatures are dependent on
him, in acting, as well as existing, then certainly man must not be
exempted from this dependence. There are several scriptures which speak
of intelligent creatures, as under the influence of providence. Thus it
is said, _The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord; as the rivers of
water, he turneth it whithersoever he will_, Prov, xxi. 1. and elsewhere
the prophet says, _O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself;
it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps_, Jer. x. 23. that is,
he cannot manage himself in the conduct of life, either as an
intelligent creature, or as a believer, without supposing the natural or
spiritual influence of divine providence.

Now these actions are considered as moral, and so agreeable or contrary
to the divine law, in which different respects they are, either good or
bad.

(1.) We shall consider the providence of God, as conversant about the
good actions of men; and it is so, not only by upholding the powers and
faculties of the soul, in acting, or in giving a law, which is the rule
thereof; nor is it only conversant about them, in an objective way, or
by moral suasion, as affording rational arguments or inducements
thereunto, but as implanting and exciting that principle, by which we
act; especially, as it respects the work of grace in the souls of men,
which is what we call the gracious dispensation of providence, exercised
towards men, not barely as intelligent creatures, but as believers. But
this we shall not insist on at present, because we shall be led to speak
to it under some following answers, which more particularly set forth
the grace of God as displayed in the gospel. We are now to consider the
actions of men in a more general view; which, when we style them good,
it is only as containing in them a less degree of conformity to the
divine law; but refer the consideration of the goodness of actions, as
under the influence of special grace, to its proper place. All that we
shall observe at present is, that every thing that is good, in the
actions of intelligent creatures, is under the direction and influence
of providence. This does not carry the least appearance of a reflection
on the divine perfections, while we suppose God to be the Governor of
intelligent creatures, acting as such; and therefore, I presume, it will
not be much contested, by any who allow a providence in general. But,

(2.) We shall proceed to consider the providence of God, as conversant
about evil actions. This is a subject which contains in it a very great
difficulty; for we must use the utmost caution, lest we advance any
thing that may argue him to be the author of sin; and yet we are not to
suppose that the providence of God is to be wholly excluded from those
actions that are sinful; for there is certainly some meaning in such
scriptures as these, when God says, concerning Pharaoh, _I will harden
his heart_, Exod. iv. 21. and, _Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us
pass by him; for the Lord thy God hardened his heart, and made his heart
obstinate, that he might deliver him into thy hand_, Deut. ii. 30. and
elsewhere it is said, concerning Shimei, _The Lord said unto him curse
David_, 2 Sam. xvi. 10. and, concerning Joseph’s brethren, who sold him
into Egypt, it is said, _It was not you that sent me hither, but God_,
Gen. xlv. 8. and concerning the false prophets that deceived Ahab, it is
said, _The Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy
prophets_, 1 Kings xxii. 22. These, and such-like scriptures, are not to
be expunged out of the Bible, but explained in a way consistent with the
divine perfections; and nothing can be inferred from them, if this be
not, that the providence of God is some way conversant about those
actions that are sinful; but yet it is not in such a way, as either
argues him to be the author or approver of sin.[38] Accordingly I would
choose to express myself, concerning this matter, to this effect: That
the providence of God is conversant about those actions, to which sin is
annexed, rather than that it is conversant about sin itself, or the
obliquity, or sinfulness thereof. Now, that we may understand this
matter, we must distinguish between what is natural, and what is sinful
in an action; the former is from God; the latter, from ourselves. This
is often illustrated by such similitudes as these. The motion of a bowl
is from the hand that throws it; but the irregularity of the motion is
from the bias that turns it aside. So the motion of a horse is excited
by the whip, or spur of the rider; but if it goes lame, the defect, or
halting that it has in its motion, proceeds from an inward indisposition
in the horse, and not from the rider. Others illustrate it by a
similitude, taken from the sun’s drawing forth vapours from the earth,
by that heat, which has a tendency to exhale them; but the stench that
attends what is exhaled from a dunghill, is not from the sun, but from
the nature of the subject from whence it is drawn forth. So the
providence of God enables sinners to act in a natural way; but the
sinfulness, irregularity, or moral defects, that attend those actions,
is from the corruption of our own nature: or, to speak more plainly, the
man that blasphemes, could not think, or utter his blasphemy, without
the concurrence of the common providence of God, which enables him to
think or speak. These are natural actions; but that the thoughts, or
tongue, should be set against God, or goodness, that is from the
depravity of our nature.

Again, to kill, or take away the life of a man, is, in some respects, a
natural action, as it cannot be done without thought, or strength to
execute what we design. These are the gifts of providence, and, in this
respect God concurs to the action. Thus Joab could not have killed
Abner, or Amasa, if he had not had a natural power to use the
instrument, with which he did it. This was from God; but the malice,
that prompted him to abuse these gifts of providence, and his
hypocritical subtilty, and that dissimulation, or disguise of
friendship, which gave him an opportunity to execute his bloody design,
was from the wickedness of his own heart.

Thus having considered, that the providence of God may be conversant
about that which is natural in a sinful action, without reflecting
dishonour on him, as the author of sin; we shall now proceed to
consider, in what manner it is conversant about such actions, by which
we may better understand the sense of those scriptures, which were but
now referred to; and, I hope, nothing therein will be accounted
derogatory to the divine glory, when we observe,

1. That the providence of God may be conversant, in an objective way,
about those actions to which sin is annexed, without his being the
author, or approver of it. Sin would not be committed, in many
instances, if there were not some objects presented, which give occasion
thereunto. The object that presents itself may be from God, when the
sin, which is occasioned thereby, is from the corruption of our nature.
Thus Joseph’s brethren would not have thought of killing, or selling him
into Egypt, at least, when they did, if he had not obeyed his father’s
command, in going to deliver his message, and see how it fared with
them. Providence ordered his going to enquire of their welfare, and
hereby the object was presented to them, which their own corrupt nature
inclined them to abuse; so that, as soon as they saw him, they entered
into a conspiracy against him. In the former of these respects, in which
the providence of God was thus objectively conversant about this action,
God is said to have sent Joseph into Egypt; though every circumstance,
that was vile and sinful therein, was from themselves.

Again, in the instance before mentioned, of Shimei’s cursing David:
Providence was conversant about this action, so far, as it ordered that
David should come by at that time when Shimei was there, otherwise he
would not have cursed him; and when it is said, in the scripture but now
mentioned, _The Lord said unto Shimei, Curse David_; the meaning is
this; the Lord hath brought me into so low a condition, that the vilest
persons, who, before this time, were afraid to open their mouths against
me, now take occasion to give vent to their malicious reproaches, as
Shimei did; the providence of God was conversant about this action, in
an objective way. Now, what it is so conversant about, that, according
to the scripture-mode of speaking, God is said to do; as when the
man-slayer killed one, through inadvertency, who was presented as an
object to him, God is said hereby to _deliver him into his hand_, Exod.
xxi. 13. yet in all sinful actions, God’s presenting the object, does
not render him the author of that sin, which is to be ascribed to the
corruption of nature, that took occasion to exert itself by the sight of
it. This will farther appear, if we consider,

(1.) That such an object might have been presented, and the sinful
action not have ensued hereupon: thus the _wedge of gold, and the
Babylonish garment_, were no temptation to other Israelites, who saw
them _among the spoils of Jericho_, as well as Achan, though they were
so to him, through the covetousness of his own temper, and the
corruption of his nature, that discovered itself, and internally moved
him to this sinful action.

(2.) Such objects are not presented by providence, as designing hereby
to ensnare, or draw persons to sin, though God knows that they will take
occasion to sin thereby; but there are other ends of their being
presented, which may be illustrated by a particular instance. God knows,
that if the gospel be preached, some will take occasion to reproach it:
He orders, notwithstanding, that it shall be preached; not that men
might take occasion to do this, but that those, whom he has ordained to
eternal life might be converted by it. So our Saviour appeared publickly
at the feast of the passover, though he knew that the Jews would put him
to death; the end of his going to Jerusalem was not that he might draw
forth their corruption, but that he might finish the work, which he came
into the world about: He was at that time engaged in his Father’s work,
but they performed that which they were prompted to do, by satan and
their own wicked hearts.

2. When the providence of God is said to be conversant about sin, it is
in suffering or permitting it, not in suggesting, or tempting to it; for
no one ought to say, as the apostle James expresses it, _When he is
tempted, that he is tempted of God; for God cannot tempt any man_; but,
when he is tempted, _he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed_,
chap. i. 13, 14. But, so far as the providence of God denies restraining
grace, from whence corrupt nature takes occasion to break forth, it is
conversant about sin occasionally, not effectually; as when the banks,
or flood-gates, that keep the waters within their due bounds, are broken
down, by the owner thereof, who does not think fit to repair them, the
waters will, according to the course of nature, overflow the country; or
if the hedge, or inclosure, that secures the standing corn, be taken
away, the beasts, by a propensity of nature, will tread it down, and
devour it; so if that which would have a tendency to restrain, or
prevent sin, be taken away, it will be committed; and the providence of
God may do this, either in a way of sovereignty, or as a punishment for
former sins committed, without being charged as the author of sin. It is
not the same, in this case, as when men do not prevent sin in others,
when it is in their power to do it, since they are under an obligation
hereunto: But God is under no obligation to extend this privilege unto
sinful men; and sometimes he suffers that wrath, which he will not
restrain, to break forth as having a design, some way or other, to
glorify himself thereby; as the Psalmist says, _Surely, the wrath of man
shall praise thee; the remainder of wrath thou shalt restrain_, Psal.
lxxvi. 10.

3. The providence of God may be said to be concerned about sin, in
over-ruling it for his own glory, and his people’s good: In the former
instances, it discovers itself, before the sin was committed; but, in
this, it is consequent thereunto. This is a wonderful instance of his
wisdom, in that, since the sinner obstinately resolves to rebel against
him, this shall not tend to lessen, but to illustrate some of his
perfections: Thus he over-ruled the wicked action of Joseph’s brethren,
in their selling him into Egypt, to preserve their lives, in the time of
famine; accordingly he says, _God has sent me before you to preserve
life_, Gen. xlv. 5. And the vilest action that ever was committed in the
world, namely, the crucifying the Lord of glory, was over-ruled, for the
saving his people from their sins; and sometimes we read of God’s
punishing the obstinacy and rebellion of men, by giving courage and
success to their enemies against them: Thus Nebuchadnezzar’s success in
arms against the Jews, was ordered by the providence of God, to punish
their idolatry; first, by carrying the greatest part of them captive,
and then, when pursuing those who contrary to God’s order, fled into
Egypt, by destroying or carrying them captive likewise; and, in doing
this, he is called _God’s servant_, Jer. xliii. 10. not as though he had
any religious regard to the honour and command of God herein; but his
design was only to enlarge his dominions, by depriving others of their
natural rights; yet God over-ruled this, for the setting forth the glory
of his vindictive justice, against a sinful people. And Cyrus, on the
other hand, was raised up to be Israel’s deliverer from captivity. His
success in war, which God designed should be subservient thereunto, is
styled, _His girding him_, Isa. xlv. 1, 5. and God promises, that he
would _loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved
gates_: And all this was done with a design that he should give liberty
to his people; though Cyrus had no more religion, nor real regard to the
interest of God in the world, than other kings, who design little else
but the satisfying their own ambition; for it is expressly said, _Thou
hast not known me_. God did not approve of that corruption, which might
give the first occasion to the war, or that injustice that might appear
in it: but, notwithstanding, he over-ruled it, to answer the ends of his
own glory.

In considering the over-ruling providence of God, in order to the
bringing about the ends designed, let it be farther observed; that there
are some things which seem to have a more direct tendency thereunto,
agreeably to the nature of those second causes, which he makes use of,
whereby he gives us occasion to expect the event that will ensue: and,
on the other hand, he sometimes brings about some great and valuable
ends by those means, which at first view, have no apparent tendency
thereunto; but they are over-ruled without, or contrary to the design of
second causes, wherein the admirable wisdom of providence discovers
itself. Thus those things, which, in all appearance, seem to threaten
our ruin, are ordered to subserve our future happiness, though, at
present, altogether unexpected. When there was such a dark gloom cast on
the world, by the first entrance of sin into it, who would have thought
that this should be over-ruled by providence, to give occasion to the
display of those divine perfections, which are glorified in the work of
our redemption? I do not, indeed, like the expression of an ancient
writer, who calls it, Happy sin! that gave occasion to man’s salvation;
but I would rather say, How admirable was the providence of God, which
over-ruled the vilest action to answer so great an end, and brought so
much good out of that, which, in itself, was so great an evil!

We might here give some particular instances of the dispensations of
providence, by which God brings good out of evil, in considering those
lengths which he hath suffered some men to run in sin, whom he designed,
notwithstanding, effectually to call and save; of which the apostle Paul
was a very remarkable instance, who considers this as an expedient,
whereby God designed to _shew forth all long-suffering as a pattern to
them, that should hereafter believe on Christ to life eternal_; and that
men might take encouragement, from hence, to conclude, that _Christ came
into the world to save the chief of sinners_, 1 Tim. i. 15, 16. And the
injurious treatment which God’s people have met with from their enemies,
has sometimes been over-ruled for their good. Thus Ishmael’s _mocking_,
or, as the apostle calls it, _persecuting Isaac_; and, as is more than
probable, not only reproaching him, but the religion which he professed,
was over-ruled, by providence, for Isaac’s good, when Ishmael was
separated from him, which set him out of danger of being led aside by
his bad example, as well as delivered him from that uneasiness, which
his opposition to him would have occasioned: and it was most agreeable
to his future circumstances, whom God designed not only to be the heir
of the family, but the propagator of religion in it.

Again, Pharaoh’s cruelty, and the methods used to prevent the increasing
of the children of Israel in Egypt, was over-ruled by the providence of
God, so that they seemed, after this, to be the more immediate care
thereof; and it is more particularly remarked in scripture, as an
instance of the kind hand of providence towards them, that _the more the
Egyptians afflicted them, the more they multiplied, and grew_, Exod. i.
12.

Again, the inhuman and barbarous cruelty of Simeon and Levi, in slaying
the Shechemites, Gen. xxxiv. 25. brought on them a curse; and
accordingly their father pronounced it, and tells them, that _God would
divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel_, Gen. xlix. 7. which,
in particular, had its accomplishment in Levi’s having no distinct
inheritance, except those cities that were appointed to them, out of
every tribe; but this dividing and scattering them throughout the whole
country, was over-ruled by the providence of God, for the good of his
people in general; so that this tribe, which God had ordained, _to teach
Jacob his judgments, and Israel his law_, Deut. xxxiii. 10. might,
through the nearness of their habitation, be conveniently situated among
them to answer that end.

We might farther observe, that Saul’s unreasonable jealousy and fury,
with which he persecuted David, was over-ruled, by providence, for his
good; as, in his exile, he had a greater degree of communion with God,
than at other times, and, as is more than probable, was inspired to pen
the greater number of his Psalms, and was, as it were, trained up for
the crown in this school of affliction, and so, more fitted to govern
Israel, when God designed to put it on his head.

To this let me add one instance more, and that is, God’s suffering the
persecuting rage of the Jews to vent itself against the apostles, when
the gospel was first preached by them, which was over-ruled by
providence for their scattering, and this for the farther spread
thereof, wherever they came; and the apostle Paul observes, that _his
bonds in Christ were not only manifest in all the palace; and in all
other places_, but they were made conducive to the _furtherance of the
gospel_, Phil. i. 12, 13. And as for that contention that was between
him and Barnabas, at another time, in which each of them shewed that
they were but men, subject to like passions and infirmities with others,
this seems to have been occasioned by a small and inconsiderable
circumstance, yet it rose to such a height, that _they departed one from
the other_, Acts xv. 36-40. Each seemed to be over-much tenacious of his
own humour; but providence suffered the corruption of these excellent
men to discover itself, and their separation to ensue, that by this
means, their ministry might be rendered more extensive, and double
service be done to the interest of Christ in different parts of the
world.

We might descend to instances of later date, and consider how God
suffered the church of Rome to arrive to the greatest pitch of
ignorance, superstition, and idolatry; and wholly to forsake the faith
of the gospel, so as to establish the doctrine of merit, and human
satisfactions; and its leaders to be so profanely absurd, as to expose
pardons and indulgencies to public sale; this, providence was
over-ruled, for the bringing about the glorious Reformation in Germany.
And if it be added, that pride, lust, and covetousness, paved the way
for it here in England; this is no blemish to the Reformation, as the
Papists pretend, but a display of the over-ruling providence of God,
that brought it about by this means.

I might enlarge on this subject, in considering the providence of God as
bringing about wonderful and unexpected changes in the civil affairs of
kingdoms and nations, remarkably bringing down some who made the
greatest figure in the world, and putting a glory on others raised up
out of their ruins; and how all political affairs have been rendered
subservient to answer the ends of the divine glory, with respect to the
church in the world, and the deliverances which God has wrought in
various ages for it, when it was, in all appearance, upon the brink of
ruin, of which we have not only many instances in scripture, but almost
every age of the world has given us undeniable proofs of this matter. We
might also consider the methods which God has often taken in bringing
about his people’s deliverance, when, to the eye of reason, it seemed
almost impossible, and that, either by dispiriting their enemies, or
removing them out of the way, as the Psalmist expresses himself, _The
stout-hearted are spoiled; they have slept their sleep, and none of the
men of might have found their hands_, Psal. lxxvi. 5. or else by finding
them some other work to do for their own safety and defence. Thus when
Saul was pursuing David, in the wilderness of Maon, and had compassed
him, and his men round about to take them, there came a messenger to
him, saying, _Haste thee and come, for the Philistines have invaded the
land_, 1 Sam. xxiii. 26, 27. And sometimes he softens their spirits, by
a secret and immediate touch of providence working a change in their
natural temper and disposition. Thus he provided for Jacob’s escape from
that death that was designed by his brother Esau. And if God intends
that they shall fall by the hand of their persecutors, he gives them
courage and resolution, together with the exercise of all those graces,
which are necessary to support them under, and carry them through the
difficulties that they are to undergo. But these things are so largely
insisted on, by those who have written professedly on the doctrine of
providence,[39] that more need not be added on this subject. I shall
therefore only consider an objection, or two, that is generally brought
against it, by those who pretend to acknowlege that there is a God, but
deny his providence.

_Object. 1._ It is objected against the concern of the providence of
God, with respect to the smallest things in this world, that they are
unworthy of his notice, below his care, and therefore not the objects
thereof.

_Answ._ If it was not unbecoming his power, to bring the smallest things
into being, or to preserve them from sinking into nothing, then they
cannot be excluded from being the objects of his providence. If we
consider the whole frame of nature; it cannot be denied, but that some
things have a tendency to answer the general design of providence, in a
more evident degree than others, and there are many things, the use
whereof cannot be particularly assigned by us, otherwise than as they
contain a small part of the frame of nature. But to say, that any part
thereof is altogether useless, or excluded from being the object of
providence, is a reflection on God, as the God of nature. And therefore
we must conclude, that all things are some way or other, subject to his
providence; and that this is so far from being a dishonour to him, that
it redounds to his glory.

_Object. 2._ It is farther objected, by those who are disposed to cavil
at, and find fault with the divine dispensations; that they are not just
and equal, because we oftentimes see the righteous afflicted, and the
wicked prosper in the world; which is to reproach, if not wholly to deny
the doctrine of providence. This is not only done by wicked men, but
believers themselves have sometimes been under a temptation, through the
prevalency of corrupt nature, to bring their objections against the
equity of providence. Thus the Psalmist says; _But as for me, my feet
were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipt. For I was envious at the
foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no bands
in their death: but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as
other men; neither are they plagued like other men_, Psal. lxxiii. 2-5.
_These are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in
riches_: But as for himself, he says, _Verily, I have cleansed my heart
in vain, and washed my hands in innocency; for all the day long have I
been plagued and chastened every morning_, ver. 12-14. and the prophet
Jeremiah, when pleading with God concerning his judgments, though he
owns, in general, that he was righteous, yet says he, _Wherefore doth
the way of the wicked prosper? Wherefore are all they happy that deal
very treacherously? Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken root;
they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit; thou art near in their mouth,
and far from their reins_, Jer. xii. 1, 2. He could hardly reconcile the
general idea which he had of God’s justice, with the seeming inequality
of the dispensations of his providence; so the prophet Habakkuk, though
he owns that God was _of purer eyes than to behold evil_, and that _he
cannot look upon iniquity_, yet he seems to complain in the following
words, _Wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and
holdest thy tongue, when the wicked devoureth the man that is more
righteous than he?_ Hab. i. 13. And Job seems to speak very
unbecomingly, when he says, _Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest
oppress? that thou shouldest despise the work of thine hands? and shine
upon the counsel of the wicked?_ Job. x. 3. So that, as the wicked
boldly deny a providence, or, at least, reproach it; others, of a far
better character, have, through the prevalency of their unbelief, seemed
to detract from the glory thereof.

_Answ._ To this it may be replied, in general, in the apostle’s words,
_Nay but, O man, who art thou, that repliest against God?_ Rom. ix. 20.
Is there no deference to be paid to his sovereignty, who has a right to
do what he will with his own? Is his justice to be impeached, and tryed
at our bar? Or his wisdom to be measured by our short-sighted discerning
of things, who cannot see the end from the beginning of his
dispensations? It is true, good men have been sometimes tempted to
question the equity of the distributions of providence, as in the
instances but now mentioned; unless we suppose, that the prophets
Habakkuk, Jeremiah, and Job, rather speak the sense of the world, than
their own sentiments of things, and desire that God would clear up some
dark providences, that wicked men might not bring their objections
against them; but it may be doubted, whether this be the sense of those
scriptures or no. And as for the Psalmist, in the other scripture, it is
plain, that he expresses the weakness of his own faith, which was
sometimes almost overset; but, at other times, God condescends to
resolve his doubts, and bring him into a better frame, as appears by
some following verses. But, that we may give a more particular reply to
this objection, let it be considered,

1. That the unequal distribution of things is so far from being a
disparagement to any government, that it eminently sets forth the
beauty, wisdom, and excellency thereof, and is, in some respects
necessary. As it is not fit that every subject should be advanced to the
same honour, or that the favour of a prince should be dispensed alike to
all; so it sets forth the beauty of providence, as God is the Governor
of the world, that some should more eminently appear to be the objects
of his favour than others.

2. The wicked, whose condition is supposed, by those who bring this
objection, to be more happy than that of the righteous, will not appear,
if things were duly weighed, to be so happy, as they are pretended to
be, if we consider the evils that they are exposed to at present, some
of which are the immediate result and consequence of sin, whereby they
are, as it were, tortured and distracted with contrary lusts and
passions, which militate against the dictates of human nature, and
render the pleasures of sin less desirable in themselves: But, when we
consider those tormenting reflections, which they sometimes have, after
the commission thereof, these are altogether inconsistent with peace or
happiness, much more if we consider the end thereof, as it leads to
everlasting destruction: thus it is said, _Even in laughter the heart is
sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness. The backslider in
heart shall be filled with his own ways_, Prov. xiv. 13, 14. Therefore,
the good man would not change conditions with him, how destitute soever
he may be of those riches, honours, or sensual pleasures, which the
other reckons his portion; _A little that a righteous man hath, is
better than the riches of many wicked_, Psal. xxxvii. 26.

3. As for the good man, who is supposed to be in an afflicted condition
in this life, we are not, from thence, to conclude him, in all respects,
unhappy, for we are to judge of his state by the end thereof. He that
looks upon Lazarus, as full of sores, and destitute of many of the
conveniences of life, may reckon him unhappy at present, when compared
with the condition of the rich man, who is represented in the parable,
as _clothed with purple and fine linen, and faring sumptuously every
day_: but if we consider him, when leaving the world, as _carried by
angels, into Abraham’s bosom_, and the other plunged into an abyss of
misery; no one will see reason to charge the providence of God with any
neglect of him, or conclude him to be really miserable, because of his
condition in this present life. Moreover, if we consider the righteous
in his most disadvantageous circumstances, as to what respects his
outward condition; we must, notwithstanding, regard him, as an object of
divine love, and made partaker of those graces, and inward comforts,
which are more than a balance for all his outward troubles; and
therefore we may say of him, as the apostle does of himself, though he
be _unknown_, that is obscure, and, as it were, disowned by the world,
yet he is _well known_, that is, approved and beloved of God; does he
live an afflicted and _dying_ life? yet he has a better _life_, that is
maintained by him: Is he _chastened?_ yet he is _not killed_: Is he
_sorrowful?_ yet he always _rejoiceth_: Is he _poor?_ yet he _maketh
many rich_; has he _nothing_, as to outward things? yet he _possesseth
all things_, as he is an heir of eternal life, 2 Cor. vi. 9, 10.

Footnote 37:

  _It was denied, indeed, by the Epicureans, who were detested by the
  better sort of heathen, and reckoned the Libertines of the respective
  ages, in which they lived; and, though they may occasionally speak of
  a God, yet were deemed no better than Atheists._ Diogenes Laertius
  [Vid. in Vit. Epicuri, _Lib. X._] _in the close of the life of
  Epicurus, gives a brief account of his sentiments about religion,
  which he lays down in several short Aphorisms; the first of which
  begins with this memorable passage_, Το μακαριον και αφθαρτον ουτε
  αυτο πραγματα εχει ουτε αλλω παρεχει, Quod beatum & immortale est
  neque ipsum negotia habet, neque alii præbet; _which expression some
  of the wiser heathen have taken just offence at. And accordingly
  Cicero_, [Vid. ejusd. _Lib. I._ De Nat. Deor.] _referring to this
  passage, says, that whatever veneration Epicurus pretended to have for
  the gods, yet he was no better than an Atheist, and brought a god into
  his philosophy, that he might not fall under the displeasure of the
  senate at Athens: thus he says_, Novi ego Epicureos omnia Sigilla
  venerantes; quanquam video nonnullis videri Epicurum, ne in
  offensionem Atheniensium caderet, verbis reliquisse Deos,
  resustulisse: _And Lactantius observes the same thing concerning him,
  and describes him as a deceiver and a hypocrite_, Hic vero si aliud
  sensit, & aliud locutus est; quid aliud appellandus est, quam
  deceptor, bilinguis, malus, & propterea stultus? _Vid. Lactant. de Ira
  Dei, Cap. 4. And as for the Poets, it was only the most vain among
  them, who gave countenance to immorality, and endeavoured to debauch
  the age in which they lived, that gave out this notion; and, in our
  age, this seems to be one of the first principles of Deism._

Footnote 38:

  Vide ante. Vol. I. p. 532, in note.

Footnote 39:

  _See Charnock, Flavell, Dr. Collings, on Providence._



                              Quest. XIX.


    QUEST. XIX. _What is God’s providence towards the angels?_

    ANSW. God, by his providence, permitted some of the angels, wilfully
    and irrecoverably, to fall into sin and damnation, limiting and
    ordering that, and all their sins to his own glory, and established
    the rest in holiness and happiness; employing them all at his
    pleasure, in the administration of his power, mercy, and justice.

It was observed, in a foregoing answer, that God created all the angels
holy; but, in this, some of them are described as fallen, while the rest
retained their first integrity. And the providence of God is considered,
as conversant about this matter, in different respects. Accordingly it
is said,

I. That God, by his providence, permitted some of the angels to fall.
This appears, by the event, because there are some wicked and impure
spirits, sunk down into the depths of misery, from that state in which
they were created, as the consequence of their rebellion against God.

And inasmuch as it is observed, that it was only a part of the angels
that fell, we may infer from thence; that the dispensation of
providence, towards the angels, was different from that which mankind
was subject to, when first created, in that one of them was not
constituted the head and representative of the rest, in whom they were
all to stand or fall; but the happiness or misery of every one of them
was to be the result of his own personal conduct. As their persisting in
obedience to God was necessary to their establishment in holiness and
happiness, so the least instance of rebellion against him, would bring
inevitable ruin, upon them. Now that which is observed concerning a part
of them, is, that they fell into sin and damnation: thus the apostle
says, in 2 Pet. ii. 4. _God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast
them down to hell._

Their sin, or fall, was wilful; they commenced an open war against their
Creator. Herein that enmity to God, and goodness, took its first rise,
which has, ever since, been expressed by them, in various instances.
Their sin appears to have been wilful, inasmuch as it was committed
against the greatest degree of light, for all the angels are described
as _excelling in knowledge_; and that subtility, which is knowledge
abused, and depraved with sin, that discovers itself in the fallen
angels, argues, that their knowledge, before they fell, was very great,
and therefore their rebellion was aggravated in proportion thereunto.

Moreover, they sinned without a tempter, especially those who first took
up arms against God. Whether others, by their instigation, might not be
induced to sin, we know not[40]: But this is certain, that this
rebellion was begun without a tempter; for there were no fallen
creatures to present a temptation, nor any corruption in their natures
that internally drew them aside from God; and therefore their sin might
well be styled wilful.

And it may be observed, that the consequence hereof was their
irrecoverable ruin. This respects the event of their fall; or that God
designed, for ever, to leave them in that sinful and miserable state
into which they hereby brought themselves. He might, indeed, have
recovered them, as well as sinful man, had he pleased; but he has
provided no mediator, no surety, to give satisfaction for them. The
blessed Jesus is expressly said, not to have taken _their nature upon
him_, thereby to signify that their condition was irretrievable, and
their misery to be eternal.

Now it is farther observed, that the providence of God was conversant
about their sin and fall, in the same sense in which as it has been
before observed, it is conversant about sin in general; which is
consistent with his holiness, as well as other perfections, namely, in
_permitting_, _limiting_, and _ordering_ it, and all their other sins,
to his own glory.

1. He permitted it. To permit, is not to prevent a sin; and to say that
God did not prevent their fall, is to assert a truth which none ever
denied, or thought necessary to be proved.

2. It is farther observed, that the providence of God sets bounds and
limits to their sin; as it does to the waves of the sea, when he says,
_Hitherto shall ye go, and no farther_. How destructive to mankind would
the malice of fallen angels be, were it not restrained? What would not
Satan attempt against us, had he an unlimited power? We have a
remarkable instance of this in the case of Job. Satan first accused him
as a time-serving hypocrite; a mercenary professor, one that did not
_fear God for nought_, in chap. i, 9. and how desirous was he that
providence would give him up to his will, and take away the hedge of its
safe protection? But God would not do this; nevertheless, so far as
Satan was suffered, he poured in a confluence of evils upon him, but
could proceed no farther. First, he was suffered to plunder him of his
substance, and take away his children, by a violent death; but was so
restrained, that, _upon himself_, he was not to _put forth his hand_, in
ver. 12. Afterwards, he was permitted to touch his person; and then we
read of his smiting him with _sore boils, from the sole of his foot unto
his crown_, in chap. ii. 7. But yet he was not suffered to take away his
life. And, after this the devil’s malice still growing stronger against
him, he endeavours to weaken his faith, to drive him into despair, and
to rob him of that inward peace, which might have given some allay to
his other troubles; but yet he is not suffered to destroy his graces, or
hurry him into a total apostacy from God. What would not fallen angels
attempt against mankind, were not their sin limited by the providence of
God!

3. God’s providence ordered, or over-ruled, the fall of angels, and all
other sins consequent hereupon, to his own glory. Their power, indeed,
is great, though limited, as appears by the innumerable instances of
those who have been not only tempted, but overthrown, and ruined by
them. It may truly be said of them, that _they have cast down many
wounded; yea many strong men have been slain by them_. Nevertheless, God
over-rules this for his own glory; for from hence he takes occasion to
try his people’s graces, to give them an humbling sense of the
corruption of their nature, and of their inability, to stand in the hour
of temptation, without his immediate assistance, and puts them upon
imploring help from him, with great importunity; as the apostle Paul
did, 2 Cor. xii. 7-9. when the _messenger of Satan was suffered to
buffet him_, and God took occasion, at the same time, to display that
_grace, which was sufficient for him_, and that _strength_, that was
_made perfect in weakness_, and, in the end, to bruise Satan under his
feet, and to make him more than a conqueror over him.

Having thus considered some of the angels, as sinning and falling, it
might farther be enquired; whether these all fell at once? And here I
cannot but take notice of a very absurd and groundless conjecture of
some of the fathers, and others, who of late, have been too much
inclined to give into it, namely, that though some of them sinned from
the beginning, and these were the occasion of the sin of our first
parents, as all allow; yet, after this, others, who were appointed to
minister to men, were unfaithful in the discharge of their office, and
became partners with them in sin; accordingly they understand that
scripture, in which it is said, _The sons of God saw the daughters of
men, that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they
chose_, Gen. vi. 2. as though it were meant of angels;[41] whereas
nothing is intended thereby but some of the posterity of Seth, who were,
before this, professors of the true religion.

There are, indeed, some, of late, who have given into this notion, and
strain the sense of that text, in Jude, ver. 6, 7. in which it is said,
that the angels, _which kept not their first estate_, &c. _even as Sodom
and Gomorrah, giving themselves over to fornication, are set forth, for
an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire_; the meaning of
which they suppose to be this; that, even as the Sodomites were guilty
of fornication, and were destroyed, by fire from heaven, for it, so some
of the angels were sent down to hell for the same sin: But it is plain
the apostle does not here compare the angels and the Sodomites together,
as guilty of the same kind of sin, but as both are condemned to suffer
the vengeance of eternal fire, and are set forth as warnings to
presumptuous sinners. Therefore nothing more need be added under this
head; it is enough to say, that this opinion is contrary to the
spirituality of the nature of angels; though there are some ancient
writers, who, to give countenance thereunto, have supposed that the
angelic spirits were either united to some bodies, or that they assumed
them for this purpose; but this is equally absurd, and without any
countenance from scripture. Thus concerning the providence of God, as
exercised towards the angels that fell. We proceed,

II. To consider providence, as conversant about the rest of the angels,
who retained their integrity. Concerning these it is said,

1. That God established them in holiness and happiness. These two
privileges are always connected together. It is not said, that they were
brought into such a state, or, like man, recovered out of a fallen
state, for they are considered, as sinless, or holy angels; nor is it
supposed their holiness was increased, since that would be inconsistent
with its having been perfect before: That privilege therefore, which
providence conferred on them, was the confirming, or establishing them
in that state, in which they were created; which bears some resemblance
to that privilege, which man would have enjoyed, had he retained his
integrity, as he would not only have continued to be holy and happy, so
long as he remained innocent; but he would have been so confirmed in it,
that his fall would have been prevented: But of this, more in its proper
place. The angels, I say, had something like this, which we call the
grace of confirmation.

Some have enquired whether this was the result of their yielding perfect
obedience for a time, while remaining in a state of probation, pursuant
to some covenant, not much unlike that which God made with innocent man;
and whether this privilege was the consequence of their fulfilling the
condition thereof. But this is to enter too far into things out of our
reach; nor is it much for our edification to determine it, though some
have asserted, without proving it, while others have supposed them to
have been confirmed, when first created, and that herein there was an
instance of discriminating grace among the angels; so that they, who
fell, were left to the mutability of their wills, whereas they, who
stood, had, at the same time, the grace of confirmation.

I might here have been more particular, in considering what this
privilege imports, and how it renders the fall of those who are
confirmed impossible, and therefore it is a very considerable addition
to their happiness: But since we shall have occasion to speak of the
grace of confirmation, which man was given to expect in the first
covenant under a following answer, and the privileges that would have
attended it, had he stood, we shall add no more on that subject in this
place; but proceed to prove, that the angels are established and
confirmed in holiness and happiness.

This may, in some measure, be argued, from their being called _elect
angels_, 1. Tim. v. 21. If _election_, when applied to men, imports the
purpose of God, to confer everlasting blessedness on those who are the
objects thereof, and so not only implies that they shall be saved, but
that their salvation shall be eternal; why may it not, when applied to
angels, infer the eternity of their holiness and happiness, and
consequently their being established therein?

Again, this may be also argued, from their coming with Christ, when he
shall appear to judge the world; and the joining the saints and angels
together in one assembly in heaven: therefore, if the happiness of the
one be eternal, that of the other must be so likewise. It is also said,
expressly of the angels, that _they always behold the face of God_. And,
when we read of the destruction of the church’s enemies, the angels are
represented as observers of God’s righteous judgments; and then it is
added, that the punishment inflicted on those, who shall _drink of the
wine of the wrath of God_, shall be eternal, and this eternal punishment
will be _in the presence of the holy angels_, Rev. xiv. 10, 11. If
therefore the duration of the holiness and happiness of the angels, be
equal to that of the misery of God’s implacable enemies, as both are
said to be eternal, this evidently proves that the angels are
established in holiness and happiness.

2. It is farther observed, that God employs all the angels, at his
pleasure, in the administration of his power, mercy, and justice. This
leads us to speak concerning the ministry of angels, which is either
extraordinary, or ordinary. Most of the instances which we have thereof,
especially in the Old Testament, were performed in an extraordinary
manner, and sometimes attended with their appearance in a human form,
assumed for that purpose: This may be briefly considered; and then we
shall enquire, whether, though their ministry be not visible, or
attended with those circumstances, as it formerly was, there are not
some other instances, in which the providence of God now employs them
for the good of his church. As to the former of these, we read that God
has sometimes sent them to supply his servants with necessary food, when
destitute thereof, and there was no ordinary way for their procuring it:
Thus an angel brought _a cake_, and _a cruse of water_, to Elijah, when
he was on his journey to Horeb, _the mount of God_, 1. Kings xix. 5-8.
And when Abraham’s servant was travelling to Mesopotamia, to bring a
wife from thence for Isaac, Abraham tells him, that _God would send his
angel before him_, Gen. xxi. 7. and so make his journey prosperous.

Again, the angels have sometimes been sent to defend God’s people, and
to assure them of safety, when exposed to danger: Thus, when Jacob was
returning from Laban to his own country, and was apprehensive of the
danger that he was exposed to, from the resentment of his brother Esau,
it is said, that _the angels of God met him; and, when he saw them, he
said, This is God’s host_, Gen. xxxii. 1, 2. And when the prophet Elijah
was encompassed about by the Syrian army, sent on purpose to take him,
he was defended by an host of angels appearing under the emblem of
_horses_ and _chariots of fire round about him_, 2 Kings vi. 15-17.
Others, when persecuted, and, as it were, delivered over to death, have
been preserved, by the ministry of angels, as Daniel was, when cast into
the _lion’s den_, Dan. vi. 22. Others have been released from their
chains, and the prison doors opened by them; as Peter, and the rest of
the apostles were, Acts xii. 17. compared with chap. v. 19.

Again, sometimes they have been employed to deliver messages, and give
the prophets an extraordinary intimation of future events; as the angel
Gabriel did to Daniel, Dan. viii. 16. And an angel was sent to
Zacharias, to foretel the birth of his son, _John the Baptist_, Luke i.
13.

Moreover, the angels of God have sometimes been employed to give a check
to his enemies, when they have attempted any thing against his church:
Thus the angel met Balaam in the way, when he was riding to seek
inchantments against Israel, _his way_ being _perverse before God_,
Numb. xxii. 32. And another angel was sent, as a minister of God’s
justice, in bringing the pestilence on Israel, for David’s numbering the
people, who appeared _with his hand stretched out upon Jerusalem to
destroy it_, 2 Sam. xxiv. 16. and afterwards withdrew his hand, when God
told him, _It is enough, and_ that _it repented him of the evil_. And to
this we may add, that the angels shall be employed, at last, in
gathering together the elect, from the four winds, that they may appear
before Christ’s tribunal. These, and many other instances to the like
purpose, are mentioned, in scripture, to set forth the extraordinary
ministry of angels.

There are also other instances, in which, though miracles are ceased,
the angels are employed to perform some works in the hand of providence
for God’s people: Thus there are some promises, which seem to be applied
to the church in all ages, of blessings, which should be conferred by
their ministry; as when it is said, _He shall give his angels charge
over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways; they shall bear thee up in
their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone_, Psal. xci. 11,
12. which scripture, though it may have a particular reference to their
ministry to our Saviour, yet it seems to be applicable also to his
people; and that promise, _The angel of the Lord encampeth round about
them that fear him, and delivereth them_, Psal. xxxiv. 7. is applicable
to them in all ages, as well as that in which it is said, concerning the
ministry of angels to infants, that _in heaven their angels do always
behold the face of my Father, which is in heaven_, Matt. xviii. 10.

Moreover, the ministry of angels to dying saints, who are, according to
what our Saviour says in the parable, _carried_, by them, _into
Abraham’s bosom_, Luke xvi. 22. is universally true of all saints. And
it is expressly said, with a peculiar application to the
gospel-dispensation, that the angels are _all ministring spirits sent
forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation_, Heb. i. 14.
so that though their ministry, as to many circumstances thereof, differ
from what it was of old, there being nothing miraculous now attending
it, as formerly there was; yet it remains an undoubted truth, that they
are, and have been, in all ages, made use of, by the providence of God,
in the administration of his power, mercy, and justice.

I shall conclude this head with a few cautions relating to this matter,
as this doctrine is not to be laid down without certain restrictions, or
limitations; therefore,

1. We must take heed, notwithstanding what has been said concerning the
ministry of angels, that we don’t take occasion hereby to set aside the
immediate influence, or concern of the providence of God, for his
church; for whatever may be ascribed to angels, as second causes, our
principal regard must be to him, whose ministers they are; neither are
we to entertain the least thought, as though God had committed the
government of the world, or the church, to them; which the apostle
expressly denies, when he says, _Unto the angels hath he not put in
subjection the world to come_, Heb. ii. 5. therefore,

2. The praise and glory of all their ministry is not to be ascribed to
them, but to him, who makes use of them; nor are we to pretend, at all
times, to determine, that this or that particular dispensation of
providence is by the immediate hand of God, and another by the ministry
of angels; since it is enough for us to say, that, though God does not
need their assistance, yet he sometimes sets forth the sovereignty of
his providence, and evinces his right to employ all his creatures at his
pleasure, as well as gives an additional instance of his care of his
churches, by employing them in extraordinary services for their good;
though we cannot, at all times, distinguish between what is done by the
immediate hand of God, and other things performed by their ministry.

3. Whatever we assert, concerning the ministry of angels, we must take
heed that we do not regard them as objects of divine worship, or
exercise that dependence on, or give that glory to them, which is due to
God alone. Nor are we to suppose, that God employs them in those works
that are the effects of his supernatural or almighty power, in which he
deals with the hearts of his people, in a way more immediately conducive
to their conversion and salvation.

Footnote 40:

  _Some think, that those expressions, which we find in scripture, that
  speak of the_ devil, and his angels, _and the_ prince of devils,
  _import as much; but this we pretend not to determine_.

Footnote 41:

  _This was the opinion of most if the fathers, in the three first
  centuries of the church, namely, Justin Martyr, Origen, Tertullian,
  Clemens, Alexandrinus, Lactantius, Irenæus, Cyprian, and others. Some
  of them appeared to have taken the hint thereof from some MS. of the
  LXX translation, which rendered the words in Gen. vi. 2. instead of
  the_ sons of God, the angels saw the daughters of men, &c. _This
  translation being used by them, instead of the Hebrew text, which they
  did not well understand; though others took it from a spurious and
  fabulous writing, which they had in their hands, called_ Enoch, _or_,
  the prophecy of Enoch, _or rather_, Liber, παρα εγρηγορων, de
  Egregoris, _a barbarous Greek word, used to signify angels, and taken
  from the character given them of watchers, in Daniel. Of this book, we
  have some fragments now remaining, in which there is such a ridiculous
  and fabulous account of this matter, as very much, herein exceeds the
  apocryphal history of Tobit. It gives an account of a conspiracy among
  the angels, relating to this matter; the manner of their entering into
  it, their names, the year of the world, and place in which this
  wickedness was committed, and other things, that are unworthy of a
  grave historian; and, the reckoning it among those writings, that are
  supposed to have a divine sanction, is little other than profaneness
  and blasphemy. Some of the fathers, who refer to this book, pretend it
  to be no other than apocryphal, and, had they counted it otherwise,
  all would have reckoned it a burlesque upon scripture; therefore
  Origen, who, on other occasions, seems to pay too great a deference to
  it, when Celsus takes notice of it, as containing a banter on the
  Christian religion, he is, on that occasion, obliged to reply to him,
  that book was not in great reputation in the church,_ Vid. Orig.
  contra Celsum, _Lib. V. And Jerom reckons it among the apocryphal
  writings_, Vid. Hieronym. in Catal. Script. Eccles. _cap. 4. And
  Augustin calls it not only apocryphal, but, as it deserves, fabulous._
  Vid. ejusd. de Civ. Dei. _Lib. XV. cap. 23._



                               Quest XX.


    QUEST. XX. _What was the providence of God toward man in the estate
    wherein he was created?_

    ANSW. The providence of God toward man, in the estate wherein he was
    created, was, the placing him in paradise, appointing him to dress
    it, giving him liberty to eat of the fruit of the earth, putting the
    creatures under his dominion, and ordaining marriage for his help,
    affording him communion with himself, instituting the Sabbath,
    entering into a covenant of life with him, upon condition of
    personal, perfect, and perpetual obedience; of which, the tree of
    life was a pledge; and forbidding to eat of the tree of knowledge of
    good and evil, upon the pain of death.

In this answer, we have an account of the providence of God, as
respecting the _outward_, and the _spiritual_, concerns of man.

I. As to what respects his outward estate, we have an account,

1. Of God’s fixing the place of his abode, which was to be in paradise,
a very large and most delightful garden, of God’s own planting, an
_epitome_ of all the beauties of nature, which, as it were, presented to
his view the whole world in miniature; so that herein he might, without
travelling many miles, behold the most beautiful land-skip which the
world afforded, and partake of all the fruits, with which it was stored.
The whole world, indeed, was given him for a possession; but this was,
as it were, a store-house of its choicest fruits, and the peculiar seat
of his residence.

We find the word _paradise_ used, in scripture, sometimes to signify a
delightful garden, and sometimes it is taken, in a metaphorical sense,
to signify _heaven_, Luke xxiii. 43. 2 Cor. xii. 4. Rev. ii. 7. by which
application thereof, we may conclude, that this earthly paradise, in
which man was placed, was a kind of type of the heavenly blessedness,
which, had he retained his integrity, he would have been possessed of,
and which they, who are saved by Christ, shall be brought to.

Here we may take notice of the conjectures of some ancient and modern
writers concerning it, more especially as to what respects that part of
the world wherein it was situate; and whether it is now in being, or to
be found in any part of it, at this day. Many have given great scope to
their conception about the situation of paradise, and some conjectures
are so absurd, that they hardly deserve to be mentioned. As,

(1.) Some have thought that it was situate in some place, superior to,
and remote from this globe of the earth, in which we live; but they have
not the least shadow of reason for this supposition, and nothing can be
more contrary to the account we have thereof in scripture.

(2.) Others fancy, that there was really no such place, but that the
whole account we have thereof, in Gen. ii. is allegorical; thus Origen,
Philo, and some modern writers: but no one can justly suppose this, who
duly weighs the historical account we have of it, in scripture, with
that sobriety and impartiality that he ought; for, according to this
method of reasoning, we may turn any thing into an allegory, and so
never come to any determinate sense of scripture, but what the wild
fancies of men suggest.

(3.) Others have supposed, that the whole world was one great garden, or
paradise, and that when man was placed therein, it was so described, to
signify the beauties of nature, before they were lost, by the curse
consequent on sin: But this cannot be true, because God first made man,
and then _planted this garden_, and afterwards _put him into it_; Gen.
ii. 8. and after the fall, he _drove him out of it_, chap. iii. 24. But,
passing by these groundless conjectures, something may be determined,
with more certainty, concerning the situation thereof, and more
agreeable to scripture; therefore,

(4.) It was situate in Mesopotamia, near Babylon, to the north-east end
of the land of Canaan. This appears,

_1st_, From the country adjacent to it, which is called Eden, out of
which the river that watered it is said to proceed, chap. ii. 10. This
country was afterwards known by the same name, and is elsewhere reckoned
among those that the king of Assyria had conquered, Isa. xxxvii. 12.

_2dly_, Two of the rivers, that proceeded from Eden, which watered
paradise, were well known in after-ages, _viz._ Hiddekel, or Tigris, and
Euphrates, especially the latter, of which we often read in scripture;
and it is certain they were in Mesopotamia; therefore the garden of Eden
was there. And, as it was the finest plantation in the world, this was
one of the most pleasant climates therein, not situate too far
northward, so as to be frozen up in winter; nor too near the equator
south-ward, so as to be scorched with excessive heat in summer; this was
the place of man’s residence at first.[42]

But if any are so curious in their enquiries, as to desire to know the
particular spot of ground in which it was; that is not to be determined.
For though the place where paradise was, must still be in being, as much
as any other part of the world; yet there are no remains of it, that can
give any satisfaction to the curiosity of men, with relation thereunto;
for it is certain, that it was soon destroyed as a garden, partly by the
flaming sword, or stream of fire, which was designed to guard the way of
the tree of life, that man might no more come to it; and thereby to
signify, that it ceased to be an ordinance, for his faith concerning the
way in which eternal life was to be obtained. And it is more than
probable, that this stream of fire, which is called a flaming sword,
destroyed, or burnt up, this garden; and, besides this, the curse of
God, by which the earth brought forth briars and thorns, affected this,
as well as other parts of the world; so that, by reason thereof, and for
want of culture, it soon lost its beauty, and so could not well be
distinguished from the barren wilderness. And to this let me add, that
since the flood, the face of the earth is so altered, that it is a vain
thing for travellers to search for any traces thereof, or to pretend to
determine, within a few miles, the place where it was.

Having considered the place of man’s abode, to wit, paradise, we have,

2. An account of his secular employment therein. He was appointed to
dress, or manure it; from whence we may take occasion to observe, that a
secular employment is not inconsistent with perfect holiness, or a
person’s enjoying communion with God, and that blessedness which arises
from it: but, on the other hand, it may be reckoned an advantage,
inasmuch as it is a preservative against idleness, and those temptations
that oftentimes attend it. Notwithstanding, though man was employed in
this work, it was performed without that labour, fatigue, and
uneasiness, which now attends it, or those disappointments, and
perplexities, which men are now exposed to, whose secular callings are a
relief against poverty, and a necessary means for their comfortable
subsistence in the world, which had not man fell, would not have been
attended with those inconveniences that now they are, as the consequence
of that curse, which sin brought with it; as it is said, _In the sweat
of thy face shalt thou eat bread_, Gen. iii. 19.

3. We have a farther account of the provision that providence made for
man’s subsistence; the great variety of fruits, which the earth
produced, were given him for food, the tree of knowledge of good and
evil only excepted. From whence we may observe, the difference between
the condition of man in paradise, and that of the saints in heaven, in
which the bodies of men shall be supported, without food, when changed
and adapted to such a way of living, as is inconsistent with this
present state; which seems to be the meaning of that expression of the
apostle, _Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats; but God shall
destroy both it and them_, 1 Cor. vi. 13.

Here we may take occasion to enquire, whether the fruits of the earth
were the only food which man lived on, not only before the fall, but in
several following ages? or, whether flesh was eaten before the flood? It
seems most agreeable to the dictates of nature, to suppose, that he
would never have found out such an expedient, as killing the beasts, and
eating their flesh to subsist him, had he not received an express
direction to do it from God, which rendered it a duty. And we have a
particular intimation of this grant given to Noah, after the deluge,
when God says, _Every moving thing that liveth_, namely, every clean
beast, _shall be meat for you_, Gen. ix. 3. from whence some conclude,
that there was no flesh eaten before this; and that the distinction,
which we read of, concerning clean and unclean beasts, which Noah
brought with him into the ark, respected either such as were fit or
unfit for sacrifice; or the clean beasts were such as God afterwards
designed for food; and therefore there is a kind of prolepsis in their
being called clean at that time.

The principal reason that induces some to suppose this, is, because we
read, in the scripture but now mentioned, that when God directed Noah,
and his posterity, to eat flesh, and considered this as a peculiar gift
of providence, he said, _Even as the green herb have I given you all
things_; that is, as when I created man at first, _I gave him every herb
bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree,
in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed, that it should be to
him for meat_; but now _have I given you all things_, Gen. i. 29. that
is, have made a considerable addition to your food by giving you a
liberty to feed on flesh; where the manner of expression seems to
intimate, that, in this respect, man’s food differed from what it was
before. This conjecture, for that is the most that I can call it, seems,
to me, to have equal, if not greater, probability in it, than the
contrary, which is the commonly received opinion relating hereunto; and,
if it be true, then we may observe, if we compare the food, by which man
subsisted, with the length of his life, in the first ages of the world,
that the most simple diet is the most wholesome; when men become slaves
to their appetites, and pamper themselves with variety of meats, they
do, as it were, dig their own graves, and render their lives shorter,
than they would be, according to the common course of nature.

If it be objected to this, that man’s not feeding on flesh, was such a
diminution of his happiness, that it seems inconsistent with a state of
innocency. To this it may be answered, that for man to feed on what the
earth produced, was no mortification or unhappiness, to him; especially
if it were, by a peculiar blessing of providence, adapted to, as well as
designed for his nourishment, as being his only food; in which case none
of those consequences would ensue, which would now attend a person’s
being wholly confined thereto. If this way of living was so far from
destroying, or weakening the constitution of men, that it tended, by the
peculiar blessing of God, not only to nourish, but to maintain health,
and was medicinal, as well as nourishing, and so conducive to long life;
and if the fruits of the earth, before that alteration, which they might
probably sustain by the deluge, or, at least, before the curse of God
was brought upon the earth by man’s sin, differed vastly from what they
now are, both as to the pleasantness of their taste, and their virtue to
nourish; if these things are supposed, it cannot be reckoned any degree
of unhappiness, though man, at this time, might have no other food, but
what the earth produced: But this I reckon among the number of those
probable conjectures, concerning which it is not very material to
determine, whether they are true or false.

4. God gave man dominion over all creatures in this world, or, as it is
expressed, he _put them under his feet_, Psal. viii. 6. which not only
argues a superiority of nature, but a propriety in, and liberty to use
them, to the glory of God, and his own advantage. No creature was in
itself a snare to him, or a necessary occasion of sin; for as the
creature at first, to use the Apostles phrase, was not liable to _the
bondage of corruption_, so it was not _subject to vanity_, Rom. viii.
20, 21. by an inclination that he had in his nature to abuse it. And as
for those creatures which are now formidable to man, as the lion, the
tyger, &c. these, as it is more than probable, had not that fierceness
in their nature, before the fall of man, and the curse consequent
thereupon, so that our first parents could make as much use of them, and
had them as much under their command, as we have the tamest creatures.
And it is not improbable, that they did not prey upon, and devour one
another, as now they do, since providence provided the produce of the
earth _for their food_, Gen. i. 30. and therefore, by a natural
instinct, they sought it only from thence; so that the beasts devouring
one another, as well as their being injurious to man, is a standing mark
of the curse of God, which was consequent on sin.

We read of a time in which the church is given to expect, that _the wolf
and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the
bullock, and dust shall be the serpent’s meat; they shall not hurt, nor
destroy, in all God’s holy mountain_, Isa. lxv. 25. which, if it shall
be literally accomplished, is an intimation that it was so at first, as
it contains a prediction of the restoring of this part of nature, in
some respects, to its first estate. But, supposing it only to be a
metaphorical description of the church’s happy state in future ages; the
prophet’s using this metaphor, argues the possibility of the thing’s
being literally true, and that it is a consequence of man’s fallen state
that it is not so now, therefore it is probable, that it was otherwise
at first. Such conjectures as these may be excused, if we don’t pretend
them to be articles of faith, nor think it worth our while to contend
with those who deny them.

5. It is farther observed, that God ordained marriage for man’s help,
and that not only in what concerns the conveniences of this life, but as
a means to promote his spiritual welfare, as such a nearness of relation
lays the strongest obligations to it; and also that the world might be
increased, without any sinful expedient conducive thereunto; and herein
there was a standing precedent to be observed by mankind, in all
succeeding ages, that hereby the unlawfulness of polygamy, and other
violations of the seventh commandment, might evidently appear[43].

II. We proceed to consider the providence of God, as conversant about
man’s spiritual concerns, and that in three respects, namely, in
granting him communion with himself, in instituting the Sabbath, and
entering into a covenant of life with him.

1. Man, in the estate in which he was created, was favoured with
communion with God: This supposes a state of friendship, and is opposed
to estrangement, separation, or alienation from him; and, as the result
hereof,

(1.) God was pleased to manifest his glory to him, and that not only in
an objective way, or barely by giving him a conviction, that he is a God
of infinite perfection, which a person may have, who is destitute of
communion with him: but he displayed his perfections in such a manner to
him, so as to let him see his interest therein, and that, as long as he
retained his integrity, they were engaged to make him happy.

(2.) This communion was attended with access to God, without fear, and a
great delight in his presence; for man, being without guilt, was not
afraid to draw nigh to God; and, being without spot, as made after his
image, he had no shame, or confusion of face, when standing before him,
as a holy, sin-hating God.

(3.) It consisted in his being made partaker of those divine influences,
whereby he was excited to put forth acts of holy obedience to, and love
and delight in him, which were a spring and fountain of spiritual joy.

Nevertheless, though this communion was perfect in its kind, as
agreeable to the state in which he was at first, yet it was not so
perfect, as to degree, as it would have been, had he continued in his
integrity, till he was possessed of those blessings, which would have
been the consequence thereof; for then the soul would have been more
enlarged, and made receptive of greater degrees of communion, which he
would have enjoyed in heaven. He was, indeed, at first, in a holy and
happy state, yet he was not in heaven, and, though he enjoyed God, it
was in ordinances, and not in an immediate way, and accordingly it was
necessary for him constantly to address himself to him, for the
maintenance of that spiritual life, which he had received, together with
his being; and this was not inconsistent with a state of innocency, any
more than the maintenance of our natural lives, by the use of proper
food, is inconsistent with health, or argues an infirm, or sickly
constitution, or any need of medicine to recover it; yet our lives would
be more confirmed, and, if we may so express it, less precarious, if God
had ordained that they should have been supported without these means.

This may serve to illustrate the difference that there is between the
happiness that the saints enjoy, in God’s immediate presence in heaven,
and that which is expected, as the result of our daily access to him, in
ordinances, wherein we hope for some farther degree of communion with
him; the former of these man would have attended to, had he stood; the
latter contained in it, that state in which he was in innocency: but
inasmuch as there can be no communion with God, but what has a
proportionable degree of delight and pleasure attending it; this our
first parents may be said to have experienced, which contributed to the
happiness of that state in which they were, though this joy was not so
complete, as that is which they are possessed of, who have not only an
assurance of the impossibility of losing that communion, which they have
with God at present, but are arrived to a state of perfect blessedness.

2. God sanctified and instituted the Sabbath for man’s more immediate
access to him, and, that he might express his gratitude for the
blessings he was made partaker of, and might have a recess from that
secular employment, which, as was before observed, he was engaged in.
This was therefore a great privilege; and, indeed, the Sabbath was a
pledge, or shadow, of an everlasting Sabbath, which he would have
enjoyed in heaven, had he not forfeited, and lost it, by his fall. But
we shall have occasion to speak more particularly to this head under the
fourth commandment;[44] and therefore all that we shall add, at present,
is, that the Sabbath was instituted as a day of rest for man, even while
he remained in a state of innocency. This appears from its being blessed
and sanctified, upon the occasion of God’s resting from his work of
creation; therefore it was, at that time, set apart to be observed by
him.

_Object. 1._ It is objected, that it might then be sanctified with this
view, that man should observe it after his fall, or, in particular, at
that time when the observation of it was enjoined.

_Answ._ To this it may be replied, that there never was any ordinance
instituted, but what was designed to be observed by man, immediately
after the institution thereof. Now the sanctification of the Sabbath
imports as much as its institution, or setting apart for a holy use;
therefore we cannot but suppose, that God designed that it should be
observed by man in innocency.

_Object. 2._ It is farther objected, that it is inconsistent with the
happy state, in which man was created, for God to appoint a day of rest
for him, to be then observed; for rest supposes labour, and therefore is
more agreeable to that state into which he brought himself by sin, when,
by the sweat of his brow, he was to eat bread.

_Answ._ Though it is true, man, in innocency, was not exposed to that
uneasiness and fatigue that attended his employment after his fall,
neither was the work he was engaged in a burthen to him, so as that he
needed a day of rest to give him ease, in that respect; yet a cessation
from a secular employment, attended with a more immediate access to God
in his holy institutions, wherein he might hope for a greater degree of
communion with him, was not inconsistent with that degree of holiness
and happiness, in which he was created, which, as was before observed,
was short of the heavenly blessedness; so that, though heaven is a
state, in which the saints enjoy an everlasting Sabbath, it does not
follow that man, how happy soever he was in paradise, was so far
favoured therein, as that a day of rest was inconsistent with that
state.

3. We shall proceed to enquire how the providence of God had a more
immediate reference to the spiritual or eternal happiness of man, in
that he entered into a covenant of life with him, under which head we
are to consider the personal concerns of our first parents therein.[45]

(1.) The dispensation they were under was that of a covenant. This is
allowed by most, who acknowledge the imputation of Adam’s sin, and the
universal corruption of nature, as consequent thereupon. And some call
it, a _covenant of innocency_, inasmuch as it was made with man while he
was in a state of innocency; others call it, a _covenant of works_,
because perfect obedience was enjoined, as the condition of it, and so
it is opposed to the covenant of grace, as there was no provision made
therein for any display of grace, as there is in that covenant which we
are now under; but, in this answer, it is called the _covenant of life_,
as having respect to the blessings promised therein.

It may seem indifferent to some, whether it ought to be termed a
covenant, or a law of innocency; and, indeed, we would not contend about
the use of a word, if many did not design, by what they say, concerning
its being a law, and not properly a covenant, to prepare the way for the
denial of the imputation of Adam’s sin; or did not, at the same time,
consider him as no other than the natural head of his posterity, which,
if it were to be allowed, would effectually overthrow the doctrine of
original sin, as contained in some following answers. Therefore we must
endeavour to prove that man was not barely under a law, but a covenant
of works; and, that we may proceed with more clearness, we shall premise
some things, in general, concerning the difference between a law and a
covenant.

A law is the revealed will of a sovereign, in which a debt of obedience
is demanded, and a punishment threatened, in proportion to the nature of
the offence, in case of disobedience. And here we must consider, that as
a subject is bound to obey a law; so he cannot justly be deprived of
that which he has a natural right to, but in case of disobedience;
therefore obedience to a law gives him a right to impunity, but nothing
more than this; whereas a covenant gives a person a right, upon his
fulfilling the conditions thereof, to all those privileges, which are
stipulated, or promised therein. This may be illustrated, by considering
it as applied to human forms of government, in which it is supposed that
every subject is possessed of some things, which he has a natural or
political right to, which he cannot justly be deprived of, unless he
forfeit them by violating the law, which, as a subject, he was obliged
to obey; therefore, though his obedience give him a right to impunity,
or to the undisturbed possession of his life and estate, yet this does
not entitle him to any privilege, which he had no natural right to. A
king is not obliged to advance a subject to great honours, because he
has not forfeited his life and estate by rebellion: but in case he had
promised him, as an act of favour, that he would confer such honours
upon him, upon condition of his yielding obedience in some particular
instances, then he would have a right to them, not as yielding obedience
to a law, but as fulfilling the conditions of a covenant.

This may be farther illustrated, by considering the case of
Mephibosheth. He had a natural and legal right to his life and estate,
which descended to him from his father Jonathan, because he behaved
himself peaceably, and had not rebelled against David; but this did not
entitle him to those special favours which David conferred upon him,
such as _eating bread at his table continually_, 2 Sam. ix. 13. for
those were the result of a covenant between David and Jonathan; in which
David promised, that he would shew kindness to his house after him. Now,
to apply this to our present case, if we consider our first parents only
as under a law, their perfect obedience to it, it is true, would have
given them a right to impunity, since punishment supposes a crime;
therefore God could not, consistently with his perfections, have
punished them, had they not rebelled against him. I do not say, that God
could not, in consistency with his perfections, have taken away the
blessings that he conferred upon them, as creatures, in a way of
sovereignty, but this he could not do as a judge; so that man would have
been entirely exempted from punishment, as long as he had stood. But
this would not, in the least, have entitled him to any superadded
happiness, unless there had been a promise made, which gave him ground
to expect it, in case he yielded obedience; and if there were, then that
dispensation, which before contained the form of a law, having this
circumstance added to it, would afterwards contain the form of a
covenant, and so give him a right to that super-added happiness promised
therein, according to the tenor of that covenant. Therefore, if we can
prove (which we shall endeavour to do, before we dismiss this subject)
not only that man was obliged to yield perfect obedience, as being under
a law; but that he was given to expect a super-added happiness,
consisting either in the grace of confirmation in his present state, or
in the heavenly blessedness; then it will follow, that he would have had
a right to it, in case of yielding that obedience, according to the
tenor of this dispensation, as containing in it the nature of a
covenant.

This I apprehend to be the just difference between a law and a covenant,
as applicable to this present argument, and consequently must conclude,
that the dispensation man was under, contained both the ideas of a law
and a covenant: his relation to God, as a creature, obliged him to yield
perfect obedience to the divine will, as containing the form of a law;
and this perfect obedience, had it been performed, would have given him
a right to the heavenly blessedness, by virtue of that promise, which
God was pleased to give to man in this dispensation, as it contained in
it the nature of a covenant. And this will farther appear, when we
consider,

(2.) The blessing promised in this covenant, namely, life. This, in
scripture, is used sometimes to signify temporal, and, at other times,
spiritual and eternal blessings: we have both these senses joined
together in the apostle’s words, where we read of _the life that now is,
and that which is to come_, 1 Tim. iv. 8. Moreover, sometimes life and
blessing, or blessedness, are put together, and opposed to death, as
containing in it all the ingredients of evil, Deut. xxx. 19. in which
scripture, when Moses exhorts them to choose life, he doth not barely
intend a natural life, or outward blessings, for these there is no one
but chooses, whereas many are hardly persuaded to make choice of
spiritual life.

In this head we are upon, we consider life, as including in it, both
spiritual and eternal blessedness; so it is to be understood, when our
Saviour says, _Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth
unto life_; Matt. vii. 14. and elsewhere, _If thou wilt enter into life,
keep the commandments_, chap. xix. 17. We must therefore conclude, that
Adam having such a promise as this made to him, upon condition of
perfect obedience, he was given to expect some privileges, which he was
not then possessed of, which included in them the enjoyment of the
heavenly blessedness; therefore this dispensation, that he was under,
may well be called a covenant of life.

But, since this is so necessary a subject to be insisted on, we shall
offer some arguments to prove it. Some have thought that it might be
proved from Hos. vi. 7. which they choose to render, _They, like Adam,
have transgressed the covenant_; from whence they conclude, that Adam
was under a covenant; and so they suppose that the word Adam is taken
for the proper name of our first parent, as it is probable it is
elsewhere, _viz._ when Job says, _If I covered my transgressions, as
Adam_, Job xxxi. 33. alluding to those trifling excuses which Adam made,
to palliate his sin, immediately after his fall, Gen. iii. 12. And there
are some expositors who conclude, that this is no improbable sense of
this text:[46] yet I would not lay much stress on it; because the words
may be rendered as they are in our translation, _They, like men_, &c.
_q. d._ according to the custom of vain man, they have _transgressed the
covenant_; or, they are no better than the rest of mankind, who are
disposed to break covenant with God. In the same sense the apostle uses
the words, when reproving the Corinthians, he says, _Are ye not carnal,
and walk as men_, 1 Cor. iii. 3.

Therefore, passing this by, let us enquire, whether it may not, in some
measure, be proved from that scripture, which is often brought for this
purpose, _In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die_, Gen.
ii. 17. from whence it is argued, that, if man had retained his
integrity, he would have been made partaker of the heavenly blessedness.
Many, indeed, are so far from thinking this an argument to prove this
matter, that they bring it as an objection against it, as though God had
given man hereby to understand, that he was not, pursuant to the nature
of a covenant, to expect any farther degree of happiness than what he
was already possessed of; but, agreeably to the sanction of a law, death
was to be inflicted, in case of disobedience; and life, that is, the
state in which he was created, should be continued, as long as he
retained his integrity. As when a legislator threatens his subjects with
death, in case they are guilty of rebellion, nothing can be inferred
from thence, but that, if they do not rebel, they shall be continued in
the quiet possession of what they had a natural right to, as subjects,
and not that they should be advanced to a higher degree of dignity. This
sense of the text, indeed, enervates the force of the argument, taken
from it, to prove, that man was under a covenant. But yet I would not
wholly give it up, as containing in it nothing to support the argument
we are defending. For this threatening was denounced, not only to
signify God’s will to punish sin, or the certain event that should
follow upon it, but as a motive to obedience; and therefore it includes
in it a promise of life, in case he retained his integrity.

The question therefore is; what is meant by this life? or, whether it
has any respect to the heavenly blessedness? In answer to which, I see
no reason to conclude but that it has; since that is so often understood
by the word _life_ in scripture: thus it is said, _Hear and your soul
shall live_, Isa. lv. 3. and, _If thou wilt enter into life, keep the
commandments_, Matt. xix. 17, and in many other places; therefore why
should not _life_, in this place, be taken in the same sense? So, on the
other hand, when death is threatened, in several scriptures it implies a
privation of the heavenly blessedness, and not barely a loss of those
blessings, which we are actually possessed of.

Moreover, Adam could not but know God to be the Fountain of blessedness,
otherwise he would have been very defective in knowledge; and, when he
looked into himself, he would find that he was capable of a greater
degree of blessedness, than he did at present enjoy, and (which was yet
more) he had a desire thereof implanted in his very nature. Now what can
be inferred from hence, but that he would conclude that God, who gave
him these enlarged desires, after some farther degree of happiness
arising from communion with him, would give him to expect it, in case he
retained that holiness, which was implanted in his nature?

But, that it may farther appear that our first parents were given to
expect a greater degree of happiness, and consequently that the
dispensation, that they were under, was properly federal, let it be
considered; that the advantages which Christ came into the world to
procure for his people, which are promised to them, in the second
covenant, are, for substance,[47] the same with those which man would
have enjoyed, had he not fallen; for _he came to seek and to save that
which was lost_, and to procure the recovery of forfeited blessings. But
Christ came into the world to purchase eternal life for them; therefore
this would have been enjoyed, if there had been no need of purchasing
it, _viz._ if man had retained his integrity.

The apostle, speaking of the end of Christ’s coming into the world,
observes, Gal. iii. 13, 14. not only, that it was to _redeem us from the
curse_, or the condemning sentence _of the law_, but that his redeemed
ones might be made partakers of the _blessing of Abraham_, which was a
very comprehensive one, including in it, that God would be _his God, his
shield, and exceeding great reward_, Gen. xvii. 7. compared with chap.
xv. 1. and the same apostle elsewhere speaks of Christ’s having
_redeemed them that were under the law_, that is, the curse of the
violated law, or covenant, _that we might receive the adoption of sons_,
Gal. iv. 4, 5. that is, that we might be made partakers of all the
privileges of God’s children, which certainly include in them eternal
life.

Again, there is another scripture that farther supports this argument,
taken from Rom. viii. 3, 4. _What the law could not do, in that it was
weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of
sinful flesh, and, for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, that the
righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us_; which is as though
he should say, according to the tenor of the first covenant, eternal
life was not to be expected, since it was become weak, or could not give
it, because man could not yield perfect obedience, which was the
condition thereof: But God’s sending his own Son to perform this
obedience for us, was an expedient for our attaining that life, which we
could not otherwise have enjoyed. This seems to be the general scope and
design of the apostle in this text; and it is agreeable to the sense of
many other scriptures, that speak of the advantages that believers
attain by Christ’s death, as compared with the disadvantages which man
sustained by Adam’s fall; therefore it follows, that, had Adam stood,
he, and all his posterity, would have attained eternal life.

Thus we have endeavoured to prove, that God entered into covenant with
Adam, inasmuch as he was given to expect, that, if he had yielded
perfect obedience, he should have been possessed of the heavenly
blessedness. But supposing this be not allowed of, and the arguments
brought to prove it are reckoned inconclusive, it would be sufficient to
our present purpose, and would argue the dispensation that Adam was
under to be that of a covenant, if God had only promised him the grace
of confirmation, and not to transplant him from the earthly to the
heavenly paradise; for such a privilege as this, which would have
rendered his fall impossible, would have contained so advantageous a
circumstance attending the state in which he was, as would have plainly
proved the dispensation he was under to be federal. Therefore, before we
dismiss this head, we shall endeavour to make that appear, and consider,

1. That to be confirmed in a state of holiness and happiness, was
necessary to render that state of blessedness, in which he was created
compleat; for whatever advantages he was possessed of, it would have
been a great allay to them to consider, that it was possible for him to
lose them, or through any act of inadvertency, in complying with a
temptation to fall, and ruin himself for ever. If the saints in heaven,
who are advanced to a greater degree of blessedness, were not confirmed
in it; if it was possible for them to lose, or fall from it, it would
render their joy incomplete; much more would the happiness of Adam have
been so, if he had been to have continued for ever; without this
privilege.

2. If he had not had ground to expect the grace of confirmation in
holiness and happiness, upon his yielding perfect obedience, then this
perfect obedience, could not, in any respect, in propriety of speaking,
be said to have been conditional, unless you suppose it a condition of
the blessings which he was then possessed of; which seems not so
agreeable to the idea contained in the word _condition_, which is
considered as a motive to excite obedience, taken from some blessing,
which would be consequent thereupon. But, if this be not allowed to have
sufficient weight in it, let me add,

3. That it is agreeable to, and tends very much to advance the glory of
the divine goodness, for God not to leave an innocent creature in a
state of perpetual uncertainty, as to the continuance of his holiness
and happiness; which he would have done, had he not promised him the
grace of confirmation, whereby he would, by his immediate interposure,
have prevented every thing that might have occasioned his fall.

4. This may be farther argued, from the method of God’s dealing with
other sinless creatures, whom he designed to make completely blessed,
and so monuments of his abundant goodness. Thus he dealt with the holy
angels, and thus he will deal with his saints, in another world; the
former are, the other shall be, when arrived there, confirmed in
holiness and happiness; and why should we suppose, that the goodness of
God should be less glorified towards man at first, had he retained his
integrity? Moreover, this will farther appear, if we consider,

5. That the dispensation of providence, which Adam was under, seems to
carry in it the nature of a state of probation. If he was a probationer,
it must either be for the heavenly glory, or, at least, for a farther
degree of happiness, containing in it this grace of confirmation, which
is the least that can be supposed, if there were any promise given him;
and, if all other dispensations of providence, towards man, contain so
many great and precious promises in them, as it is certain they do; can
we suppose that man, in his state of innocency, had no promise given
him? And, if he had, then I cannot but conclude, that God entered into
covenant with him, which was the thing to be proved.

_Object. 1._ The apostle, in some of the scriptures but now referred to,
calls the dispensation, that Adam was under, _a law_; therefore we have
no ground to call it a covenant.

_Answ._ It is true, it is often called a _law_; but let it be
considered, that it had two ideas included in it, which are not opposite
to, or inconsistent with each other, namely, that of a law, and a
covenant. As man was under a natural and indispensable obligation to
yield perfect obedience, and was liable to eternal death, in case of
disobedience, it had in it the form and sanction of a law; and this is
not inconsistent with any thing that has been before suggested, in which
we have endeavoured to maintain, that, besides this, there was something
added to it that contained the nature of a covenant, which is all that
we pretend to prove; and therefore the dispensation may justly take its
denomination from one or the other idea, provided, when one is
mentioned, the other be not excluded. If we call it a law, it was such a
law, as had a promise of super-added blessedness annexed to it; or if
we, on the other hand, call it a covenant, it had, notwithstanding, the
obligation of a law, since it was made with a subject, who was bound,
without regard to his arbitrary choice in this matter, to fulfil the
demands thereof.

_Object. 2._ It is farther objected, against what has been said
concerning man’s having a promise of the heavenly blessedness given him,
upon condition of obedience, that this is a privilege peculiarly adapted
to the gospel-dispensation; and that our Saviour was the first that made
it known to the world, as the apostle says, that _life and immortality
is brought to light through the gospel, and made manifest, by the
appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ_, 2 Tim. i. 10. and therefore it
was not made known by the law, and consequently there was no promise
thereof made to Adam in innocency; and the apostle says elsewhere, that
_the way into the holiest of all_, that is, into heaven, _was not yet
made manifest, while the first tabernacle was yet standing_, till Christ
came, _who obtained eternal redemption for us_, Heb. ix. 8, 11, 12. From
whence they argue, that we have no reason to conclude that Adam had any
promise, or expectation, founded thereon, of the heavenly blessedness;
and consequently the argument taken from thence to prove, that the
dispensation he was under, was that of a covenant, is not conclusive.

_Answ._ It seems very strange, that any should infer, from the
scriptures mentioned in the objection, that eternal life was altogether
unknown in the world till Christ came into it, inasmuch as the meaning
of those scriptures is plainly this: in the former of them, when the
apostle speaks of _life and immortality as brought to light by the
gospel_, nothing else can be intended, but that this is more fully
revealed by the gospel, than it was before; or, that Christ revealed
this as a purchased possession, in which respect it could not be
revealed before. And, if this be opposed to the revelation given to Adam
of life and immortality, in the first covenant; it may be
notwithstanding, distinguished from it: for though the heavenly
blessedness was contained therein: yet it was not considered, as
including in it the idea of salvation, as it does to us when revealed in
the gospel.

As to the latter of those scriptures, concerning _the way into the
holiest of all_, that is, into heaven, _not being made manifest while
the first tabernacle was yet standing_, the meaning thereof is, that the
way of our redemption, by Jesus Christ, was not so clearly revealed, or
with those circumstances of glory under the ceremonial law, as it is by
the gospel; or, at least, whatever discoveries were made thereof, yet
the promises had not their full accomplishment, till Christ came and
erected the gospel-dispensation; this, therefore, doth not, in the
least, militate against the argument we are maintaining. Thus concerning
the blessing promised in this covenant, namely, life, by which it
farther appears to be a federal dispensation.

(3.) We are now to consider the condition of man’s obtaining this
blessing, which, as it is expressed in this answer, was personal,
perfect, and perpetual obedience.

1. He was obliged to perform obedience, which was agreeable to his
character, as a subject, and thereby to own the sovereignty of his
Creator, and Lawgiver, and the equity of his law, and his right to
govern him, according to it, which obligation was natural, necessary,
and indispensible.

2. This obedience was to be personal, that is, not performed by any
other in his behalf, and imputed to him, as his obedience was to be
imputed to all his posterity; and therefore, in that respect, it would
not have been personal, as applied to them; but as the obedience of
Christ is imputed to us in the second covenant.

3. It was to be perfect, without the least defect, and that both in
heart and life. He was obliged to do every thing that God required, as
well as abstain from every thing that he forbade him; therefore we are
not to suppose, that it was only his eating the forbidden fruit that
would ruin him, though that was the particular sin by which he fell;
since his doing any other thing, that was in itself sinful, or his
neglecting any thing that was required, would equally have occasioned
his fall.

But since we are considering man’s obligation to yield obedience to the
divine law, it follows from hence, that it was necessary that there
should be an intimation given of the rule, or matter of his obedience,
and consequently that the law of God should be made known to him; for it
is absolutely necessary, not only that a law should be enacted, but
promulgated, before the subject is bound to obey it. Now the law of God
was made known to man two ways, agreeable to the twofold distinction
thereof.

_1st_, The law of nature was written on his heart, in which the wisdom
of God did as much discover itself, as in the subject matter of this
law. In this respect, the whole law of nature might be said to be made
known to him at once; the knowledge of which was communicated to him,
with the powers and faculties of his soul, and was, as it were,
instamped on his nature; so that he might as well plead, that he was not
an intelligent creature, as that he was destitute of the knowledge of
this law.

_2dly_, As there were, besides this, several other positive laws, that
man was obliged to yield obedience to, though these could not, properly
speaking, be said to be written on his heart; yet he had the knowledge
hereof communicated to him. Whether this was done all at once, or at
various times, it is not for us to determine; however, this we must
conclude, that these positive laws could not be known in a way of
reasoning, as the law of nature might. But, since we have sufficient
ground to conclude, that God was pleased, in different ways and times,
to communicate his mind and will to man, we are not to suppose that he
was destitute of the knowledge of all those positive laws, that he was
obliged to obey.

What the number of these laws was, we know not; but, as there have been,
in all ages, various positive laws relating to instituted worship,
doubtless, Adam had many such laws revealed to him though not mentioned
in scripture. This I cannot but observe, because some persons use such
modes of speaking about this matter, as though there were no other
positive law, that man was obliged to obey but that of his not eating of
the tree of knowledge of good and evil, or, together with it, that which
related to the observation of the sabbath.[48]

4. The obedience, which man was to perform, was to be perpetual; by
which we are not to understand, that it was to be performed to eternity,
under the notion of a condition of the covenant, though it certainly
was, as this covenant contained in it the obligation of a law. The
reason of this is very obvious; for, when any thing is performed, as a
condition of obtaining a subsequent blessing it is supposed that this
blessing is not to be conferred till the condition is performed. But
that is inconsistent with the eternal duration of this obedience, on the
performance whereof the heavenly blessedness was to be conferred; and
therefore, though divines often use the word _perpetual_, when treating
on this subject, it must be understood with this limitation, that man
was to obey, without any interruption or defect, so long as he remained
in a state of probation; and this obedience had a peculiar reference to
the dispensation, as it was federal: but, when this state of trial was
over, and the blessing, promised on this condition, conferred, then,
though the same obedience was to be performed to eternity, it would not
be considered as the condition of a covenant, but as the obligation of a
law. And this leads us to enquire,

Whether we may not, with some degree of probability, without being
guilty of a sinful curiosity, determine any thing relating to the time
of man’s continuance in a state of trial, before the blessing promised,
at least, that part of it, which consisted in the grace of confirmation,
would have been conferred upon him. Though I would not enter into any
subject that is over-curious, or pretend to determine that which is
altogether uncertain, yet, I think this is not to be reckoned so,
especially if we be not too peremptory, or exceed the bounds of modesty,
in what respects this matter. All that I shall say, concerning it, is,
that it seems very probable that our first parents would have continued
no longer in this state of probation, but would have attained the grace
of confirmation, which is a considerable circumstance in the blessing
promised in this covenant, as soon as they had children arrived to an
age capable of obeying, or sinning, themselves, which, how long that
would have been, it is a vain thing to pretend to determine.

The reason why divines suppose, that Adam’s state of probation would
have continued no longer, is, because these children must then either be
supposed to have been confirmed in that state of holiness and happiness,
in which they were or not. If they had been confirmed therein, then they
would have attained the blessings of this covenant, before Adam had
fulfilled the condition thereof. If they had not been confirmed, then it
was possible for them to have fallen, and yet for him to have stood; and
so his performing the condition of the covenant, would not have procured
the blessing thereof for them, which is contrary to the tenor thereof.
When our first parents would have been removed from paradise to heaven,
and so have attained the perfection of the blessings contained in this
covenant, it would be a vain, presumptuous, and unprofitable thing to
enquire into.

(4.) The last thing observed, in this answer, is what some call the
seals annexed to this covenant, as an ordinance designed to confirm
their faith therein; and these were the two trees mentioned in Gen. ii.
of which the tree of life was more properly called a seal, than the tree
of knowledge of good and evil.

1. Concerning the tree of life, several things may be observed,

_1st_, It was a single tree, not a _species_ of trees, bearing one sort
of fruit, as some suppose: This is evident, because it is expressly
said, that it was planted _in the midst of the garden_, Gen. ii. 9.

_2dly_, The fruit thereof is said, in the same scripture, to _be
pleasant to the sight, and good for food_, as well as that of other
trees, which were ordained for the same purpose. It is a vain thing to
enquire what sort of fruit it was; and it is better to confess our
ignorance hereof, than to pretend to be wise above what is written.

_3dly_, It is called the tree of life. Some suppose, that the principal,
if not the only reason, of its being so called, was, because it was
ordained to preserve man’s natural life, or prevent any decay of nature;
or to restore it, if it were in the least impaired, to its former
vigour. And accordingly they suppose, that, though man was made
immortal, yet some things might have happened to him, which would have
had a tendency to impair his health, in some degree, and weaken and
destroy the temperament of his body, by which means death would
gradually, according to the course of nature, be brought upon him: But,
as a relief against this, he had a remedy always at hand; for the fruit
of this tree, by a medicinal virtue, would effectually restore him to
his former state of health, as much as meat, drink, and rest, have a
natural virtue to repair the fatigues, and supply the necessities of
nature, in those who have the most healthful constitution, which would,
notwithstanding, be destroyed, without the use thereof. But, though
there be somewhat of spirit and ingenuity in this supposition; yet why
may we not suppose, that the use of any other food might have the same
effect, which would be always ready at hand, whenever he had occasion
for it, or wherever he resided?

Therefore I cannot but conclude, that the principal, if not the only
reason, of the tree of life’s being so called, was because it was, by
God’s appointment, a sacramental sign and ordinance for the faith of our
first parents, that, if they retained their integrity, they might be
assured of the blessed event thereof, to wit, eternal life, of which
this was, as it is called in this answer, a pledge; and it contained in
it the same idea, for substance, as other sacraments do, namely, as it
was designed not to confer, but to signify the blessing promised, and as
a farther means to encourage their expectation thereof: Thus our first
parents were to eat of the fruit of this tree, agreeably to the nature
of other sacramental signs, with this view, that hereby the thing
signified might be brought to their remembrance, and they might take
occasion, at the same time, to rely on God’s promise, relating to the
blessing which they expected; and they might be as much assured, that
they should attain eternal life, in case they persisted in their
obedience, as they were, that God had given them this tree, and liberty
to eat thereof, with the expectation of this blessing signified thereby.

Now, to make it appear, that it was designed as a sacramental sign of
eternal life, which was promised in this covenant, we may consider those
allusions to it in the New Testament, whereby the heavenly glory is set
forth: thus it is said, _To him that overcometh will I give to eat of
the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God_, Rev.
ii. 7. and elsewhere, _Blessed are they that do his commandments, that
they may have a right to the tree of life_, chap. xxii. 14. It seems
very plain, that this respects, in those scriptures, the heavenly glory,
which is called the _New Jerusalem_; or it has a particular application
to that state of the church, _When God shall wipe away all tears from
their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor
crying_, chap. xxi. 4. and it is mentioned immediately after, _Christ’s
coming quickly, and his rewards being with him_, chap. xxii. 12. and
there are several other passages, which might be easily observed, which
agree only with the heavenly state. Therefore, since this glory is thus
described, why may we not suppose, that the heavenly state was signified
by this tree to Adam, in paradise?

And, that this may farther appear, let it be considered, that nothing is
more common, in scripture, than for the Holy Ghost to represent the
thing signified by the sign: Thus sanctification, which was one thing
signified by circumcision, is called, _The circumcision made without
hands_, Coloss. ii. 11. and regeneration, which is signified by baptism,
is called, our _being born of water_, John iii. 5. and Christ, whose
death was signified by the passover, is called, _Our Passover_, 1 Cor.
v. 7. Many other instances, of the like nature, might be produced;
therefore, since the heavenly glory is represented by the tree of life,
why may we not suppose, that the reason of its being so called, was,
because it was ordained, at first, to be a sacramental sign or pledge of
eternal life, which our first parents were given to expect, according to
the tenor of that covenant, which they were under?

_Object. 1._ It is objected, by some, that sacramental signs,
ceremonies, or types, were only adapted to that dispensation, which the
church of the Jews were under, and therefore were not agreeable to that
state in which man was at first.

_Answ._ The ceremonial law, it is true, was not known, nor did it take
place, while man was in a state of innocency; nor was it God’s ordinary
way to instruct him then by signs; yet it is not inconsistent with that
state, for God to ordain one or two signs, as ordinances, for the faith
of our first parents, the signification whereof was adapted to the
state, in which they were, any more than our Saviour’s instituting two
significant ordinances under the gospel, _viz._ baptism, and the Lord’s
supper, as having relation to the blessings expected therein, is
inconsistent with this present dispensation, in which we have nothing to
do with the ceremonial law, any more than our first parents had. And all
this argues nothing more, than that God may, if he pleases, in any state
of the church, instruct them in those things, which their faith should
be conversant about, in what way he pleases.

_Object. 2._ It is farther objected, that the tree of life was not
designed to be a sacramental sign of the covenant, which our first
parents were under, but rather, as was before observed, an expedient, to
render them immortal in a natural way, inasmuch as when man was fallen,
yet the tree of life had still the same virtue: Accordingly it is said,
_Lest he put forth his hand, and take of the tree of life, and eat and
live for ever; therefore the Lord God sent him forth out of the garden
of Eden; and he drove out the man_: and _placed cherubim and a flaming
sword, which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life_,
Gen. iii. 22, 23, 24. And some extend this objection so far, as that
they suppose man did not eat of the tree of life before he fell, which,
had he done, he would by virtue of his eating of it, have lived for
ever, notwithstanding his sin: or if, as soon as he had fallen, he had
had that happy thought, and so had eaten of it, he might, even then,
have prevented death; and therefore God drove him out of paradise, that
he might not eat of it, that so the curse, consequent upon his fall,
might take effect.

_Answ._ The absurdity of this objection, and the method of reasoning
made use of to support it, will appear, if we consider, that there was
something more lost by man’s fall, besides immortality, which no fruit,
produced by any tree, could restore to him. And, besides, man was then
liable to that curse, which was denounced, by which he was under an
indispensable necessity of returning to the dust, from whence he was
taken; and therefore the tree of life could not make this threatening of
no effect, though man had eaten of it, after his fall: But, since the
whole force of the objection depends on the sense they put on the text
before-mentioned, agreeable thereunto, the only reply that we need give
to it is, by considering what is the true and proper sense thereof.

When it is said, _God drove out the man, lest he should eat of the tree
of life, and live for ever_; the meaning thereof is, as though he should
say, Lest the poor deceived creature, who is now become blind, ignorant,
and exposed to error, should eat of this tree, and think to live for
ever, as he did before the fall, therefore he shall be driven out of
paradise. This was, in some respect, an act of kindness to him, to
prevent a mistake, which might have been of a pernicious tendency, in
turning him aside from seeking salvation in the promised seed. Besides,
when the thing signified, by this tree, was not to be obtained that way,
in which it was before, it ceased to be a sacramental sign; and
therefore, as he had no right to it, so it would have been no less than
a profanation to make a religious use of it, in his fallen state.

2. The other tree, which we read of, whereof our first parents were
forbidden to eat, upon pain of death, is called, _The tree of knowledge,
of good and evil_. Though the fruit of this tree was, in itself, proper
for food, as well as that of any other; yet God forbade man to eat of
it, out of his mere sovereignty, and that he might hereby let him know,
that he enjoyed nothing but by his grant, and that he must abstain from
things apparently good, if he require it. It is a vain thing to pretend
to determine what sort of fruit this tree produced: it is indeed, a
commonly received opinion, that it was an apple tree, or some species
thereof; but, though I will not determine this to be a vulgar error, yet
I cannot but think it a groundless conjecture[49]; and therefore I would
rather profess my ignorance as to this matter.

As to the reason of its being called the tree of knowledge, of good and
evil; some have given great scope to their imaginations, in advancing
groundless conjectures: thus the Jewish historian[50], and, after him,
several rabbinical writers, have supposed, that it was thus described,
as there was an internal virtue in the fruit thereof, to brighten the
minds of men, and, in a natural way, make them wise. And Socinus, and
some of his brethren, have so far improved upon this absurd supposition,
that they have supposed, that our first parents, before they ate of this
tree, had not much more knowledge than infants have, which they found on
the literal sense they give of that scripture, which represents them as
not knowing that they were naked[51]. But enough of these absurdities,
which carry in them their own confutation. I cannot but think, it is
called the tree of knowledge, of good and evil, to signify, that as man
before knew, by experience, what it was to enjoy that good which God had
conferred upon him, the consequence of his eating thereof would be his
having an experimental knowledge of evil.

All that I shall add, concerning this prohibition, which God gave to our
first parents, is, that, as to the matter of it, it was one of those
laws, which are founded in God’s arbitrary will, and therefore the thing
was rendered sinful, only by its being forbidden; nevertheless, man’s
disobedience to it rendered him no less guilty, than if he had
transgressed any of the laws of nature.

Moreover, it was a very small thing for him to have yielded obedience to
this law, which was designed as a trial of his readiness, to perform
universal obedience in all the instances thereof. It was not so
difficult a duty, as that which God afterwards commanded Abraham to
perform, when he bade him offer up his son; neither was he under a
necessity of eating thereof, since he had such a liberal provision of
all things for his sustenance and delight; and therefore his sin, in not
complying herewith, was the more aggravated. Besides, he was expressly
cautioned against it, and told, that _in the day that he eat of it, he
should die_; whereby God, foreseeing that he would disobey this command,
determined to leave him without excuse. This was that transgression by
which he fell, and brought on the world all the miseries that have
ensued thereon.

Footnote 42:

  Vide Dr. Wells’ _Sacred Geography_, and the _excursions_ annexed to
  it.

Footnote 43:

  _See Quest._ cxxxix.

Footnote 44:

  _See Quest._ cxvi.

Footnote 45:

  If there had been a period in which there was absolutely no existence,
  there would never have been any thing. Either man, or his Creator, or
  one more remote, has been from eternity, unless we admit the
  contradiction of an eternal succession. But because to create implies
  power and wisdom, which we have not the least reason to imagine any
  creature can possess, either man, and the world he possesses, have
  always been, or their maker. The history of man, the structure of
  languages, the face of the ground, &c. shew that man and his
  habitation have not been from eternity; therefore God is eternal. As
  all excellency is in himself or derived from him, his happiness
  depends only on himself; and the worlds he has made, are so far
  pleasing as they exhibit himself to himself. He could have made his
  intelligent creatures all confirmed in holiness, but he chose to
  confer liberty, which was a blessing till abused. He knew all the
  consequences, and that these would exercise his mercy and justice.
  Partial evil he determined should produce universal good, and that no
  evil should take place, but that which should eventually praise him.

  The first intelligent creatures were purely spiritual, and each stood
  or fell for himself. He united in man the spiritual and corporeal
  natures; he formed his soul innocent and holy, and made ample
  provision for the comfort of his body; and as it would have been
  inconvenient to have brought all of the human family, which were to be
  in every generation, upon the earth at one time, and still more so,
  that, every one standing or falling for himself, the earth should be
  the common habitation of beings perfectly holy, happy, and immortal,
  and also of cursed perishing beings, he constituted the first man a
  representative of his race. “Let us make _man_,” the race in one. To
  be fruitful, multiply, fill, and subdue the earth, were directed to
  the race. “In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt die.” He did die
  spiritually, he lost his innocence, became the subject of guilt,
  shame, and fear; and all his posterity inherit the fallen nature.
  Being already cursed, when afterwards arraigned and sentenced, it was
  only necessary to curse his enjoyments in this world. His posterity
  were included, for they are subjected to the same afflictions and
  death. If they had not been included in the sentence “dust thou art,
  and unto dust shalt thou return,” as they were a part of his dust, not
  dying, it would not have been accomplished. That he represented the
  race appears also from this, that the command was given to him before
  his wife was formed, and also because it does not appear that her eyes
  were opened to see her guilt, and miserable condition until he had
  eaten of the fruit; then “the eyes of them both were opened.”

  The remedy was provided before the creation, and nothing can be shown
  to prove that it is not complete in every instance when there is not
  actual guilt. That the woman was to have a seed the first parent heard
  announced in the sentence against the tempter, whilst standing in
  suspense momently in expectation of that death which had been
  threatened. If the plural had been used, this could have been no
  intimation of the seed Christ. Why was the word _woman_ used, which
  excludes the man, and not the term _man_, which would have embraced
  both, unless the Son of the virgin was intended? It is all one great
  whole, perfectly seen only to God himself. “O the depth of the riches
  both of the wisdom and knowledge of God; how unsearchable are his
  judgments, and his ways past finding out.”

Footnote 46:

  _Vid. Grot. in Hos._ vi. 7. _Mihi latina hæc interpretatio non
  displicet, ut sensus hic sit; sicut Adam, quia pactum meum violavit,
  expulsus est ex Hedene; ita æquum est ex sua terra expelli._

Footnote 47:

  _When I speak of the advantages being_, for substance the same, _it is
  supposed, that there are some circumstances of glory, in which that
  salvation that was purchased by Christ, differs from that happiness
  which Adam would have been possessed of had he persisted in his
  integrity._

Footnote 48:

  Yet it is the better opinion, that he was vulnerable only on one
  point.

Footnote 49:

  _The principal argument brought to prove this, is the application of
  that scripture, to this purpose, in Cant. viii. 5._ I raised thee up
  under the apple tree; there thy mother brought thee forth, _as if he
  should say, the church, when, fallen by our first parents eating the
  fruit of this tree, was raised up, when the Messiah was first
  promised. But, though this be a truth, yet whether it be the thing
  intended, by the Holy Ghost, in that scripture, is uncertain. As for
  the opinion of those who suppose it was a fig-tree, as Theodoret,
  [Vid. Quest, xxviii. in Gen.] and some other ancient writers; that has
  no other foundation, but what we read, concerning our first parents
  sewing fig leaves together, and making themselves aprons, which, they
  suppose, was done before they departed from the tree, their shame
  immediately suggesting the necessity thereof. But others think, that
  whatever tree it were, it certainly was not a fig-tree, because it can
  hardly be supposed but that our first parents, having a sense of
  guilt, as well as shame, would be afraid so much as to touch that
  tree, which had occasioned their ruin. Others conclude, that it was a
  vine, because our Saviour appointed that wine, which the vine
  produces, should be used, in commemorating his death, which removed
  the effects of that curse, which sin brought on the world: but this is
  a vain and trifling method of reasoning, and discovers what lengths
  some men run in their absurd glosses on scripture._

Footnote 50:

  _Vid. Joseph. Antiquit. Lib. I. cap. 2._

Footnote 51:

  _Vid. Socin. de Stat. Prim. Hom. & Smalc. de ver. & Nat. Dei. Fil._



                               Quest XXI.


    QUEST. XXI. _Did man continue in that estate wherein God at first
    created him?_

    ANSW. Our first parents, being left to the freedom of their own
    will, through the temptation of Satan, transgressed the commandment
    of God, in eating the forbidden fruit, and thereby fell from the
    state of innocency, wherein they were created.

In this answer,

I. There is something supposed, namely, that our first parents were
endued with a freedom of will. This is a property belonging to man, as a
reasonable creature; so that we may as well separate understanding from
the mind, as liberty from the will, especially when it is conversant
about things within its own sphere, and, most of all, when we consider
man in a state of perfection, as to all the powers and faculties of his
soul, as he was before the fall. Now, that we may understand what this
freedom of will was, let it be considered, that it consisted in a power,
which man had, of choosing, or embracing, what appeared, agreeably to
the dictates of his understanding, to be good, or refusing and avoiding
what was evil, and that without any constraint or force, laid upon him,
to act contrary to the dictates thereof; and it also supposes a power to
act pursuant to what the will chooses, otherwise it could not secure the
happiness that it desires, or avoid the evil that it detests, and then
its liberty would be little more than a name, without the thing
contained in it.

Moreover, since the thing that the will chooses, is supposed to be
agreeable to the dictates of the understanding, it follows, that if
there be an error in judgment, or a destructive, or unlawful object
presents itself, under the notion of good, though it be really evil, the
will is, notwithstanding, said to act freely, in choosing or embracing
it, in which respect it is free to evil, as well as to good.

To apply this to our present purpose, we must suppose man, in his state
of innocency, to have been without any defect in his understanding, and
therefore that he could not, when making a right use of the powers and
faculties of his soul, call evil good, or good evil. Nevertheless,
through inadvertency, the mind might be imposed on, and that which was
evil might be represented under the appearance of good, and accordingly
the will determine itself to choose or embrace it; for this is not
inconsistent with liberty, since it might have been avoided by the right
improvement of his natural powers, and therefore he was not constrained
or forced to sin.

Now it appears, that our first parents had this freedom of will, or
power to retain their integrity, from their being under an indispensible
obligation to yield perfect obedience, and liable to punishment for the
least defect thereof. This therefore, supposes the thing not to be in
itself impossible, or the punishment ensuing unavoidable. Therefore it
follows, that they had a power to stand; or, which is all one, a liberty
of will, to choose that which was conducive to their happiness.

This might also be argued from the difference that there is between a
man’s innocent and fallen state. Nothing is more evident, than that man,
as fallen, is, by a necessity of nature, inclined to sin; and
accordingly he is styled, _a servant of sin_, John viii. 34. or a slave
to it, entirely under its dominion: but it was otherwise with him before
his fall, when, according to the constitution of his nature, he was
equally inclined to what is good, and furnished with every thing that
was necessary to his yielding that obedience, which was demanded of him.

II. It is farther observed, that our first parents were left to the
freedom of their own will. This implies, that God did not design,
especially, while they were in this state of probation, to afford them
that immediate help, by the interposition of his providence, which would
have effectually prevented their compliance with any temptation to sin;
for that would have rendered their fall impossible, and would have been
a granting them the blessing of confirmation, before the condition
thereof was fulfilled. God could easily have prevented Satan’s entrance
into paradise; as he does his coming again into heaven, to give
disturbance to, or lay snares for any of the inhabitants thereof; or,
though he suffered him to assault our first parents, he might, by the
interposition of his grace, have prevented that inadvertency, by which
they gave the first occasion to his victory over them. There was no need
for God to implant a new principle of grace in their souls; for, by the
right use of the liberty of their own wills, they might have defended
themselves against the temptation; and had he given them a present
intimation of their danger, or especially excited those habits of grace,
which were implanted in their souls, at that time, when there was most
need thereof, their sinful compliance with Satan’s temptation would have
been prevented: but this God was not obliged to do; and accordingly he
is said to leave them to the freedom of their own wills. And this does
not render him the author of their sin, or bring them under a natural
necessity of falling, inasmuch as he had before furnished them with
sufficiency of strength to stand. Man was not like an infant, or a
person enfeebled, by some bodily distemper, who has no ability to
support himself, and therefore, if not upheld by another, must
necessarily fall: but he was like a strong man, who, by taking heed to
his steps, may prevent his falling, without the assistance of others. He
had no propensity in nature to sin, whereby he stood in need of
preventing grace; and God, in thus leaving him to himself, dealt with
him in a way agreeable to the condition in which he was. He did not
force, or incline him to sin, but left him to the mutability of his own
will, according to the tenor of the dispensation which he was under.

III. It is farther observed, that there was an assault made on our first
parents by Satan, not by violence, but by temptation; the consequence
whereof was, that, by sinful compliance therewith, they fell from their
state of innocency. It appears very evident, from scripture, that they
were deceived, or beguiled, as Eve says, _The serpent beguiled me, and I
did eat_, Gen. iii. 13. And the apostle Paul speaks concerning it to the
same effect; _The woman being deceived, was in the transgression_, 1
Tim. ii. 14. in which scripture, though it be said, in the foregoing
words, that _Adam was not deceived_, probably nothing more than this is
intended, that the man was not first deceived, or not immediately
deceived, by the serpent, but by his wife; though, indeed, some give
another turn to that expression, and suppose that Adam sinned knowingly,
being content to plunge himself into the depths of misery, in
complaisance to her, in her sorrows:[52] But we rather think, that the
apostle does not speak of Adam’s not being deceived, but rather of his
not being first deceived, or first in the transgression.

Now this deception or temptation, was from the devil, who, because of
his subtilty, is called, _That old serpent_, Rev. xii. 9. chap. xx. 2.
and he is said to make use of _wiles_, Eph. vi. 11. that is, various
methods of deceit in suiting his temptations, so that men may be
ensnared by them; which leads us to consider,

IV. The methods he took to deceive our first parents, as we have a
particular account thereof, and of their compliance therewith, in Gen.
iii. 1-6. in which we shall take occasion to observe who the tempter
was; and the way and manner how he assaulted them.

There are two extremes of opinion, which some run into, which are
equally to be avoided. On the one hand, some suppose that it was a
beast, or natural serpent, that was the tempter, and that the devil had
no hand in the temptation; whereas others suppose that there was no
serpent made use of, but that the devil did all without it, and that he
is styled a serpent, in that scripture, from his subtilty. This we call
another extreme of opinion, and, indeed, the truth lies in a medium
between them both; therefore we must suppose, that there was really a
natural serpent, a beast so called, made use of, as an instrument, by
the devil, by which he managed the temptation, and accordingly that he
possessed and spake by it, which is the most common opinion, and agrees
best with the account given of it in the above-mentioned scripture; and
it is also consistent with what our Saviour says of him, when describing
him as _a murderer from the beginning_, John viii. 44.

That it was not only, or principally, the natural serpent that tempted
our first parents, will appear, if we consider,

(1.) That, though the serpent, indeed, is said to be more subtile than
all the beasts of the field, yet it never was endowed with speech,[53]
and therefore could not, unless actuated by a spirit, hold a discourse
with Eve, as he is said to have done.

(2.) Brute creatures cannot reason, or argue, as the serpent did; for,
whatever appearance of reason there may be in them, it would be a very
hard matter to prove that they are capable of digesting their ideas into
a chain of reasoning, or inferring consequences from premises, as the
serpent did; much less are they capable of reasoning about divine
subjects, who know nothing of God, or the nature of moral good or evil,
as the serpent that tempted Eve must be supposed to have done. But
though the serpent was not the principal agent herein, yet it was made
use of by the devil; and therefore the whole history, which we have
thereof in the place before-mentioned, is not an allegorical account of
what Satan did, as some suppose, without any regard to the part that the
serpent bore therein.

This appears from the curse denounced against the serpent, _Because thou
hast done this_, saith God, _thou art cursed above all cattle, and above
every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt
thou eat all the days of thy life_, Gen. iii. 14. which is only
applicable to the beast so called, and this we see evidently fulfilled
at this day. Some, from hence, infer, not, I think, without reason, that
the serpent, before this, went erect; whereas afterwards, as containing
the visible mark of the curse, it is said to go on its belly. This part
of the curse therefore respected the natural serpent only; whereas that
contained in the following words, _I will put enmity between thee and
the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head,
and thou shalt bruise his heel_, ver. 15. respects the devil, that
actuated, or spake by it; though I am not insensible that some Jewish
writers, and others, who would exempt the devil from having any hand in
the temptation, and throw all the blame on the brute creature, the
natural serpent, give a very jejune and empty sense of this text, as
though it were to be taken altogether, according to the letter thereof,
as importing, that there should be a war between man and the serpent,
that so he might be revenged on him, which should never cease till he
had slain him, or had bruised his head. But it seems very plain, that as
the former verse respects the instrument made use of, _viz._ the natural
serpent, so this respects the devil, and contains a prediction, that his
malice should be defeated, and his power destroyed, by our Saviour, who
is here promised, and described as _the seed of the woman_. From all
which we are bound to conclude, that the devil making use of the
serpent, was the tempter, by whom our first parents were seduced, and
led astray from God, to the ruin of themselves, and all their posterity.

There are several things that may be observed in the method Satan took
in managing this temptation, by which he seduced and overcame our first
parents, of which we have an account in the scripture before-mentioned.

1. He concealed his character as a fallen spirit, and pretended himself
to be in circumstances not unlike to those in which our first parents
were, at least in this, that he seemed to pay a deference to the great
God, so far as to allow that he had a right to give laws to his
creatures; and it is more than probable that this was done immediately
after his fall, and that our first parents knew nothing of this instance
of rebellion in heaven, and did not, in the least, suppose that there
were any creatures who were enemies to God, or were using endeavours to
render them so. Had the devil given Eve an historical narration of his
sin and fall, and begun his temptation with open blasphemy, or reproach
cast on God, whom he had rebelled, against, he could not but apprehend
that our first parents would have treated him with the utmost
abhorrence, and fled from him as an open enemy; but he conceals his
enmity to God, while he pretends friendship to them, which was a great
instance of subtilty; inasmuch as an enemy is never more formidable,
that when he puts on a specious pretence of religion, or conceals his
vile character as an enemy to God, and at the same time, pretends a
great deal of friendship to those whom he designs to ruin.

2. As he tempted our first parents soon after his own fall, which shews
his restless malice against God and goodness; so it was not long after
their creation, in which he shewed his subtilty, not barely, as some
suppose, because he was apprehensive, that the longer man stood, the
more his habits of grace would be strengthened, and so it would be more
difficult for the temptation to take effect. But that which seems to be
the principal reason, was, either because he was apprehensive that man
might soon have an intimation given him, that there were some fallen
spirits, who were laying snares for his ruin, and therefore he would
have been more guarded against him; or principally because he did not
know but that man might soon be confirmed in this state of holiness and
happiness; for how long God would continue him in a state of probation,
was not revealed, and the devil knew very well that, upon his obtaining
the grace of confirmation, after he had yielded obedience for a time,
all his temptations would prove ineffectual; therefore he applied
himself to his work with the greatest expedition.

3. He assaulted Eve when she was alone. This, indeed, is not expressly
mentioned in scripture; but yet it seems very probable, inasmuch as he
directed his discourse to, and held a conference with her, and not with
Adam, which doubtless, he would have done, had he been present; and then
it could hardly have been said, as the apostle does in the scripture
before-mentioned, that the woman was _first in the transgression_, and
that she was first deceived by the serpent; and, indeed, had he been
with her, though she might have been first in eating the forbidden
fruit; yet he would have sinned, as being a partaker with her therein,
by suffering her to comply with the temptation, and not warning her of
her danger, or endeavouring to detect the devil’s sophistry, and
restrain her from compliance therewith. As the law deems every one to be
principals in traiterous conspiracies against a prince, it they are only
present, provided they do not use those proper means which they ought to
prevent it; accordingly if Adam had been with Eve, he would have sinned
with her, before he received the forbidden fruit from her hand; which we
do not find him charged with; therefore she was alone, on which account
the devil took her at the greatest disadvantage; for, as the wise man
well observes, _Two are better than one; for if they fall, the one will
lift up his fellow; but woe to him that is alone when he falleth_,
Eccles. iv. 9, 10.

4. The instrument Satan made use of, was, as was before observed, the
serpent: Probably he was not suffered to take a human shape; or, if he
had, that would not so well have answered his end, since it would have
tended to amuse and surprise our first parents, and have put them upon
enquiries who he was, and whence he came, for they knew that there were
no human creatures formed but themselves. If he had made use of an
inanimate creature, it would have been more surprising to hear it speak
and reason about the providence of God; and if he had not assumed, any
visible shape, he could not have managed the temptation with that
success; for there was no corrupt nature in our first parents to work
upon, as there is in us. Therefore some are ready to conclude, that no
temptation can be offered to an innocent creature, in an internal way,
by the devil; therefore it must be presented to the senses, and
consequently it was necessary that he should assume some shape, and
particularly that of some brute creature, that he might more effectually
carry on his temptation. And it was expedient to answer his design, that
he should not make use of any brute creature, that is naturally more
stupid, and therefore less fit for his purpose; accordingly he made use
of the serpent, concerning which it is observed, that it is _more subtil
than any beast of the field;_ and, as some suppose, it was, at first, a
very beautiful creature, however odious it is to mankind at present, and
that it had a bright shining skin curiously painted with variety of
colours, which, when the sun shone upon it, cast a bright reflection of
all the colours of the rainbow. But passing this by, as what is
uncertain;

5. It is probable that the devil took that opportunity to discourse with
Eve about the tree of knowledge, when she was standing by, or at least,
not far from it, that so he might prevail with her to comply with the
temptation in haste; whereas, if he had given her room for too much
deliberation, it might have prevented his design from taking effect: If
she had been at some distance from the tree, she would have had time to
consider what she was going about; she did not want understanding to
detect the fallacy, had she duly weighed matters, and therefore would
hardly have complied with the temptation. Again, that she was, at least,
within sight of the tree appears from hence, that the serpent takes
occasion, from the beholding of it, to discourse about it, and commend
it; and, while he was speaking about it to her, _she saw that it was
pleasant to the eye, and good for food_.

6. As to what respects the matter of the temptation, we may observe,
that the devil did not immediately tempt her to blaspheme God, to
proclaim open war against him, or to break one of the commandments of
the moral law; but to violate a positive law, which, though heinous in
its own nature, as it was a practical disowning or denying the
sovereignty of God, and had many other aggravations attending it; yet
the breach of positive laws, founded on God’s arbitrary will, are
generally reckoned less aggravated, or we are inclined to entertain the
temptation thereunto with less abhorrence than when we are tempted to
break one of the moral laws, which are founded on the nature of God. Had
he tempted her to deny that there was a God, or that there was any
worship due to him; or had it been to have murdered her husband, or to
commit any other crime, which is in itself shocking to human nature, he
would have had less ground to conclude that his temptation would have
taken effect.

And here we may observe, that he proceeded, in a gradual way, from less
to greater insinuations, brought against God.

(1.) He does not immediately and directly, in his first onset, bring a
charge against God, or his providence, but pretends ignorance, and
speaks as one that wanted information, when he says, _Yea, hath God
said, Ye shall not eat of every tree in the garden_, _q. d._ Here is a
garden well stored with fruit, the trees whereof are designed for your
food; are there any of which you are prohibited to eat? This question
occasions her reply; _The woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the
fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is
in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it;
neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die_. Some think, that her sin began
here, and that she misrepresents the divine prohibition, for she was not
forbid to touch it; it is only said, _In the day that thou eatest
thereof thou shalt surely die_, Gen. ii. 17. But I cannot see that this
was any other than a just inference from the prohibition itself, as
every thing is to be avoided that may prove an occasion of sin, as well
as the sin itself. Others suppose, that there is a degree of unbelief
contained in that expression, _Lest ye die_[54]; which may be rendered,
_Lest peradventure ye die_, as implying, that it was possible for God to
dispense with his threatning, and so death would not certainly ensue;
whereas God had expressly said, _In the day that thou eatest thereof,
thou shalt surely die_. But passing by this, as an uncertain conjecture,
let us farther consider,

(2.) After this, Satan proceeds from questioning, as though he desired
information, to a direct and explicit confronting the divine threatning,
endeavouring to persuade her, that God would not be just to his word,
when he says, _Ye shall not surely die_. He then proceeds yet farther,
to cast an open reproach on the great God, when he says, _God doth know
that in the day ye eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall
be as Gods, knowing good and evil_. Here we may observe,

_1st_, That he prefaces this reproach in a most vile and wicked manner,
with an appeal to God for a confirmation of what he was about falsely to
suggest, _God doth know_, &c.

_2dly_, He puts her in mind, that there were some creatures above her,
with an intent to excite in her pride and envy: and it is as though he
had said; notwithstanding your dominion over the creatures in this lower
world, there are other creatures above you; for so our translation
renders the words, _gods_, meaning the angels. And Satan farther
suggests, that these excel man, as in many other things, so particularly
in knowledge, thereby tempting her to be discontented with her present
condition; and, since knowledge is the highest of all natural
excellencies, he tempts her hereby to desire a greater degree thereof,
than God had allotted her, especially in her present state, and so to
desire to be equal to the angels in knowledge; which might seem to her a
plausible suggestion, since knowledge is a desirable perfection. He does
not commend the knowledge of fallen angels, or persuade her to desire to
be like those who are the greatest favourites of God. From whence it may
be observed, that it is a sin to desire many things that are in
themselves excellent, provided it be the will of God that we should not
enjoy them.

But it may be observed, that a different sense may be given of the
Hebrew word, which we translate _gods_: for it may as well be rendered,
Ye shall be like God, that is, Ye shall have a greater degree of the
image of God; particularly that part of it that consists in knowledge.
But however plausible this suggestion might seem to be, she ought not to
have desired this privilege, if God did not design to give it,
especially before the condition of the covenant she was under was
performed; much less ought she to have ventured to have sinned against
God to obtain it.

_3dly_, Satan farther suggests, that her eating of the tree of knowledge
would be a means to attain this greater degree of knowledge; therefore
he says, _In the day you eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened_, &c. We
cannot suppose, that he thought her so stupid as to conclude that there
was a natural virtue in the fruit of this tree, to produce this effect;
for none can reasonably suppose that there is a natural connexion
between eating and increasing in knowledge. Therefore we may suppose,
that he pretends that the eating thereof was God’s ordinance for the
attaining of knowledge; so that, as the tree of life was a sacramental
ordinance, to signify man’s attaining eternal life, this tree was an
ordinance for her attaining knowledge; and therefore that God’s design
in prohibiting her from eating of it, was, that she should be kept in
ignorance, in comparison with what she might attain to by eating of it:
Vile and blasphemous insinuation! to suggest, not only that God envied
her a privilege, which would have been so highly advantageous, but that
the sinful violation of his law was an ordinance to obtain it.

It is farther supposed, by some, though not mentioned in scripture, that
Satan, to make his temptation more effectual, took and ate of the tree
himself, and pretended, as an argument to persuade her to do likewise,
that it was by this means, that he, being a serpent, and as such on a
level with other animals of the same species, had arrived to the faculty
of talking and reasoning, so that now he had attained a kind of equality
with man; therefore if she eat of the same fruit, she might easily
suppose she should attain to be equal with angels. By these temptations,
Eve was prevailed on, and so we read, that she _took of the fruit
thereof and did eat_; it may be, the fruit was plucked off by the
serpent, and held out to her, and she, with a trembling hand, received
it from him, and thereby fell from her state of innocency.

Having considered the fall of Eve, who was the first in the
transgression, we are now to speak of the fall of Adam: This is
expressed more concisely in the fore-mentioned chapter, ver. 6. _She
gave also unto her husband, and he did eat_. We are not to suppose that
she gave him this fruit to eat, without his consent to take it; or that
she did not preface this action with something not recorded in
scripture: but it is most probable that she reported to him what had
passed between her and the serpent, and prevailed on him by the same
arguments which she was overcome by; so that Adam’s fall was, in some
respect, owing to the devil, though Eve was the more immediate
instrument thereof. And to this we may add, that, besides her alleging
the arguments which the serpent had used to seduce her, it is more than
probable she continued eating herself, and commending the pleasantness
of the taste thereof, above all other fruits, as it might seem to her,
when fallen, to be much more pleasant than really it was; for forbidden
fruit is sweet to corrupt nature. And besides, we may suppose, that,
through a bold presumption, and the blindness of her mind, and the
hardness of her heart, which immediately ensued on her fall, she might
insinuate to her husband, that what the serpent had suggested was really
true; for as he had said, Ye shall not surely die, so now, though she
had eaten thereof, she was yet alive; and therefore that he might eat
thereof, without fearing any evil consequence that would attend it: by
this means he was prevailed upon, and hereby the ruin of mankind was
completed. Thus concerning their sin and fall.

V. We shall now consider what followed thereupon, as contained in that
farther account we have of it, in Gen. iii. 7, &c. And here we may
observe,

1. That they immediately betray and discover their fallen state,
inasmuch as they, who before knew not what shame or fear meant, now
experienced these consequences inseparable from sin: They knew that they
were naked, and accordingly they were ashamed;[55] and had a sense of
guilt in their consciences, and therefore were afraid. This appears, in
that:

2. God calls them to an account for what they had done, and they,
through fear, hide themselves from his presence; which shews how soon
ignorance followed after the fall. How unreasonable was it to think that
they could hide themselves from God? since _there is no darkness, nor
shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves_, Job
xxxiv. 22.

3. God expostulates with each of them, and they make excuses; the man
lays the blame upon his wife, ver. 12. _The woman, whom thou gavest to
be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat_; which contains a
charge against God himself, as throwing the blame on his providence,
_The woman whom thou gavest to be with me_. And here was an instance of
a breach of affection between him and his wife: as sin occasions
breaches in families, and, an alienation of affection in the nearest
relations, he complains of her, as the cause of his ruin, as though he
had not been active in this matter himself.

The woman, on the other hand, lays the whole blame on the serpent, ver.
13. _The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat_. There was, indeed, a
deception or beguiling; for, as has been already observed, an innocent
creature can hardly sin, but through inadvertency, as not apprehending
the subtilty of the temptation, though a fallen creature sins
presumptuously, and with deliberation; however, she should not have laid
the whole blame on the serpent, for she had wisdom enough to have
detected the fallacy, and rectitude of nature sufficient to have
preserved her from compliance with the temptation, if she had improved
those endowments which God gave her at first.

We shall now consider the aggravations of the sin of our first parents.
It contained in it many other sins. Some have taken pains to shew how
they broke all the Ten Commandments, in particular instances: But,
passing that by, it is certain, that they broke most of them, and those
both of the first and second table; and it may truly be said, that, by
losing their innocency, and corrupting, defiling, and depraving their
nature, and rendering themselves weak, and unable to perform obedience
to any command, as they ought, they were virtually guilty of the breach
of them all, as the apostle says, _Whosoever shall keep the whole law,
and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all_, James ii. 10. But,
more particularly, there were several sins contained in this complicated
crime; as,

(1.) A vain curiosity to know more than what was consistent with their
present condition, or, at least, a desire of increasing in knowledge in
an unlawful way.

(2.) Discontentment with their present condition; though without the
least shadow of reason leading to it.

(3.) Pride and ambition, to be like the angels, or like God, in those
things, in which it was unlawful to desire it: it may be, they might
desire to be like him in independency, absolute sovereignty, _&c._ which
carries in it downright Atheism, for a creature to desire thus to be
like to him.

(4.) There was an instance of profaneness, in supposing that this tree
was God’s ordinance, for the attaining of knowledge, and accounting
that, which was in itself sinful, a means to procure a greater degree of
happiness.

(5.) It contained in it unbelief, and a disregard, either to the promise
annexed to the covenant given to excite obedience, or the threatening
denounced to deter from sin; and, on the other hand, they gave credit to
the devil, rather than God.

(6.) There was in it an instance of bold and daring presumption,
concluding that all would be well with them, or that they should,
notwithstanding, remain happy, though in open rebellion against God, by
the violation of his law; concluding, as the serpent suggested, that
they should not surely die.

(7.) It was the highest instance of ingratitude, inasmuch as it was
committed soon after they had received their being from God, and that
honour of having all things in this world put under their feet, and the
greatest plenty of provisions, both for their satisfaction and delight,
and no tree of the garden prohibited, but only that which they ate of,
Gen. ii. 16, 17.

(8.) It was committed against an express warning to the contrary;
therefore whatever dispute might arise concerning other things being
lawful, or unlawful, there was no question but that this was a sin,
because expressly forbidden by God, and a caution given them to abstain
from it.

(9.) If we consider them as endowed with a rectitude of nature, and in
particular that great degree of knowledge which God gave them: This must
be reckoned a sin against the greatest light; so that what inadvertency
soever there might have been, as to what respects that which first led
the way to a sinful compliance: they had a sufficient degree of
knowledge to have fenced against the snare, how much soever they
pretended themselves to be beguiled and deceived, as an excuse for their
sin; and, had they made a right use of their knowledge, they would
certainly have avoided it.

(10.) Inasmuch as one of our first parents proved a tempter to the
other, and the occasion of his ruin, this contained a notorious instance
of that want of conjugal affection and concern for the welfare of each
other, which the law of nature, and the relation they stood in to one
another, required.

(11.) As our first parents were made after the image of God, this sin
contained their casting contempt upon it; for they could not but know
that it would despoil them of it. And as eternal blessedness was to be
expected if they yielded obedience, this they also contemned, and, as
every sinner does, they despised their own souls in so doing.

(12.) As Adam was a public person, the federal head of all his
posterity, intrusted with the important affair of their happiness,
though he knew that his fall would ruin them, together with himself,
there was not only in it a breach of trust, but a rendering himself, by
this means, the common destroyer of all mankind; which was a greater
reproach to him, than his being their common father was an honour.

We shall conclude with a few inferences from what has been said,
concerning the fall of our first parents.

_1st_, If barely the mutability of man’s will, without any propensity or
inclination to sin in his nature, may endanger, though not necessitate,
his fall, especially when left to himself, as the result of God’s
sovereign will; then how deplorable is the state of fallen man, when
left to himself by God in a judicial way, being, at the same time,
indisposed for any thing that is good.

_2dly_, From the action of the devil, in attempting to ruin man, without
the least provocation, merely out of malice against God, we may infer
the vile and heinous nature of sin, its irreconcilable opposition to
God; and also how much they resemble the devil, who endeavour to
persuade others to join with them as confederates in iniquity, and
thereby to bring them under the same condemnation with themselves: this
is contrary to the dictates of human nature, unless considered as vile,
degenerate, and depraved by sin.

_3dly_, How dangerous a thing is it to go in the way of temptation, or
to parley with it, and not to resist the first motion that is made to
turn us aside from our duty? And what need have we daily to pray, as
instructed by our Saviour, that God would not, by any occurrence of
providence, lead us into temptation!

_4thly_, We learn, from hence, the progress and great increase of sin:
it is like a spreading leprosy, and arises to a great height from small
beginnings; so that persons proceed from one degree of wickedness to
another, without considering what will be the sad effect and consequence
thereof.

Footnote 52:

  _This is beautifully described by Milton, (in his paradise lost, Book
  IX.) and many others have asserted the same thing for substance, as
  thinking it below the wisdom of the man to be imposed on; thereby
  insinuating, though without sufficient ground, that he had a greater
  degree of wisdom allotted to him than his wife._

Footnote 53:

  _Josephus indeed, (See Antiq. Lib. I. cap. 2.) intimates, that the
  serpent was, at first, endowed with speech, and that his loss of it
  was inflicted for his tempting man; but it is a groundless conjecture
  arising from a supposition, that those things spoken of in Gen._ iii.
  _which are attributed to the devil, were done without him, which is
  not only his opinion, but of many other Jewish writers, and several
  modern ones._

Footnote 54:

  _The words of the prohibition, in Gen._ ii. _17. are_, Ye shall surely
  die: _whereas in the account she gives thereof to the serpent, her
  words are_, פן תמתון _which Onkelos, in his Targum, renders_, Ne forte
  moriamini.

Footnote 55:

  The command had been given to Adam: he was the representative of Eve
  and his posterity; accordingly, upon her eating, no change was
  discovered: but as soon as he ate, “_the eyes of them both were
  opened_.” They instantly felt a conscious loss of innocence, and they
  were ashamed of their condition.

  This affection may have either good or evil as its exciting cause. The
  one species is praise-worthy, the other culpable. When there exists
  shame of evil, the honour of the party has been wounded.

  Honour, the boast of the irreligious, is the vanguard of virtue, and
  is always set for her defence, while she is contented with her own
  station. But when honour assumes the authority, which belongs to
  conscience and reason, the man becomes an idolater. For conscience
  aims at God’s glory, honour at man’s; conscience leads to perfect
  integrity, whilst honour is contented with the reputation of it: the
  one makes us good, the other desires to become respectable. Conscience
  and religion will produce that, which honour aims at the name of.
  Honour without virtue, is mere hypocrisy.

  But honour as ancillary to virtue, will detect and vanquish
  temptation, before virtue may apprehend danger: she is therefore to be
  regarded and fostered, but to be restrained within her own precincts.

  Shame of good is rather an evidence of a want of honour, and springs
  from dastardly cowardice: it argues weak faith, superficial knowledge,
  and languid desires of good. Such knowledge and desires are barely
  enough to aggravate the guilt, and show it was deliberate.

  The religious man must count upon opposition from a world hostile to
  holiness. His conduct and character will necessarily, by contrast,
  condemn those of the wicked. But he is neither to abandon his duty,
  but cause his light to shine; nor purposely afflict the sensibility of
  his enemies, but treat them with mildness and kindness. The demure and
  dejected countenance is to be avoided, not only because the Christian
  has a right to be cheerful, but because when voluntary, it is
  hypocritical; and because also it injures the cause by exciting
  disgust and contempt, and provoking persecution, where a mild and
  evenly deportment would command the respect and admiration even of the
  evil themselves.

  Contempt and ridicule will come. But the Christian should know that
  this indicates defect in the authors of them. If religion were, as the
  infidel hopes it will prove, without foundation, to ridicule the
  conscientious man for his weakness, is rudeness, weakness, and want of
  generosity. If religion be doubtful, to ridicule it is to run the
  hazard of Divine resentment, and highly imprudent. If it be certain,
  it is to rush upon the bosses of God’s buckler, and the most horrid
  insolence.

  Ridicule is no test of truth, for the greatest and most important
  truths may be subjected to wit; it is no index of strength of
  understanding; and wit and great knowledge almost never are found
  together. It indicates nothing noble or generous, but a little
  piddling genius, and contemptible pride.

  He who yields to the shame of that which is good, weakens his powers
  of resistance, provokes the Spirit of grace, hardens his conscience,
  strengthens the hands of the enemy, excites the contempt of the wicked
  themselves, grieves his follow Christians, affronts God to his face,
  and incurs the judgment of Christ “Whosoever is ashamed of me and my
  words, of him will I be ashamed.”



                              Quest. XXII.


    QUEST. XXII. _Did all mankind fall in that first transgression?_

    ANSW. The covenant being made with Adam, as a public person, not for
    himself only, but for his posterity, all mankind descending from him
    by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him in that
    first transgression.

Having shewn, in the foregoing answer how our first parents sinned and
fell, we are now led to consider, how their fall affected all their
posterity, whom they represented; and accordingly it is said, that the
covenant was made with Adam, as a federal head, not for himself only,
but all his posterity; so that they sinned in, and fell with him. But,
before we enter more particularly on this subject, it may not be
improper to enquire, whether this character, of being the head of the
covenant, respects only Adam, or both our first parents? I am sensible
there are many who think this covenant was made with Adam, as the head
of his posterity, exclusive of Eve; so that, as he did not represent her
therein, but his seed, she was not, together with him, the
representative of mankind; therefore, though the covenant was made with
her, and she was equally obliged to perform the conditions thereof, yet
she was only to stand or fall for herself, her concern herein being only
personal; and therefore it follows, from hence, that when she fell,
being _first in the transgression_, all mankind could not be said to sin
and fall in her, as they did in Adam; therefore, if she alone had
sinned, she would have perished alone.

And if it be objected hereunto, that she could not then be the mother of
innocent children, for _who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?_
The reply, which is usually given to this, which is only matter of
conjecture, is, that God would have created some other woman, who should
have been the mother of a sinless posterity.[56]

The reason why these conclude that the covenant was made only with Adam,
is because we never read expressly, in scripture, of its being made with
Eve in behalf of her posterity; and particularly it is said, in Gen. ii.
16, 17. that _the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree in
the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of knowledge of good
and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day thou eatest thereof,
thou shalt surely die_. And it is observed, that this law was given to
him before the woman was created; for it said, in the following words,
_It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him an help meet
for him_. And, in other scriptures, which treat of this matter, we read
of the man’s being the head of the covenant, but not his wife: thus the
apostle, in 1 Cor. xv. 45, 47. compares him, whom he styles, _the first
man, Adam_, as the head of this covenant, with Christ, whom he calls,
_The second man_, as the head of the covenant of grace; and elsewhere he
says, _As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive_, ver.
22. and again _By one man sin entered into the world_, &c. Rom. v. 12.
and _By one man’s disobedience, many were made sinners_, ver. 19. It is
not said by the disobedience of our first parents, but of one of them,
to wit, Adam; therefore, from hence, they conclude, that he only was the
head of this covenant, and herein the representative of mankind.

But, though I would not be too peremptory in determining this matter,
yet, I think, it may be replied to what has been said in defence
thereof; that though it is true, it is said, in the scripture, but now
mentioned, that God forbade the man to eat of the tree of knowledge of
good and evil, before the woman was created, yet she expressly says,
that the prohibition respected them both[57], when she tells the
serpent, _We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the
fruit of the tree in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall
not eat thereof, lest ye die_, Gen. iii. 2, 3. Besides, we read, that
Eve had dominion over the creatures, as well as Adam, Gen. i. 26-28. it
is true, it is said, that _God created man_, &c. but by the word _man_,
both our first parents are intended; for it immediately follows, _and he
blessed them_, therefore the woman was not excluded; so that we may
apply the apostle’s words, (though used with another view) _The man is
not without the woman, nor the woman without the man, in the Lord_, 1
Cor. xi. 11. to this particular dispensation of providence. And there
seems to be the same reason for one’s being constituted the federal head
of their posterity, as the other, since they were both designed to be
the common parents thereof; the tenor of the covenant seems to be the
same with respect to them both, and the tree of life was a seal and
pledge of blessings, to be conveyed by both.

But to proceed to consider the subject-matter of this answer,

I. We shall prove, that Adam was a public person, the head of the
covenant with whom it was made for himself, and all his posterity. When
we speak of him as the head of our posterity, we do not only mean their
common parent, for, had there been no other idea contained therein, I
cannot see how they could be said to fall in him; for it doth not seem
agreeable to the justice of God to punish children for their parents’
sins, unless they make them their own, at least, not with such a
punishment that carries in it a separation from his presence, and a
liableness to the condemning sentence of the law.

Therefore Adam must be considered as constituted their head, in a
federal way, by an act of God’s sovereign will, and so must be regarded
as their representative, as well as their common parent; which, if it
can be proved, then they may be said to fall with him. For the
understanding hereof, we must conclude him to have been the head of the
world, even as Christ is the Head of his elect; so that, in the same
sense as Christ’s righteousness becomes their’s to wit, by imputation,
Adam’s obedience, had he stood, would have been imputed to all his
posterity, as his sin is, now he is fallen. This is a doctrine founded
on pure revelation: and therefore we must have recourse to scripture, to
evince the truth thereof. Accordingly,

1. There are several scriptures in which this doctrine is contained; as
that in Rom. v. 14. where the apostle speaks concerning our fall in
Adam, whom he calls, the _figure_[58] _of him that was to come_. Now, in
what was Adam a type of Christ? Not as he was a man, consisting of soul
and body; for, in that respect, all that lived before Christ, might as
justly be called types of him. Whenever we read of any person, or
things, being a type in scripture, there are some peculiar circumstances
by which they may be distinguished from all other persons, or things
that are not types. Now Adam was distinguished from all other persons,
more especially as he was the federal head of all his posterity; and
that he was so, appears from what the apostle not only occasionally
mentions, but largely insists on, and shews in what respect this was
true; and he particularly observes, that as one conveyed death the other
was the head, or Prince of Life. These respective things indeed, were
directly opposite, therefore the analogy, or resemblance, consisted only
in the manner of conveying them; so that as death did not become due to
us, in the first instance of our liableness to it, for our own actual
sin, but the sin of Adam; that right we have to eternal life, by
justification, is not the result of our own obedience, but Christ’s:
This is plainly the apostle’s method of reasoning. Now, if Christ was,
in this respect a federal Head and Representative of his people, then
Adam, who is in this, or in nothing, his type, or figure, must be the
Head of a covenant, in which his posterity were included.

There is another scripture, by which this may be proved in 1 Cor. xv.
45-59. where the apostle speaks of the _first and second Adam_; by the
latter he means Christ. Now, why should he be called the second man, who
lived so many ages after Adam, if he did not design to speak of him, as
typified by him, or bearing some resemblance of him? And, in other
expressions, he seems to imply as much, and shews how we derive death
from Adam, of whom he had been speaking, in the foregoing verses.
Accordingly, he says, _The first man was of the earth, earthy: and, as
is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy, and we have borne the
image of the earthy_; so that if Adam was the root and occasion of all
the miseries we endure in this world, arising from his violation of the
covenant he was under, it plainly proves, that he was therein the head
and representative of all his posterity.

For the farther proof of this, we may take occasion to consider the
apostle’s method of reasoning, in the scripture but now referred to, _By
one man sin entered into the world_, that is, by the first man, _in whom
all have sinned_, Rom. v. 12. so I would choose to render it rather than
as it is in our translation, since this seems to be the most natural
sense of the word[59]; and it proves Adam, in whom all sinned, to be
their head and representative, and also agrees best with the apostle’s
general design, or argument, insisted on, and farther illustrated in the
following verses.

Again, the apostle speaks of those penal evils consequent on Adam’s
sins, which could not have befallen us, had he not been our federal
head and representative; Thus, in ver. 18. _By the offence of one,
judgment came upon all men to condemnation_[60]. It may be observed,
that the apostle, in this text, uses a word, which we translate
_condemnation_[61]; which cannot, with any manner of consistency, be
taken in any other than a forensick sense; and therefore he argues,
from thence, that we are liable to condemnation, by the offence of
Adam; which certainly proves the imputation of his offence to us, and
consequently he is considered therein as our federal head.

2. This farther appears, in that all mankind are exposed to many
miseries, and to death, which are of a penal nature; therefore they must
be considered, as the consequence of sin. Now they cannot be the
consequence of actual sin, in those, who are miserable and die, as soon
as they are born, who have not _sinned after the similitude of Adam’s
transgression_; therefore this must be the result of his sin, which it
could not be, had he not been the federal head of all his posterity.[62]

_Object._ It is objected to this, that God might, out of his mere
sovereignty, ordain that his creatures should be exposed to some degree
of misery; and, if this misery be not considered, as the punishment of
sin, in infants, then it does not prove the imputation of Adam’s sin to
them; and even their death, considered only as a separation of soul and
body, may not contain in it a proper idea of punishment, (which consists
in the stroke of justice, demanding satisfaction for sin) if it be only
reckoned an expedient, or a necessary means for their attaining eternal
life. Therefore it doth not follow, that, because we are liable to
death, before we have done good or evil, it must necessarily be a
punishment due to that sin, which was committed by Adam.

_Answ. 1._ I will not deny but that God might dispense some lesser
degrees of natural evil, to a sinless creature, out of his mere
sovereignty; neither will I contend with any, who shall say, that he
might, without any dishonour to his perfections, send on him an evil,
sensibly great, provided it were not only consistent with his love, but
attended with those manifestations and displays thereof, which would
more than compensate for it, and, at the same time, not have any
tendency to prevent the answering the end of his being; yet I may be
bold to say, that, from the nature of the thing, God cannot inflict the
least degree of punishment on a creature, who is, in all respects
guiltless. If therefore these lesser evils are penal, they are the
consequence of Adam’s sin.

2. As for death, that must be considered as a penal evil; for, as such,
it was first denounced, as a part of the curse, consequent on Adam’s
sin; and the apostle says, _The wages of sin is death_, Rom. vi. 23. and
elsewhere he speaks of all men, as _dying in Adam_, 1 Cor. xv. 22. and
therefore his sin is imputed to all mankind; and consequently he was
their federal head and representative in the covenant that he was under.

II. They, whose federal head and representative Adam was, are such as
descended from him by ordinary generation. The design of this limitation
is to signify, that our Saviour is excepted, and consequently that he
did not sin or fall in him, inasmuch as he was born of a virgin;
therefore, though he had the same human nature with all Adam’s
posterity, yet he did not derive it from him, in the same way as they
do; and a similitude of nature, or his being a true and proper Man, does
not render him a descendant from Adam, in the same way as we are. The
formation of his human nature was the effect of miraculous,
supernatural, creating power; therefore he was no more liable to Adam’s
sin, as being a Man, than a world of men would be, should God create
them out of nothing, or out of the dust of the ground, by a mediate
creation, which would be no more miraculous, or supernatural, than it
was to form the human nature of Christ in the womb of a virgin. Now, as
persons, so formed, would not be concerned in Adam’s sin, or fall,
whatever similitude there might be of nature; even so our Saviour was
not concerned therein.[63]

Moreover, that we might understand that he was not included in this
federal transaction with Adam, the apostle opposes him, as the _second
Man_, the federal Head of his elect, or spiritual seed, to Adam, the
_first man_, and head of his natural seed, in that scripture before
referred to, ver. 45. And, as an argument, that his extraordinary and
miraculous conception exempted him from any concern in Adam’s sin and
fall; the angel, that gave the first intimation hereof, when he tells
the blessed virgin, his mother, that _the Holy Ghost should come upon
her, that the power of the highest should over-shadow her_, he says,
_Therefore that Holy Thing, that shall be born of thee, shall be called,
the Son of God_; thereby implies, that, in his first formation, he was
holy, and consequently had no concern in the guilt of Adam’s sin,
because of the manner of his formation, or conception; and this is
certainly a better way to account for his being sinless, than to
pretend, as the Papists do, that his mother was sinless; which will do
no service to their cause, unless they could ascend in a line to our
first parents, and so prove, that all our Saviour’s progenitors were
immaculate, as well as the virgin; which is more than they pretend to
do.

III. It is farther observed, in this answer, that mankind sinned in and
fell with Adam in his _first transgression_, and therefore they had no
concern in those sins, which he committed afterwards. This appears from
hence, that Adam, as soon as he sinned, lost the honour and prerogative,
that was conferred upon him, of being the federal head of his posterity,
though he was their natural head, or common father; for the covenant
being broken, all the evils, that we were liable to, arising from
thence, were devolved upon us, and none of the blessings, contained
therein, could be conveyed to us that way, since it was impossible for
him, after his fall, to perform sinless obedience, which was the
condition of the life promised therein. This doth not arise so much from
the nature of the covenant, as from the change that there was in man,
with whom it was made. The law, or covenant, would have given life, if
man could have yielded perfect obedience; but since his fall rendered
that impossible, though the obligation thereof, as a law, distinct from
a covenant, and the curse, arising from the sanction thereof, remains
still in force against fallen man; yet, as a covenant, in which life was
promised, it was, from that time, abrogated; and therefore the apostle
speaks of it, as being _weak through the flesh_, Rom. viii. 3. that is,
by reason of Adam’s transgression, and consequently he ceased, from that
time, to be the federal head, or means of conveying life to his
posterity; therefore those sins that he committed afterwards, were no
more imputed to them, to inhance their condemnation, than his
repentance, or good works, were imputed for their justification.

IV. Having considered the first transgression of Adam, as imputed to all
those who descended from him by ordinary generation, we shall proceed to
consider, how this doctrine is opposed, by those who are in the contrary
way of thinking.

_Object. 1._ It is objected, that what is done by one man cannot be
imputed to another; for this is contrary to the divine perfections, to
the law of nature, and the express words of scripture. It is true, that
which is done by us, in our own persons, may be imputed to us, whether
it be good or evil. Thus it is said, that Phinehas’s _zeal in executing
judgment, by which means the plague was stayed, was counted to him for
righteousness_, Psal. cvi. 30, 31. so was Abraham’s _faith_, Rom. iv. 9,
23. Accordingly God approved of these their respective good actions, as
what denominated them righteous persons, and placed them to their
account, as bestowing on them some rewards accordingly; so, on the other
hand, a man’s own sin may be imputed to him, and he may be dealt with as
an offender: But to impute the sin committed by one person to another,
is to suppose that he has committed that sin which was really committed
by another; in which case, the Judge of all the earth would not do
right.

_Answ._ When we speak of persons being punished for a crime committed by
another, as being imputed to them, we understand the word _imputation_
in a forensick sense, and therefore we do not suppose that here is a
wrong judgment passed on persons or things, as though the crime were
reckoned to have been committed by them; accordingly we do not say, that
we committed that sin, which was more immediately committed by Adam. In
him it was an actual sin; it is ours, as imputed to us, or as we are
punished for it, according to the demerit of the offence, and the tenor
of the covenant, in which we were included.

Moreover, it is not contrary to the law of nature, or nations, for the
iniquity of some public persons to be punished in many others, so that
whole cities and nations have suffered on their account; and as for
scripture-instances hereof, we often read of whole families and nations,
suffering for the crimes of those, who had been public persons, and
exemplary in sinning. Thus Achan coveted the wedge of gold, and, for
this, he suffered not alone; but his _sons and daughters were stoned,
and burned with fire_, together with himself, Joshua vii. 24, 25. though
we do not expressly read, that they were confederates with him in the
crime. And as for the Amalekites, who, without provocation, came out
against Israel in the wilderness, God threatens them, that he would have
_war with them for this, from generation to generation_, Exod. xvii. 16.
and in pursuance of this threatening, God, imputing the crime of their
forefathers to their posterity, some hundreds of years after, ordered
_Saul to go and utterly destroy them, by slaying both man and woman,
infant and suckling_, 1 Sam. xv. 2, 3. And the sin of Jeroboam was
punished in his posterity, according to the threatening denounced, 1
Kings xiv. 10, 11. as was also the sin of Ahab, 1 Kings xxi. 21, 22. And
the church acknowledges, that it was a righteous dispensation of
providence for God to bring upon Judah those miseries, which immediately
preceded, and followed their being carried captive, when they say, _Our
fathers have sinned, and are not; and we have borne their iniquity_,
Lam. v. 7. and our Saviour speaks to the same purpose, when he tells the
Jews, _That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the
earth, from the blood of righteous Abel, unto the blood of Zacharias,
son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar_, Matth.
xxiii. 35. These instances, and others of the like nature, prove that it
is no unheard of thing, for one man to suffer for a crime committed by
another[64].

But I am sensible the principal thing intended in the objection, when
this is supposed to be contrary to scripture, is, that it contradicts
the sense of what the prophet says, when he tells the people, that _they
should not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel, The
fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on
edge_; for _the soul that sinneth shall die_, Ezek. xviii. 2-4. the
meaning of which scripture is, that if they were humble and penitent,
and did not commit those crimes that their fathers had done, they should
not be punished for them, which was a special act of favour, that God
would grant them on this supposition; and it is as much as to say, that
he would not impute their father’s sins to them, or suffer them to be
carried captive, merely because their fathers had deserved this
desolating judgment. But this does not, in all respects, agree with the
instance before us; for we are considering Adam as the federal head of
his posterity, and so their fathers were not to be considered in this,
and such like scriptures. Moreover, the objectors will hardly deny, that
natural death, and the many evils of this life, are a punishment, in
some respects, for the sin of our first parents. Therefore the question
is not, whether some degree of punishment may ensue hereupon? but,
whether the greatest degree of the punishment of sin in hell, can be
said to be the consequence hereof? But this we shall be led more
particularly to consider, under a following answer[65].

_Object. 2._ It is farther objected, that it is not agreeable to the
divine perfections, for God to appoint Adam to be the head and
representative of all his posterity; so that they must stand, or fall,
with respect to their spiritual and eternal concerns in him, inasmuch as
this was not done by their own choice and consent, which they were not
capable of giving, since they were not existent. The case say they, is
the same, as though a king should appoint a representative body of men,
and give them a power to enact laws, whereby his subjects should be
dispossessed of their estates and properties, which no one can suppose
to be just; whereas if they had chosen them themselves, they would have
no reason to complain of any injustice that was done them, inasmuch as
the laws, made by their representatives, are, in effect, their own laws.
Therefore, to apply this to the case before us, had all mankind chose
Adam to be their representative, or consented to stand or fall in him,
there would have been no reason to complain of the dispensation of God’s
providence, relating hereunto: but, inasmuch as it was otherwise, it
does not seem agreeable to the justice of God, to constitute him the
head and representative of all his posterity: so that, by his fall, they
should be involved in ruin, and eternal perdition.

_Answ._ There are various methods taken to answer this objection.

1. Some say little more to it than this: That if Adam had retained his
integrity, we should have accepted of, and rejoiced in that life, which
he would have procured by his standing; there would then have been no
complaint, or finding fault, with the divine dispensation, as though it
had been unjust; therefore, since he fell, and brought death into the
world, it is reasonable that we should submit, and acknowledge, that all
the ways of God are equal. But, though we must all allow that submission
to the will of God, in whatever he does, is the creatures duty, yet I
cannot think this a sufficient answer to the objection, and therefore
would not lay much stress upon it, but proceed to consider what may be
farther said in answer to it.

2. Others say, that, since Adam was the common father, and consequently
the most honourable of mankind, (our Saviour only excepted, whom he did
not represent) therefore it was fit that he should have this honour
conferred upon him; so that, had all his posterity been existent, and
the choice of a representative been wholly referred to them, the law of
nature would have directed to, and pointed out the man, who ought, in
this respect, to have the preference to all others. This answer bids
fairer, I confess to remove the difficulty than the other, especially if
it be added, that God might have given Adam some advantages of nature,
above the rest of mankind, besides that relative one, arising from his
being their common father; and therefore, that it would have been their
interest, as well as their duty, to have chosen him, as being best
qualified to perform the work that was devolved upon him.

3. But, since this will not wholly remove the difficulty, it is farther
alleged, that God chose him, and therefore we ought to acquiesce in his
choice; and, indeed, had all mankind been then existent, supposing them
to be in a state of perfect holiness (and we must not suppose the
contrary) then they would have acknowledged the equity of this divine
dispensation, otherwise they would have actually sinned, and fallen, in
rejecting and complaining of the will of God. But this will not satisfy
those who advance the contrary scheme of doctrine, and deny the
imputation of Adam’s sin to his posterity, who still complain of it, as
a very severe dispensation, and conclude, that the sovereignty of God is
pleaded for against his other perfections; therefore something farther
must be added, in answer to the objection.

We freely allow, that it is not equitable (to use the similitude taken
from human forms of government) for a king to appoint a representative,
who shall have a power committed to him, to take away the properties, or
estates of his subjects: but this does not, in many respects, agree with
the matter under our present consideration: nevertheless, if we were to
suppose, that these subjects had nothing which they could call their
own, separate from the will of the prince, and their properties and
estates were not only defended, but given by him, and that upon this
tenure, that he reserved to himself a right to dispossess them of them
at his pleasure; in this case, he might, without any injustice done
them, appoint a representative, by whose conduct they might be
forfeited, or retained; and this agrees with our present argument.
Accordingly let it be considered, that there were some things which Adam
was possessed of in his state of innocency, and others which he was
given to expect, had he stood, which he had no natural right to,
separate from the divine will; therefore it follows, from hence, that
God might, without doing his posterity any injustice, repose this in the
hands of a mutable creature, so that it should be retained or lost for
them, according as he stood or fell. And this will appear less
exceptionable, when we consider the nature of that guilt, which all
mankind were brought under, by Adam’s sin, and the loss of original
righteousness, as the consequence of his fall; which they, who maintain
the other side of the question, generally represent, in such a way, as
though we supposed that there were no difference between it, and the
guilt contracted, together with the punishment ensuing on actual sins,
how great soever they are. But this will be more particularly considered
under a following answer,[66] in which we shall endeavour to take a just
estimate of the difference between the guilt of Adam’s sin, imputed to
us, and that of actual sins committed by us.

Footnote 56:

  If Adam represented Eve (his rib) in the covenant, she did not fall
  till he fell.

Footnote 57:

  _The compilers of the LXX. seem to have understood the words in this
  sense, when then render the text in_ Gen. ii. 17. η δ αν ημερα φαγητε
  απ αυτου θαγατω απο θανεισθε.

Footnote 58:

  Τυπος, _the Type_.

Footnote 59:

  Εφ᾽ ω.

Footnote 60:

  _The words are_, ως δι ενος παραπτωματος, εις παντας ανθρωπους εις
  κατακριμα. _The word Judgment, though not in the original, is very
  justly supplied in our translation, from verse 16. or else, as the
  learned Grotius observes, the word εγενετο might have been supplied;
  and so the meaning is_, Res processit in condemnationem. _And J.
  Capellus gives a very good sense of the text, when he compares Adam as
  the head, who brought death into the world, with Christ by whom life
  is obtained. His words are these_: Quemadmodum omnes homines, qui
  condemnantur, reatum suum contraxerant, ab una unius hominis offensa;
  sic & quotquot vivificantur, absolutionem suam obtinuerunt ab una
  unius hominis obedientia.

Footnote 61:

  _The word_ κατακριμα _is used in scripture, in a forensic sense, in
  those places of the New Testament, where it is found: Thus ver. 16. of
  this chapter, and chap. viii. 1. And accordingly it signifies a
  judgment unto condemnation; as also do those words, the sense whereof
  has an affinity to it, in Rom. viii. 34._ τις ο κατακρινων; _and also_
  ακατακριτος, _as in Acts xvi. 37. and_ chap. xxii. 25. _So that,
  according to the construction of the word, though_ κριμα _signifies_
  judicium _in general_, κατακριμα signifies judicium adversus aliquem,
  _or_ condemnatio.

Footnote 62:

  That mankind are born and live in sin, maybe collected from various
  sources of argument; by matter of fact, none are found free from, who
  are capable of actual guilt, by the evils and death which a just God
  would not otherwise inflict; by the ideas of the ancients who speak of
  a degeneration from a golden, to an iron age, by the general practice
  of offering sacrifice, which is an acknowment of guilt, by the
  testimony of the heathens, that evil example has a preponderating
  influence over good, by the historical account of the fall of man in
  the scriptures, by their numerous testimonies that none are righteous
  before God or can be justified by their obedience to his laws, by the
  confessions of the saints, by the necessity of repentance in all, by
  the propriety of prayer for the pardon of sin, by Christ’s example of
  daily prayer which contains such a petition, by the necessity of faith
  that we may please God, by man’s unwillingness to be reconciled to
  God, and rejection of all the spiritual good things offered, and
  contempt of divine threatnings; and above all other proofs, by the
  coming and suffering of Christ.

Footnote 63:

  The covenant of grace was from eternity, and implied his innocence.

Footnote 64:

  _This is not only agreeable to many instances contained in scripture,
  but it has been acknowledged to be just by the very heathen, as
  agreeable to the law of nature and nations. Thus one says: Sometimes a
  whole city is punished for the wickedness of one man: Thus Hesiod,_
  πολλακι και ξυμπασα πολις κακου ανδρος επαυρει; _and Horace says,_
  Quicquid delirant reges, plectuntur Achivi: _And one observes, that it
  was the custom of several cities of Greece, to inflict the same
  punishment on the children of tyrants, as their fathers had done on
  others:_ In Græcis civitatibus liberi tyrannorum suppressis illis,
  eodem supplicio afficiuntur. _Vid. Cicer. Epist. ad Brut. XV. & Q.
  Curt. Lib. VI. speaks of a law observed among the Macedonians; in
  which, traiterous conspiracies against the life of the prince were
  punished, not only in the traitors themselves, but in their near
  relations,_ Qui regi infidiati essent, illi cum cognatis & propinquis
  suis morte afficerentur.

Footnote 65:

  _See Quest._ xxvii.

Footnote 66:

  _See Quest._ xxvii.



                   Quest. XXIII., XXIV., XXV., XXVI.


    QUEST. XXIII. _Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?_

    ANSW. The fall brought mankind into an estate of sin and misery.

    QUEST. XXIV. _What is sin?_

    ANSW. Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of any
    law of God, given as a rule to the reasonable creature.

    QUEST. XXV. _Wherein consisteth the sinfulness of that estate
    whereinto man fell?_

    ANSW. The sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell, consisteth
    in the guilt of Adam’s first sin, the want of that righteousness
    wherein he was created; and the corruption of his nature, whereby he
    is utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite unto all that is
    spiritually good, and wholly inclined to all evil, and that
    continually, which is commonly called, Original sin, and from which
    do proceed all actual transgressions.

    QUEST. XXVI. _How is original sin conveyed from our first parents
    unto their posterity?_

    ANSW. Original sin is conveyed from our first parents unto their
    posterity by natural generation, so as all that proceed from them,
    in that way, are conceived and born in sin.

Having considered the fall of our first parents, and all mankind being
so far concerned therein, as that their sin is imputed to them; we are
now led to speak concerning that sin and misery which ensues hereupon.
And,

I. This is not barely called a single act of sin, or one particular
instance of misery, but a state of sin and misery. Man’s being brought
into a state of sin, is sometimes called sin’s reigning, or having
dominion over him; and his being brought into a state of misery, is
called the reign, or dominion of death; so that as, by various steps, we
proceed from one degree of sin unto another, our condemnation is
gradually enhanced thereby. This is the subject matter of the first of
these answers.

II. We have a brief definition of sin, in which there is something
supposed, namely, that there was a law given, and promulgated, as a rule
of obedience, to the reasonable creature, without which there could be
no sin committed, or guilt contracted; as the apostle saith, _Where no
law is, there is no transgression_, Rom. iv. 15. or, _Sin is not
imputed, where there is no law_, chap. v. 13.

And inasmuch as it is observed, that the subjects, bound by this law,
are reasonable creatures; this gives us to understand, that though other
creatures be the effect of God’s power, and the objects of his
providence, yet they are not the subjects of moral government. They
cannot therefore be under a law, inasmuch as they are not capable of
understanding their relation to God, as Sovereign, or their obligation
to obey him, or the meaning of a law, which is the rule thereof.
Moreover, we have in this answer, an account of the formal nature of
sin.

1. It is considered, either in its negative, or rather privative idea,
as containing in it a defect, or want of conformity to the law, a
privation of that rectitude of nature, or righteousness that man had at
first, or our not performing that which we are bound, by the law of God,
to do; and those particular instances of sin, included herein, are
called sins of omission.

2. It is described by its positive idea, and so it is called, a
transgression of the law, or doing that which is forbidden by it. Thus
it is called, by the apostle, _The transgression of the law_, 1 John
iii. 4. This we shall not insist on at present, inasmuch as we shall
have occasion to enlarge on this head, when we consider the sins
forbidden, under each of the ten commandments, and the various
aggravations thereof.[67]

III. We are, in the next answer, led to consider the sinfulness of all
mankind, as fallen in Adam, or original sin, as derived to, and
discovered in us; and this consists more especially in our being guilty
of Adam’s first sin, our wanting that righteousness which he was
possessed of; and also in the corruption of nature, from whence all
actual transgressions proceed.

1. We shall enquire what we are to understand by the guilt of Adam’s
first sin. Having before shewn that his disobedience is imputed to his
posterity, that which is the result thereof, is, that all the world
becomes guilty before God: guilt is an obligation, or liableness to
suffer punishment for an offence committed, in proportion to the
aggravations thereof. Now, since this guilt was not contracted by us,
but imputed to us, we must consider it as the same, in all; or not
admitting of any degrees; nevertheless, there is a very great difference
between that guilt which is the result of sin imputed to, and that which
arises from sin’s being committed by us. They, who do not put a just
difference between these two, give occasion to many prejudices against
this doctrine, and do not sufficiently vindicate the perfections of God,
in his judiciary proceedings in punishing one or the other of them. That
we may avoid this inconvenience, let it be considered, that original and
actual sins differ more especially in two respects.

(1.) The sin of our first parents, how heinous soever it was in them, as
being an actual transgression, attended with the highest aggravations,
yet it cannot be said to be our actual sin, or committed by an act of
our will; therefore, though the imputation thereof to us, as has been
before proved, is righteous, yet it has not those circumstances
attending it, as though it had been committed by us. Therefore,

(2.) The guilt thereof, or the punishment due to it, cannot be so great
as the guilt we contract, or the punishment we are liable to, for actual
sins, which are committed with the approbation and consent of the will,
and as they are against some degree of light and convictions of
conscience, and manifold engagements to the contrary: but this does not
properly belong to Adam’s sin, as imputed to us; nor is the punishment
due to it the same, as though it had been committed by us in our own
persons.

But, that we may not be misunderstood, let it be considered, that we are
not speaking of the corruption of nature inherent in us. We do not deny,
but that the fountain that sends forth all actual sins, or that sin
reigning in the heart, is, in various respects, more aggravated, than
many others that are committed, which we call actual transgressions, as
the corrupt fountain is worse than the streams, or the root than the
branch, or the cause than the effect. But when we consider, as at
present we do Adam’s sin only, as imputed, and as being antecedent to
that corruption of nature, which is the immediate cause of sinful
actions; or when we distinguish between original sin, as imputed and
inherent, we only understand, by the former, that it cannot expose those
who never committed any actual sins, to so great a degree of guilt and
punishment, as the sins committed by them are said to expose them to.

And let it be farther observed, that we do not say that there is no
punishment due to original sin, as imputed to us; for that would be to
suppose that there is no guilt attending it, which is contrary to what
we have already proved; but all our design, at present, is, to put a
just difference between Adam’s sin, imputed to us, and those that are
committed by us. And, indeed, if what we have said under this head, be
not true, the state of infants, dying in infancy, under the guilt of
Adam’s sin, must be equally deplorable with that of the rest of mankind;
therefore, when I find some expressing themselves to this purpose, I
cannot wonder that others, who deny this doctrine are offended at it. It
is one thing to say, that they are exposed to no punishment at all,
which none, that observe the miseries that we are liable to, from our
first appearance in the world, to our leaving it, whether sooner or
later, can well deny; and another thing to say, that they are exposed to
the same punishment for it, as though they had actually committed it;
the former we allow; the latter we must take leave to deny lest we
should give occasion to any to think that the Judge of all does any
thing, which carries in it the least appearance of severity, and
injustice. Thus concerning the guilt of Adam’s first sin, imputed to us;
which leads us to consider the effects thereof. Accordingly,

2. Man is said to want that righteousness which he had at first, which
is generally called, original righteousness. This is styled, the
privative part of original sin, as the corruption of the human nature,
and its propensity to all sin, is the positive part thereof. In
considering the former of these, or man’s want of original
righteousness, we may observe,

(1.) That man has not wholly lost God’s natural image, which he was
possessed of, as an intelligent creature, consisting in his being
endowed as such with an understanding, capable of some degree of the
knowledge of himself and divine things; and a will, in many respects,
free, _viz._ as to what concerns natural things, or some external
branches of religion, or things materially good, and in his having
executive powers, to act agreeably thereunto; though these are miserably
defaced, and come far short of that perfection, which he had in the
state in which he was first created. Some have compared this to an old
decayed building, which has, by the ruins of time, lost its strength and
beauty, though it retains something of the shape and resemblance of what
it was before. Thus the powers and faculties of the soul are weakened,
but not wholly lost, by the fall. They are like the fruits of the earth,
which are shrivelled and withered in winter, and look as though they are
dead; or like a man, who has out-lived himself, and has lost the
vivacity and sprightliness of his parts, as well as the beauty of his
body, which he formerly had.

(2.) Our ability to yield acceptable obedience to God, much more perfect
obedience, is wholly lost, as being destitute of a principle of
spiritual life and grace, which must, if ever we have it, be implanted
in regeneration; so that every one may say with the apostle, _In me_
(_that is, in my flesh_,) _dwelleth no good thing_, Rom. vii. 18.

(3.) We are destitute of a right to the heavenly blessedness, and all
those privileges, that were promised upon condition of our first parents
performing perfect obedience, according to the tenor of the covenant
made with them in their state of innocency.

This want of original righteousness is the immediate consequence of
Adam’s first sin. By original righteousness we understand, either that
freedom from guilt, which man had before he sinned, which exempted him
from any liableness to condemnation, and afforded him a plea before God
for his retaining the blessings he was possessed of; and, had he
persisted longer in his integrity, it would have given him a right to a
greater degree of happiness: His perfect obedience was his
righteousness, in a forensick sense; and the failure thereof, in our
first parents, rendered both them and us destitute of it. But, since
this is the same with what is expressed in the foregoing words, wherein
we are denominated guilty of Adam’s first sin, we must consider
something else, as intended in this expression, when we are said to want
that righteousness wherein he was created.

We have before observed, that, by the fall of our first parents, the
image of God in man was defaced: But now, we are to speak of his
supernatural image, as what was wholly lost, and therefore all mankind
are, by nature, destitute of a principle of grace; upon which account it
may be truly said, as the apostle does, _There is none righteous; no,
not one_, Rom. iii. 10. and elsewhere man is called, _A transgressor
from the womb_, Isa. xlviii. 8. and, by nature, not only _a child of
wrath_, but _dead in trespasses and sins_, Eph. ii. 1. and therefore it
is necessary that we be created again to good works, or that a new
principle of grace be implanted in regeneration, without which there is
no salvation. Our being destitute of this supernatural principle of
grace is distinguished from that propensity to sin, or corruption of
nature, which is spoken of in the following words of this answer; and
therefore, considering it as thus distinguished, and as called, by some,
the _privative_ part of original sin; we are led to speak of man in his
destitute state, deprived of that which was his glory, and tended to his
defence against the assaults of temptation; and of those actual
transgressions which are the consequence thereof. This excellent
endowment man is said to have lost.

Some divines express themselves with a degree of caution, when treating
on this subject; and therefore, though they allow that man has lost this
righteousness, yet they will hardly own that God took it away, though it
were by a judicial act, as supposing that this would argue him to be the
author of sin; and I would not blame the least degree of concern
expressed to fence against such a consequence, did it really ensue on
our asserting it; yet I cannot but conclude, that the holiness of God
may be vindicated, though we should assert, that he deprived him of this
righteousness, as a punishment of his sin, or denied him that power to
perform perfect obedience, which he conferred on him at first; for there
is a vast difference between God’s restoring to him his lost power, to
perform that which is truly and supernaturally good in all its
circumstances; and the infusing habits of sin into his nature: This, we
acknowledge, he could not do, consistently with his holiness, and shall
make it farther appear, under a following head. But the other he might
do, that is, leave man destitute of a power to walk before him in
holiness and righteousness; for, if God had been obliged to have given
him this power, then his bestowing it on fallen man, would be rather a
debt than a grace, which is contrary to the whole tenor of the gospel.
But this leads us to consider the _positive_ part of original sin;
therefore,

3. Man’s sinfulness, as fallen, consists in the corruption of his
nature, or a propensity and inclination to all evil, which, as it is
observed, is commonly called, _original sin_, that is, original sin
inherent, as distinguished from it, as imputed to us, which has been
already considered. That the nature of man is vitiated, corrupted, and
prone to all that is bad, is taken for granted by all; and, indeed, he
that denies it, must either be very much unacquainted with himself, or
hardly retain the common notices which we have of moral good and evil.
This is frequently represented, in scripture, as a plague, defilement,
or deadly evil, with which his heart is affected; upon which account it
is said, that _it is deceitful above all things, and desperately
wicked_, Jer. xvii. 9. that _out of it proceed evil thoughts_, and all
other abominations of the most heinous nature, Matth. xv. 19. unless
prevented by the grace of God.

This propensity of nature to sin discovers itself in the first dawn of
our reason; so that we no sooner appear to be men, but we give ground to
conclude that we are sinners. Accordingly it is said, _The imagination
of man’s heart is only evil_, and that _from his youth_,[68] Gen. vi. 5.
compared with chap. viii. 21. and he is represented as _estranged from
the womb, going astray as soon as he is born, speaking lyes_, Psal.
lvii. 3. which is, notwithstanding, to be understood with this
limitation, that we are prone to sin, as soon as we have any
dispositions, or inclinations, to any thing; for it cannot be supposed
that man is disposed to commit actual sin before he is capable of
acting. Some, indeed, have attempted to prove that the soul of a child
sins as soon as it is united to the body in the womb, and have carried
this indefensible conjecture so far, as that they have maintained, that
actual sin is committed in the womb. But this is not only destitute of
all manner of proof, but it seems so very absurd, that, as few will be
convinced by it, so it needs no confutation.

As for this propensity to sin, (whenever it may be said to take place)
it is certain, that it is not equal in all; and in this it differs from
Adam’s guilt, as imputed to us, and from our want of original
righteousness, as the immediate consequence thereof; for these corrupt
inclinations appear, from universal experience, as well as the
concurrent testimony of scripture, to be of an increasing nature; so
that some are more obstinate and hardened in sin than others; and the
habits thereof, in many, are compared to the tincture of the
_Ethiopian_, or the _leopard’s spots_, Jer. xiii. 23. which no human art
can take away. We are, indeed, naturally prone to sin at first; but
afterwards the leprosy spreads, and the propensity, or inclination to
it, increases by repeated acts, or a course of sin. The Psalmist takes
notice of this, in a beautiful climax, or gradation; _They know not,
neither will they understand, they walk in darkness_, Psal. lxxxii. 5.

We shall now take occasion to speak something concerning the rise or
origin hereof. This is a difficulty which many have attempted to account
for and explain, though with as little success as any thing that comes
within the compass of our enquiries. Some ancient heretics[69] have
thought, that because it could not be from God, who is the author of
nothing but what is good, that therefore there are two first causes; one
of all good, which is God, and the other of all evil. But this is
deservedly exploded, as a most dangerous and absurd notion.

Others seem to assert, that God is the author of it; and, that they may
exculpate themselves from making him the author of sin, which is the
vilest reproach that can be cast upon him, they add, that he does this
in a judicial way, as a punishment for the sin of our first parents, and
that it is no reflection on him to suppose, that, as a Judge, he may put
this propensity to sin into our nature; so that it is, as it were,
concreate with the soul, or derived to us, at the same time that it is
formed in, and united to the body: But we cannot, by any means, conclude
God to be the author hereof, though it be as a Judge; for that would be
to suppose his vindictive justice inconsistent with the spotless purity
of his nature. We read, indeed, of God’s _giving men up to their own
hearts’ lusts_, Psal. lxxxi. 11, 12. as a punishment for other sins; but
never of his producing in them an inclination to sin, though it be under
the notion of a punishment: But this having been proved and illustrated,
under a foregoing answer, when speaking concerning the providence of
God, as conversant about those actions, to which sin is annexed, in a
judicial way, we shall pass it over in this place[70].

The Pelagians, and, after them, the Papists, and some among the
Remonstrants, being sensible, that this propensity of nature to sin
cannot be denied, have taken such a method to account for it, as makes
it a very innocent and harmless thing; and, that it may appear agreeable
to the notion which they maintain of the innocency of man by nature,
they suppose that the first motions, or inclinations of the soul to sin,
or, to use their own expression, the first acts of concupiscence are not
sinful; and, to support this opinion, they maintain, that nothing can be
deemed a sin, but what is committed with the full bent of the will; and
therefore when an unlawful object presents itself, how much soever the
mind may be pleased with it, yet there is no sin till there is an actual
compliance with it; and, for this, they bring that scripture, _When lust
has conceived, it bringeth forth sin_, James i. 15. that is, the second
act of concupiscence, or the compliance with the first suggestions to
sin, are only denominated sin; and, as a consequence from this
supposition, they pretend that these first acts of concupiscence were
not inconsistent with a state of innocency; so that when _Eve saw that
the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a
tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and
did eat_, Gen. iii. 6. She did not sin till she took of the fruit
thereof, and did eat; and, as a farther consequence deduced from this
supposition, they conclude, that that original righteousness, which our
first parents had, did not consist so much in a perfect freedom from all
suggestions to sin, but it was rather a bridle to restrain them from
compliance therewith, which, by not making a right use of, they complied
with the motions of concupiscence, and so sinned. And, according to this
scheme, that propensity of nature to sin, which we have in our
childhood, is an harmless, and innocent thing, and therefore we may
suppose it to be from God, without concluding him to be the author of
sin. But this is a vile and groundless notion, and such as savours more
of Antinomianism, than many doctrines that are so called; and, indeed,
it is to call that no sin, which is, as it were, the root and spring of
all sin, and to make God the author and approver of that, which he
cannot but look on with the utmost detestation, as being contrary to the
holiness of his nature; to which nothing farther need be said, since the
notion carries the black marks of its own infamy in itself.

There are others who oppose the doctrine of original sin, and pretend to
account for the corruption of nature, by supposing that all men sinned
for themselves; which is nothing else but reviving an old opinion taken
from the schools of Plato and Pythagoras, namely, that God created the
souls of all men at first, and before they were united to their bodies,
at least those that now they have, sinned; and, as a punishment of their
crime in that state, they were not only condemned to their respective
bodies, but to suffer all the miseries which they are exposed to
therein; so that the sin, which they committed in these bodies, is
nothing else but the propagation of that, which had its first rise in
the acts of the understanding and will, when they first fell into a
state of sin. This is so chimerical an opinion, that I would not have
mentioned it, had it not been maintained by some, as an expedient, to
account for the corruption of nature, by those who deny original sin,
and affirmed with that assurance, as though it were founded in
scripture; whereas I cannot think it has the least countenance from it.
They first take it for granted without sufficient ground that those
scriptures, that speak of the pre-existence of Christ in his divine
nature, are to be understood concerning the pre-existence of his soul;
and from thence they infer, that it is reasonable to suppose, that the
souls of other men pre-existed likewise. And they also strain the sense
of two or three other scriptures to prove it; as when it is said, that,
when God had _laid the foundation of the earth, the morning stars sang
together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy_, Job xxxviii. 7.
where, by the _morning stars_, they understand, as others do, the
_angels_; and, by the _sons of God_, they suppose, is meant the souls of
men, that were then created, and untainted with sin, and, to give
farther countenance to this, they explain what is said in a following
verse, ver. 12. agreeably thereunto, where, when God had continued the
account which he gives of his having created the world, he says,
_Knowest thou it, because thou wast then born, or because the number of
thy days is great_; they render the words, _Knowest thou that thou wast
then born, and that the number of thy days are many_, or they depend
upon the translation, which the LXX give of the text, _I know that thou
wast then born, for the number of thy days is many_, that is, that thou
wast then existent; for though thou knowest not what thou didst, from
that time, till thou camest into the world, yet the number of thy days
is great, that is, thou hadst an existence many ages before. How easy a
matter it is for persons to strain the sense of some words of scripture,
to serve a purpose, contrary to the general scope and design thereof, if
they attempt to give countenance thereby to any doctrine of their own
invention.

As for those scriptures, which they bring to prove that the Jews were of
this opinion, I will not deny the inference from thence, that some of
them were, as appears from the report that the disciples gave to our
Saviour, when he asked them, _Whom do men say that I am?_ They replied,
_Some say that thou art John the Baptist, some Elias, and others
Jeremias, or one of the prophets_, Matth. xvi. 13, 14. that is, they
judged, according to the Pythagorean hypothesis, that the soul of
_Jeremias_, or _one of the prophets_, dwelt in that body, which he had,
and therefore that he was one of them. And there is another scripture,
in which our Saviour’s disciples, speaking concerning the blind man,
asked him, _Did this man sin, or his parents, that he was born blind?_
John ix. 2. as if he should say: Was it for some sin that this man’s
soul committed, before it entered into the body, to which it is united?
And was his being born blind a punishment thereof? I say, I will not
deny, but that some of the Jews, from hence, may be supposed to have
given into this fabulous notion, agreeably to the sentiments of the
philosophy, which they had been conversant in. But I will not allow that
our Saviour’s not confuting this absurd opinion, is an intimation; (as
the defenders thereof generally conclude it to be) that he reckoned it
just; but I rather think, that he passed it over, as a vulgar error, not
worthy of his confutation. And as for that passage, which they quote,
for this purpose, out of the apocryphal book of _Wisdom_, which is no
proof of this matter from Scripture, when one is represented, as saying
to this effect, that _because he was good, he came into a body
undefiled_; this only proves, that this was the opinion of some of that
trifling generation of men. And, when they speak of it, as what, has
been maintained by some of the Fathers, who received the notion from the
philosophy above-mentioned, this is also as little to the purpose; and,
indeed, all the other arguments that they bring, amount to nothing else
but this; that, if the scripture had not given us ground to establish
the contrary doctrine, there might have been, at least, a possibility of
the truth of this, but to lay this as a foundation, on which they assert
the truth thereof, and that with the design above-mentioned, this is
nothing else, but for men to substitute their own fancies, without
sufficient ground, as matters of faith, and build doctrines upon them,
as though they were contained in scripture. I pass by other
improvements, which they make on this fabulous notion, which still
appear to be more romantic.[71]

There is another attempt to account for the origin of moral evil,
without inferring God to be the author of it, which has formerly been
advanced by those who deny the imputation of Adam’s sin; and these
suppose that the soul is rendered polluted with sin, by reason of its
traduction, or propagation, from the soul of the immediate parent; so
that, in like manner, as the body is subject to hereditary diseases, the
soul is defiled with sin, as both one and the other are the consequence
of their formation, according to the course of nature, in the likeness
of those, from whom they immediately derive their respective beings; and
they suppose that a similitude of passions, and natural dispositions in
parents and children, is an argument to evince the truth hereof.

But this appears so contrary to the light of nature, and all the
principles of philosophy, to suppose, that one spirit can produce
another, in a natural way, and so repugnant to the ideas which we have
of spirits, as simple beings, or not compounded of parts, as bodies are,
that it seems almost to be universally exploded, as being destitute of
any tolerable argument to support it, though it was formerly embraced by
some of the Fathers.[72] And they, who pretend to account for it, by the
similitude of one candle’s lighting another, and yet the flame remaining
the same as it was before, have only made use of an unhappy method of
illustration, which comes far short of a conclusive argument to their
purpose. And as for the likeness of natural dispositions in children to
their parents, that does not, in the least prove it; since this arises
very much from the temperament of the body, or from the prejudices of
education. Therefore this method to account for the origin of moral
evil, being not much defended at present, we may pass it over, as a
groundless conjecture.

As for Arminius, and his followers, they have very much insisted on a
supposition, which they have advanced, that the universal corruption of
human nature arises only from imitation. In answer to which, though I
will not deny but that the progress and increase of sin, in particular
persons, may be very much owing to the pernicious example of others,
with whom they are conversant; yet it seems very absurd to assign this,
as the first reason thereof; for it may easily be observed, that this
corruption of nature, or disposition to sin, is visible in children,
before they are capable of being drawn aside, by the influence of bad
examples; and indeed, their being corrupted thereby, is rather the
effect, than the cause of this first propensity that there is in nature
to sin; and it would soon appear, that, if they never saw any thing but
what is excellent or worthy to be imitated in those, under whose care
they are, they would soon discover themselves, notwithstanding, prone to
the contrary vices. And we may as well suppose, that wisdom, or
holiness, takes its rise from imitation, in a natural way, as that sin,
or folly, does so: But nothing is more common, than for children to be
very degenerate from their parents. And whatever attempts are used to
instil principles of virtue into them, it is nothing else, but striving
against the stream of corrupt nature, unless the grace of God interpose,
and do that which imitation can never be the cause of.

Therefore we must take some other method to account for this corruption
of nature, and at the same time, maintain, that the soul is from God, by
immediate creation, which, though it be not so plainly contained in
scripture, as other articles of faith are, yet scripture seems not to be
wholly silent as to this matter; especially when God says, _Behold, all
souls are mine_, Ezek. xviii. 4. and elsewhere, which is more express to
this purpose, God speaks of the _souls that he made_, or created, Isa.
lvii. 16. and the apostle, for this reason, styles him, _The Father of
spirits_, Heb. xii. 9. and that in such a sense, as is opposed to _the
fathers of the flesh_; therefore, taking this for granted, the
difficulty which will recur upon us, which we are to account for, is,
how can the soul, that comes out of God’s immediate hand, be the subject
of moral evil? To assert, that it is created guilty of Adam’s first sin,
or under an obligation to suffer that degree of punishment, which is due
to it, is not inconsistent with the divine perfections, as will farther
appear, when, under a following head, we consider what this punishment
is: but to suppose that it is created by God impure, or with an
inclination, or propensity to sin, cannot well be reconciled with the
holiness of God.

This is what has been acknowledged by most divines, as one of the
greatest difficulties that occur in the whole scheme of divinity. Some,
with a becoming and religious modesty, have confessed their inability to
account for it, and advise us rather to bewail, and strive against it,
than to be too inquisitive about the origin and cause of it. And,
indeed, this is far better, than either to darken counsel by words,
without knowledge, or to advance what we cannot prove; and I would
rather chuse to acquiesce in this humble ignorance thereof, than to
assert any thing which contains the least insinuation of God’s being the
author of it. It is certain, there are many things which we know to be
true, though we cannot, at the same time, account for the manner of
their being what they are, and are at a loss to determine their first
original, or the natural cause thereof: Thus, though we are sure that
the body is united to the soul, which acts by it, yet it is very hard to
determine by what bands they are united, or how the soul moves the body,
as its instrument in acting. Moreover, we know that the particles of
matter are united to one another; but it is difficult to determine what
is the cause thereof. So if we enquire into the reason of the different
colour, or shape of herbs and plants; or why the grass is green, and not
white or red; no one would be blamed if he should acknowledge himself to
be at a loss to account for these, and other things of the like nature.
The same may be said, if we should confess that we are at a loss to
determine what is the first rise of the propensity of the nature of man
to sin: nevertheless, if we keep within the bounds of modesty in our
enquiries, and advance nothing contrary to the divine perfections, we
may safely, and with some advantage to the doctrine of original sin, say
something as to this matter, that hereby we may remove the objections
that are brought, by some, against it.

Various ways have been taken, as was before observed, to account for the
origin of moral evil, which we cannot acquiesce in, by reason of the
many absurdities that attend them; therefore it may be more excusable
for me to offer my humble thoughts about this matter, in which, I hope,
I shall not much deviate from the sentiments of many, who have
judiciously and happily maintained this doctrine.

There is, indeed, one conjecture, which I meet with, in a learned
judicious divine, which differs very much from any account which we have
of it by any other,[73] namely, that the mother while the child is in
the womb, having a sinful thought, impresses it on its soul, whereby it
becomes polluted, in the same manner as its body is sometimes marked by
the strength of her imagination: but this opinion is so very improbable,
that it will hardly gain any proselytes to it; and it only discovers how
willing some persons are to solve this difficulty though in an uncommon
method, as being apprehensive that others have not sufficiently done it.

But, that we may account for this matter in the most unexceptionable
way, which does not in the least, infer God to be the author of sin nor
overthrow the doctrine of imputation of Adam’s sin to his posterity, we
must consider this propensity of nature, or inclination that there is in
the souls of men to sin as a corrupt habit, and therefore that it is not
infused by God; and consequently though the soul, in its first creation,
is guilty, that is, liable to suffer the punishment due to it for Adam’s
sin imputed, yet it does not come defiled out of the hands of God; or,
as one well expresses it,[74] “We are not to think that God put original
sin into men’s souls; for how should he punish those souls, which he
himself had corrupted? And he adds, that it is a great wickedness to
believe that God put into the soul an inclination to sin; though it is
true God creates the souls of men destitute of heavenly gifts, and
supernatural light, and that justly because Adam lost those gifts for
himself and his posterity.”

Another judicious divine[75] expresses himself to this purpose; that,
though the soul is created spotless, yet it is destitute of original
righteousness, as a punishment of Adam’s first sin; and accordingly he
distinguishes between a soul’s being pure, so as the soul of Adam was
when it was first created, that is to say, not only sinless, but having
habits, or inclinations in its nature, which inclined it to what was
good; and its being created with a propensity, or inclination to evil,
which he, with good reason denies; and, as a medium between both those
extremes, in which the truth lies, observes, that the soul is created,
by God, destitute of original righteousness, unable to do what is truly
good; and yet, having no positive inclination, or propensity in nature,
to what is evil; this is plainly the sense of his words, which I have
inserted in the margin.

Now if it be enquired, how this corrupt habit, or inclination to sin, is
contracted? the corruption of nature necessarily ensues on the privation
of original righteousness. Some have illustrated this by an apt
similitude, taken from the travellers wandering out of his way, or
taking a wrong path, as occasioned by the darkness of the night, in
which, his want of light is the occasion, though not properly the cause
of his wandering. Thus man is destitute of original righteousness, or
those habits of supernatural grace, which are implanted in regeneration;
and what can be the consequence thereof, but that his first actions, as
soon as he is capable of doing good or evil, must contain in them
nothing less than a sin of omission, or a defect of, and disinclination
to, what is good? and, by this means, the soul becomes defiled, or
inclined to sin; so that we first suppose it indisposed to what is good,
and that this arises from its being destitute of supernatural grace,
which it lost by Adam’s fall, and that God may deny this grace, without
supposing him to be the author of sin; for he was not obliged to
continue that to Adam’s posterity, which he forfeited, and lost for
them. And that which follows, from hence, is, that the heart of man, by
a continuance in sin after it is first tinctured with it, grows worse
and worse, and more inclined to it than before. This I cannot better
illustrate, than by comparing it to a drop of poison, injected into the
veins of a man, which will by degrees corrupt the whole mass of blood.

As to what concerns the body, to which the soul was united, as giving
occasion to these corrupt habits being contracted thereby, some have
compared this to sweet oil’s being infected by a musty vessel, into
which it is put; so the soul, created good, and put into a corrupt body,
receives contagion from thence: and this conjunction of the pure soul
with a corrupt body, is a just punishment of Adam’s sin. Thus a very
learned and excellent divine accounts for this matter;[76] though this
similitude does not indeed illustrate this matter in every circumstance,
inasmuch as that tincture, which is received from a vessel in a physical
way, cannot well agree with the corruption of the soul, which is of a
moral nature; but yet I would make this use of it, as to observe what
daily experience suggests, namely, that the constitution, or temperament
of the body, has a very great influence on the soul, and is an occasion
of various inclinations to sin, in which it acts, in an objective way.
Therefore when we suppose a soul united to a body, that, according to
the frame and constitution of its nature has a tendency to incline it to
sin, and this soul is deprived of those supernatural habits, which would
have fenced it against this contagion; what can ensue from hence, but
that corruption of nature, whereby men are inclined to what is evil?
which inclination increases daily, till men arrive to the most rooted
habits and dispositions to all that is bad, and are, with more
difficulty, reclaimed from it. This leads us to consider,

IV. The conveyance of original sin, from our first parents to their
posterity, by natural generation, or how we are said to be born in sin.
It is not the sin of our immediate parents that is imputed to us, for
they stand in no other relation, but as natural, and not federal heads
of their posterity; therefore the meaning of that answer, in which this
doctrine is contained, is only this, that original sin is conveyed to
us, by our immediate parents, with our being; so that, as we are born
men, we are born sinners. Now, that we may consider this in consistency
with what has been before laid down nothing can be inferred, from hence,
but that the guilt of Adam’s first sin is conveyed to us with our being,
and that habitual inclination that we have, which we call a propensity
of nature to sin, is the consequence hereof; so that what our Saviour
says, is a great truth, _That which is born of the flesh, is flesh_,
John iii. 6. or every one that is born of sinful parents, will, as soon
as he is capable thereof, be prone to sin. And this leads us to
consider,

What is objected against what has been before laid down, in explaining
this doctrine as though it were inconsistent with the sense of several
scriptures, which speak of sin, as derived from our immediate parents.
For the understanding of which, in general, let it be considered, that
no sense of any scripture is true, that casts the least reflection on
the divine perfections. If we could but prove, that our souls were
propagated by our immediate parents, as our bodies are, there would be
no difficulty in allowing the sense the objectors give of several
scriptures, from whence they attempt to account for the corruption of
nature in a different way, since God would not then be the immediate
author thereof. But, supposing the soul to be created by God, we must
take some other method to account for the sense of some scriptures,
which are brought in opposition to the foregoing explication of the
origin of moral evil.

The first scripture, which is generally brought against it, is, in Psal.
li. 5. _Behold I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother
conceive me_; the meaning of which is, I was conceived, and born guilty
of sin, with an inability to do what is good, and in such a state, that
actual sin would necessarily ensue, as soon as I was capable of
committing it, which would bring with it a propensity to all manner of
sin. And that David had a sense of guilt, as well as the pollution of
nature, is plain, from several verses of this Psalm; especially in ver.
9, 14. It is therefore as though he should say, I was a guilty creature,
as soon as I was conceived in the womb; and left of God, and so sin has
the ascendant over me. I was conceived a sinner by imputation, under the
guilt of Adam’s first sin; and to this I have added much more guilt, and
lately that of blood-guiltiness. So that though he is said to have been
_shapen in iniquity_, it does not necessarily follow, that his soul was
created with infused habits of sin. Whatever the parents are the cause
of, with respect to this corruption and pollution, let it be attributed
to them; but far be it from us to say, that God is the cause thereof.

Again, it is said, in Job xiv. 4. _Who can bring a clean thing out of an
unclean? no not one_. It is no strain upon the sense of this text, to
suppose, that by _unclean_, he means guilty; and by _cleanness_,
innocency, as opposed to it; for, in most places of this book, it is so
taken, that is, in a forensick sense; and therefore, why not in this?
And, if so, then it is not at all inconsistent with the above-mentioned
explication of this doctrine. See chap. xi. 4. _I am clean in thine
eyes_, that is, guiltless; otherwise Zophar’s reply to him would not
have been so just, when he saith, _God exacteth of thee less than thine
iniquity deserveth_; and, in chap. xv. 14. _What is man, that he should
be clean? and he, that is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?_
where, to be _righteous_, seems to be exegetical of being _clean_; and
both of them, being taken in a forensick sense, it agrees well with what
Job is often reproved for, by his friends, namely, boasting too much of
his righteousness, or cleanness: thus he says, in chap. xxxiii. 9. _I am
clean without transgression, neither is there iniquity in me_; that is,
I am not so guilty, as to deserve such a punishment, as he inflicts: _He
findeth occasions against me_, &c. Surely, _cleanness_ here is the same
with innocence, as opposed to guilt; and, in chap. ix. 30. _If I wash
myself with snow water, and make my hands never so clean_; this plainly
implies, that if he should pretend himself guiltless, yet he could not
answer the charge which God would bring against him, neither could they
_come together in judgment_, ver. 32. Now, if this be so frequently, if
not always, the sense of _clean_, in other places of this book, why may
not we take the sense of these words, _Who can bring a clean thing out
of an unclean_, to be this; that a guilty child is born of a guilty
parent, which will be accompanied with uncleanness, and it will be prone
to sin, as soon as it is capable thereof?

Another scripture, which we bring to prove original sin, is in Gen. vi.
5. _Every imagination of the thoughts of the heart of man, is only evil
continually_. Why may not we understand it thus? The imagination of the
thoughts are evil, as soon as there are imaginations, or thoughts,
though not before. And this rather respects the corruption of nature,
than the first rise of it; and so does that parallel scripture; in Gen.
viii. 21. _The imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth_; q. d.
Sin increases with the exercise of reason.

And, in Psal. lviii. 3. _The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go
astray as soon as they be born speaking lies_. This agrees well enough
with what we have said concerning their separation from God, from the
womb, from whence arises actual sin; so that they _speak lies_, as soon
as they are capable of it.

There is also another scripture, usually brought to prove original sin,
which is to be understood in a sense, not much unlike that which we but
now mentioned, _viz._ Isa. xlviii. 8. _Thou wast called a transgressor
from the womb_. This doth not overthrow what we have said; for a person
may be a transgressor, as it were, from the womb, and yet the soul not
have a propensity to sin implanted in it by God, in its first creation.

Again, in Gen. v. 3. _Adam begat a son in his own likeness_, that is, a
fallen creature, involved in guilt, and liable to the curse, like
himself; and that would be like him, in actual sin, when capable of it,
born in _his image_, as having lost the _divine image_.

Again, in John iii. 6. _That which is born of the flesh, is flesh_. We
may understand this, that every one that is born of sinful parents, is a
sinner, destitute of the Spirit of God, which is a great truth. But
surely our Saviour did not design hereby to signify, that any one is
framed by God with a propensity of sin; which is all that we militate
against in this head.[77]

V. The last thing to be considered, is, that all actual transgressions
proceed from original sin. These are like so many streams that flow from
this fountain of corruption; the one discovers to us what we are by
nature; the other, what we are by practice; and both afford us matter
for repentance, and great humiliation, in the sight of God. But since we
shall have occasion to enlarge on that part of this subject, which more
especially relates to actual transgressions, with their respective
aggravations, in some following answers,[78] we pass it over at present;
and shall conclude this head with some practical inferences from what
has been said, concerning the corruption of our nature, as being the
spring of all actual transgressions.

1. We ought to put a due difference between the first discoveries there
are of this corruption of our nature in our infancy, and that which
arises from a course, or progress in sin; the latter has certainly
greater aggravations in it than the former, and is like a spark of fire,
blown up into a flame. Accordingly, it is our duty, as the apostle says,
to _exhort one another daily, while it is called to-day, lest any be
hardened_, that is, lest this corruption of nature be increased,
_through the deceitfulness of sin_, Heb. iii. 13.

2. Let us carefully distinguish between being born innocent, which the
Pelagians affirm, and we deny, and being born defiled with sin, and so
having a propensity of nature to it, as soon as we have a being; or let
us more especially take heed that we do not charge this on God, as
though he were the author thereof, as well as of our being, as though it
were infused by him, and not acquired by us.

3. Since this corruption of nature so early discovers itself, and abides
in us, as long as we are in this world, let us take heed that we do not
use means to increase it, by giving way to presumptuous sins; or
endeavour to excite or draw it forth, either in ourselves, or others;
for this will occasion abundance of actual transgressions.

Thus having considered that guilt which we bring with us into the world,
and that corruption of nature, which discovers itself, as soon as we
appear to be intelligent creatures, or are capable of any disposition to
sin; we proceed to speak concerning the misery and punishment that
ensues hereupon.

Footnote 67:

  _See Quest._ cv.-cli.

Footnote 68:

  Gen. vi. 5. Is a picture of antideluvian iniquity, it not only proves
  that guilt was universal, and all men affected; that it was general,
  the greater portion of the actions of men being evil; but that the
  depravity of every unsanctified man was total, extending not merely to
  his _thoughts_, but to his _imagination_ יצר, the first _frame_ or
  _form_ of the thoughts. They were not partially, but _only evil_, and
  that not occasionally but _continually_. Yet the race who were
  destroyed, must have performed relative duties, parental and filial;
  and the tribes seem to have lived as free from war, at least, as those
  who have existed since the flood. If crimes before the flood exceeded
  in degree and multitude those of modern times, yet if they differed
  not in their nature, it will follow, that when the unrenewed in our
  days, are kind parents, dutiful children, honest men, and good
  citizens, they may be totally depraved; the “_imagination of the
  thoughts of their hearts may be only evil continually_.” As we know
  not their hearts, are to judge of them by their fruits, and are
  charitably to impute their actions to better motives, we may with
  propriety commend what God will condemn. He sees the intentions, and
  the aversion of heart to him and holiness, and though he may reward
  virtuous conduct in this world, to encourage virtue, yet will
  eventually judge righteous judgment, and connect every action with its
  motives.

  This scripture also shews us not only, that the _material goodness_ of
  actions will not recommend them to God, but that _conscientiousness_
  in the discharge of relative duties, (for this must have existed
  before the flood,) will not recommend them where the love of God,
  which is peculiar to the renewed mind, is absent.

Footnote 69:

  _The Marcionites in the second century, and the Manichees in the
  third._

Footnote 70:

  _See Page 54-57, ante._

Footnote 71:

  _See a book, supposed to be written in defence hereof by Glanvil,
  entitled, Lux Orientalis._

Footnote 72:

  _Tertullian was of this opinion, [Vid. ejusd. de Anima] and Augustin,
  though he sometimes appears to give into the opinion of the traduction
  of the soul; yet, at other times, he is in great doubt about it, as
  ready to give it up for an indefensible opinion, Vid. Aug. de Orig.
  Anim. & in Gen. ad liter lib. 10._

Footnote 73:

  _Vid. Pictet. Theol. Chr. Lib. V. cap. 7. Absit ut animam creari
  impuram dicamus, cum nihil impurum e Dei manibus prodire possit.—Dum
  infans est in utero matris, cum intime ei conjungatur, objecta in ejus
  cerebrum easdem impressiones efficiunt, ac in matris cerebrum.—Hoc
  patet ex eo quod contingit mulieribus prægnantibus; cum enim avide
  inspiciunt aliquid, vel rubro, vel flavo colore, vel pallido tinctum,
  contigit sæpissime ut infantes quos in utero gestant, tali colore
  tincti nascantur. Ita intime corpus & animam uniri, ut ad motum
  corporis, ceriæ oriantur in mente cogationes.—Motus, qui fiunt in
  cerebro infantium idem præstare in illis, ac in matribus, nempe eorum
  animam recens creatam rebus sensibilibus & carnalibus alligare; unde
  videmus infantium animas omnia ad se & ad suum referre corpus._

Footnote 74:

  _See Du Moulin’s Anatomy of Armnianism, Chap. X. § 3, 15, 17._

Footnote 75:

  _See Turret. Instit. Theol. Elenct. Tom. I. Loc. 9. Q. 12. § 8, 9.
  Licet anima sine ulla labe creatur a Deo, non creatur tamen cum
  justitia originali, qualis anima Adami, ad imaginem Dei; sed cum ejus
  carentia in pœnam primi peccati. Ut hic distinguendum sit inter animam
  puram, impuram, & non puram. Illa pura dicitur, quæ ornata est habitu
  sanctitatis; impura, quæ contrarium habitum injustitiæ habet; non
  pura, quæ licet nullum habeat habitum bonum, nullum tamen habet malum,
  sed creatur simpliciter cum facultatibus naturalibus; qualis
  supponitur creari a Deo post lapsum, quia imago Dei amissa semel per
  peccatum, non potest amplius restitui, nisi regenerationis beneficio
  per Spiritum Sanctum. Quamvis autem animæ creantur a Deo destitutæ
  justitia originali; non propterea Deus potest censeri author peccati,
  quia aliud est impuritatem infundere, aliud puritatem non dare, qua
  homo se indignum reddidit in Adamo._

Footnote 76:

  _See Perkins on the Creed._

Footnote 77:

  The mind of man is as open to the view of God, as our words or actions
  are; the intention is ordinarily the seat of guilt; for the merely
  physical action of the body deserves neither praise nor blame; the
  Lord is able not only to detect, but to punish in every instance such
  guilt; his justice therefore requires that he should exercise such
  power.

  To prefer the creatures to the Creator, is to deny his superior
  excellency, and that he is the source from whence we have derived the
  good which we possess; it is to give the honour which is due to him,
  unto others; it is a robbery committed on him; it is a revolting from
  his allegiance, and treason, which ought to be punished.

  It is an evidence that we have no love for him, when we desire
  communion and acquaintance with other objects on their own account. It
  is a proof of enmity against him, for we cannot at the same time fix
  our highest affections on sensual pursuits and on holiness; and an
  attachment to the former evinces hatred of the latter; and so an
  aversion to an holy God. If we are enemies to God, Omnipotence must
  and will prevail, nor can he suffer in the universe, his enemies to be
  finally prosperous, possessing still their enmity.

  Where there exists not the love of God, there is no obedience to his
  laws, for this is the principle of obedience; all the good deeds of
  such are but a semblance of holiness, and must be rejected by him who
  views the motive with the action. Disobedience to his laws is to be
  punished with death, the implied penalty of all divine laws; and the
  least punishment that the magnitude of an offence against an infinite
  Majesty can admit.

Footnote 78:

  _See Quest._ cv.-cli.



                             Quest. XXVII.


    QUEST. XXVII. _What misery did the fall bring upon mankind?_

    ANSW. The fall brought upon mankind the loss of communion with God,
    his displeasure and curse, so as we are, by nature, children of
    wrath, bond-slaves to Satan, and justly liable to all punishments in
    this world, and that which is to come.

Having considered the doctrine of original sin, as imputed to, and
inherent in us, we are now led to speak concerning the miseries that are
consequent hereupon, or the punishment that is due to it. And, inasmuch
as the former of these is equal in all; and the latter increases, in
proportion to that degree of obstinacy, and hardness of heart, which
discovers itself in all ages, and conditions of life, and it is attended
with greater guilt, as it is more deeply rooted in us, and gains very
great strength by actual sin; it is necessary for us to consider the
punishment due to original sin, as such, and how it differs from a
greater degree thereof, which is due to its increasing guilt. The former
of these is not distinguished from the latter, by many who treat on this
subject; which gives occasion to some, who deny original sin, to
represent it in the most terrible view, as though there were no
difference between the wrath of God, that infants are exposed to, and
that which is inflicted on the most obdurate sinner: but, that we may
remove prejudices against this doctrine, and set it in a just light, we
shall consider the punishment due to original sin, in both these
respects.

I. The punishment due to original sin, as such, namely, in those who are
charged with no other guilt, but that of Adam’s first sin. This more
especially respects those that die in their infancy, before they are
capable of making any addition to it. Concerning these, I cannot but
conclude with Augustin, in his defence of original sin against the
Pelagians, that the punishment thereof is the most mild of any, and
cannot be reckoned so great, as that it might be said of them, that _it
had been better for them not to have been born_.[79]

That this may farther appear, let it be considered, that the punishment
due to actual sin, or the corruption of nature increased thereby, is
attended with accusations of conscience, inasmuch as the guilt, that is
contracted by it, arises from the opposition of the will to God; and the
alienation of the affections from him, is oftentimes attended with
rebellion, against a great degree of light, and many other aggravations,
taken from the engagements which we are under to the contrary, and is
persisted in with obstinacy, against all those checks of conscience, and
means used to prevent it; and, in proportion to the degree thereof,
they, who contract this guilt, are said, as our Saviour speaks of the
scribes and Pharisees, to be liable to the _greater damnation_, Matt.
xxiii. 14. and the prophet Jeremiah speaks of some of the greatest
opposers of his message, as those who should be destroyed with _double
destruction_, Jer. xvii. 18. This is certainly a greater degree of
punishment, than that which is due to original sin, as such; and, with
respect to these, there are oftentimes many sad instances of the wrath
of God breaking in upon the conscience, as he says by the Psalmist, that
he would _reprove them, and set their iniquities in order before their
eyes_, Psal. l. 21. and what our Saviour says elsewhere, concerning the
_worm that dieth not_, Mark ix. 44. is to be applied to them. But this
punishment does not belong to those who have no other guilt, but that of
Adam’s sin, imputed to them.

If this can be made appear, as, I hope, we shall be able to do, it may
have a tendency to remove some prejudices, which many entertain against
the doctrine of original sin, who express themselves with such an air of
insult, as though they were opposing a doctrine which is contrary to the
dictates of human nature, as well as represents God, as exercising the
greatest severity against those who are chargeable with no other sin
than this; and they generally lay hold on some unwary expressions,
contributing very little to the defence of this doctrine, which might as
well have been spared; for they are no less exceptionable, though
prefaced with an apology, for the want of pity, which such like
unguarded expressions seem to contain in them, when they say, that their
milder thoughts, concerning this matter, will do those infants, who are
tormented in hell, no good, as their severer ones can do them no
prejudice. We may therefore be allowed to make a farther enquiry into
this matter, especially when we consider, that those, who die in
infancy, will appear, at the last day, to have been a very considerable
part of mankind. And some tender parents have had a due concern of
spirit about their future state, and would be very glad, were it
possible for them, to have some hopes concerning the happiness thereof.

Various have been the conjectures of divines about it. The Pelagians,
and those who verge towards their scheme, have concluded, that they are
all saved, as supposing that they are innocent, and not, in the least
concerned in Adam’s sin: but this is to set aside the doctrine we are
maintaining; and therefore, I cannot think their reasoning, in this
respect very conclusive.

Others, who do not deny original sin, suppose, notwithstanding, that the
guilt thereof is atoned for, by the blood of Christ. This would be a
very agreeable notion, could it be proved; and all that I shall say, in
answer to it, is, that it wants confirmation. As for those who suppose,
with the Papists, that the guilt of original sin is washed away by
baptism, as some of the fathers have also asserted, this has so many
absurd consequences attending it, that I need not spend time in opposing
it; one of them is, that it makes that, which, at most, is but a sign or
ordinance, for our faith, in which we hope for the grace of regeneration
to be the natural means of conferring it, which is contrary to the
design of all the ordinances, which God has appointed: but, passing by
this, which will afford little foundation for hope.

Others have concluded, that all the infants of believing parents, dying
in infancy, are saved, as supposing that they are interested in the
covenant of grace, in which God promises, that he will be a God to
believers, and their seed. This would be a very comfortable thought, to
those who have hope concerning their own state. But I cannot find that
this argument is sufficiently maintained; since it seems very evident,
that all such like promises rather respect the external, than the saving
blessings of the covenant of grace.

Others therefore conclude, (as many good and pious Christians have done,
that when they have been enabled, by an act of faith, in which they have
enjoyed some sensible experience of the powerful influence of the Holy
Spirit, to give up their infant-seed to Christ, whether it be in
baptism, or not) from the frame of their own spirit, and the evidence
they have had of the power of God, exciting this act of faith, that God
would own that grace which he hath enabled them to exercise, and
consequently that he has accepted of this solemn act of dedication of
them to him, which has given them comfortable and quieting thoughts
about the salvation of their infant-seed. This is not only an excellent
method, used by them, but it seems to be as just a way of reasoning
about the salvation of those who die in infancy, as any that is
generally made use of; and, it may be, David might infer the salvation
of his child, when he says, _I shall go to him; but he shall not return
to me_, 2 Sam. xii. 23. from some such method as this. But, since these
are uncommon instances of faith, and such as every sincere Christian has
not always been found in the exercise of, I would hope, that there are
multitudes of infants saved, concerning whom we have no certain ground
to determine who they are; and why may not we suppose, that there are
many of them, who belong to the election of grace, that are not the seed
of believing parents? However, notwithstanding all the pious and kind
thoughts, which the conjectures of men suggest, we must be content to
leave this, as a secret that belongs to God, and not unto us to know.

Therefore all that I shall attempt, at present, is, to prove, that if
all, who die in their infancy, are not saved, yet their condemnation is
not like that which is due to actual sin, or those habits thereof, which
are contracted by men. And here it must be allowed, pursuant to our
former method of reasoning, that, if they are not saved, they have the
punishment of loss inflicted on them; for the right to the heavenly
blessedness, which Adam forfeited and lost, respected not only himself,
but all his posterity. Whether they have any farther degree of
punishment inflicted on them, or how far they are liable to the
punishment of sense, I dare not pretend to determine. I do not care to
conclude, with some of the Remonstrants, such as Episcopius, Curcellæus,
and others, that they always remain in an infantine state, or, that they
have no more ideas in the other world, than they had in this; for this
is to suppose what cannot be proved. Besides, if they always remain in
this state, this must be supposed, either to be the consequence of
nature, and argued from their want of ideas, while they were in this
world, or else it must be by a particular dispensation of providence,
respecting some infants in the next, and not all. To suppose the former,
is to suppose that none are saved, since remaining in an infantile
state, is not salvation; for it is beyond dispute, the soul that is
saved, whether it went out of the world an infant, or a man is
exceedingly enlarged, and rendered receptive of the heavenly
blessedness. And if, on the other hand, they suppose, that their
remaining in this infantile state, is by a particular dispensation of
providence, this, was it true, would be a small punishment, indeed,
inflicted on them for Adam’s sin: But we have as little, or less ground
to conclude this, than that all infants are saved; and therefore I
cannot give into this notion, which, indeed, differs but little from
that of the Papists, who suppose them, if dying unbaptized, to remain in
a state of insensibility; which is no other, than an ungrounded
conjecture. And, as for the account which we have, in some of their
writings concerning the place alloted for them, which they call _Limbus
Infantium_, and its situation between heaven and hell, this is no better
than a theological romance; and it cannot but be reckoned trifling and
ludicrous, and nothing else but an imposing their own fancies, as
articles of faith.

I dare not, indeed, allow myself to be too peremptory, or give my
thoughts too great a loose on this subject: but, since it is taken for
granted by all, who give into the doctrine of original sin, that
infants, if not saved, are liable to the punishment of loss, which has
been before considered, as the immediate consequence of the imputation
of Adam’s sin; yet it doth not appear, to me, that they have such a
tormenting sense of the greatness of their loss, as others have who were
adult, and had received the knowledge of divine things, which infants
are not capable of. These, as it is more than probable, carry the ideas,
which they had received of divine things, out of the world with them,
which infants cannot be said to do; and therefore, if ever they have the
knowledge thereof, and consequently of the glory of the heavenly state,
it must be by extraordinary revelation. How far they may be led into
this matter, by observing the glorious work, which shall be performed in
the most visible manner, in the day of judgment, I pretend not to
determine. This, indeed, will give them some apprehensions of the
happiness which others are possessed of, and they are excluded from: But
even this cannot have so great a tendency to enhanse their misery, as
when hardened and presumptuous sinners, who have despised and neglected
the means of grace, are said, as our Saviour speaks to the Jews, _To see
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of God, and they themselves
thrust out_, Luke xiii. 28. as intimating, that this will, in a judicial
way, be a means to enhanse their misery; and consequently they cannot
but have such a tormenting sense thereof, as what will make their loss
appear greater, and so render them more miserable than infants can be,
who never had these means of grace in this world.

But, because it is not safe to be too peremptory as to this matter, all
that I shall farther observe is, that whatever conceptions they may have
of the happiness, which they are not possessed of, yet they shall not
have that part of the punishment of sin, which consists in
self-reflection, on the dishonour that they have brought to God or the
various aggravations of sin committed, which is a very great degree of
the punishment of sin in hell; and therefore, when the wrath of God is
said to break in on the consciences of men, whereby, in a judicial way,
sins, before committed, are brought to remembrance, and the means of
grace, which they have neglected, cannot but occasion the greatest
distress and misery, this is certainly a punishment that infants cannot
be liable to; and, if the condition of the inhabitants of Tyre and Sidon
is represented by our Saviour, as _more tolerable than that of
Capernaum_, so in proportion the condemnation of infants, who have no
other guilt but that of original sin, will be more tolerable than that
of the heathen, inasmuch as they had no natural capacities of doing good
or evil. And this is all that I pretend to determine, which amounts to
no more than this, that, since punishment must be proportioned to the
crime; as they are liable only to the guilt of Adam’s sin, which is much
less than being liable to it, with those other transgressions that
proceed from it, therefore their punishment must be less than that of
any others. This, I think, may safely be asserted: and, if we proceed no
farther in our enquiries about this matter, but confess our ignorance of
many things relating to the state and capacity of separate souls, it
will be more excuseable, than for us to pretend to a greater degree of
knowledge, than is consistent with our present state.

II. We shall consider the punishment due to original sin, when attended
with many actual sins, proceeding from a nature defiled, and prone to
rebel against God. This is greater or less, in proportion to the habits
of sin contracted, as will be more particularly considered, when we
speak of the aggravations of sin, and its desert of punishment.[80] We
shall therefore, at present, speak to it in the method in which it is
laid down in this answer.

1. By the fall of our first parents, all mankind lost communion with
God. This was enjoyed at first; for God having made man, with faculties
capable of this privilege, designed to converse with him; and, indeed,
this was one of the blessings promised in the covenant, which he was
under, and it was a kind of prelibation of the heavenly state; therefore
it follows, that the fall of our first parents could not but first
expose themselves, and then their posterity, to the loss of this
privilege; and, indeed, this was the more immediate result of sin
committed, and guilt hereby contracted. It is a reflection on the divine
perfections to suppose that God will have communion with sinners, while
they remain in a state of rebellion against him; or that he will love
and manifest himself to them, and admit them into his presence, as
friends and favourites, unless there be a Mediator who engages to repair
the injury offered to the holiness and justice of God, and secure the
glory of his perfections, in making reconciliation for sin, and thereby
bringing them into a state of friendship with God: But this privilege
man had no right to, or knowledge of when first he fell, and
consequently God and man could not _walk together_, as _not being
agreed_, Amos iii. 3. God was obliged, in honour, to withdraw from him,
and thereby testify his displeasure against sin, as he tells his people,
_Your iniquities have separated between you and your God; and your sins
have hid his face from you_, Isa. lix. 2.

This consequence of sin is judicial; and, at the same time, through the
corruption of nature, as the result of that enmity against God, which
follows on our fallen state, man is farther considered, as not desiring
to converse with God: His guilt inclined him to fly from him, as a
sin-revenging Judge; and his loss of God’s supernatural image,
consisting in holiness of heart and life, rendered him disinclined, yea,
averse to this privilege; so that, as he was separate from the presence
of God, he desired to have nothing more to do with him, which is the
immediate result of his sinful and fallen state.

2. Man, by his fall, was exposed to the divine displeasure, or to the
wrath of God, in which respect, as the apostle says, we are, _by nature
children of wrath_, Eph. ii. 3. by which we are not to understand, as
some do, who deny the guilt and punishment of original sin, that nothing
is intended hereby, but that we are inclined to wrath as signifying
those depraved and corrupt passions, whereby we are prone to hate God,
and holiness, which is his image in man, which is rather the consequence
of original sin, and discovers what we are by practice, whereas this
text speaks of what we are by nature; and it seems a very great strain
and force on the sense of the word, when some understand this mode of
speaking, that we are children of wrath only by custom, which according
to the proverbial expression is a second nature; or as tho’ it only
signified the temper of their minds, or their behaviour towards one
another, as giving way to their passions as the apostle says, that _they
lived in malice and envy, and hated one another_, Tit. iii. 3. as though
it denoted only the effects of the corruption of nature, not their
liableness to the wrath of God due to it; whereas it is plain, that the
apostle makes use of an hebraism, very frequently occurring in
scripture, both in the Old and New Testament; as when a person, that is
guilty of a capital crime, and liable to suffer death, is called, _A son
of death_: so our Saviour calls Judas, who was liable to perdition, _A
son of perdition_, John xvii. 12. so here _children of wrath_ are those
that were liable to the wrath of God, by which we are to understand that
punishment, which is the demerit of sin; not that wrath is a passion in
God, as it is in us; but it signifies either his will to punish, or his
actual inflicting punishment on them, in proportion to the crimes
committed, whereby he designs to glorify his holiness. If this be meant
by the punishment due to all mankind, as they come into the world with
the guilt of the sin of our first parents, in which respect guilt
denotes a liableness to punishment and all punishment contains some
degree of wrath; I say, if this be the meaning of their being so by
nature, I am far from denying it. For the only thing that I have
militated against, is, the supposition, that the punishment due to
original sin imputed, bears an equal proportion to that of guilt
contracted, whereby the nature of man is rendered more depraved, by a
continuance in sin; and therefore I cannot but acquiesce in that
explication given hereof by the learned Beza, who is a most strenuous
defender of original sin,[81] who, when he speaks of men as children of
wrath, _by nature_, as all mankind are included herein, understands
this, not as referring to the human nature, as created by God; but as
corrupted by its compliance with the suggestions of Satan; and therefore
we suppose, that as the corruption of nature is daily increased,
whatever punishment is due to it, at first, there is notwithstanding a
greater condemnation, which it is exposed to, as the consequence of sin
committed and continued in; and this is described, in scripture, in such
a way, as renders it, beyond expression, dreadful; _Who knoweth the
power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath_,
Psal. xc. 11. or, as the prophet says, _Who can stand before his
indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger_, Nah. i.
6.

3. Man, as fallen, is exposed to the curse of God, which is an external
declaration of his hatred of sin, and will to punish it, which we
sometimes call the condemning sentence of the law, as the apostle says,
_As many as are of the works of the law, are under a curse as it is
written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things that are
written in the book of the law to do them_, Gal. iii. 10. so that
whatever threatnings there are by which God discovers his infinite
hatred of sin, these we are liable to as the consequence of our fallen
state; and accordingly, as we were, at first, separate from God, the sin
of our nature tends, according to the various aggravations thereof, to
make the breach the wider, and our condemnation much greater.

4. By the fall, we became bond-slaves to Satan: thus it is said, that
_the devil has the power of death_, Heb. ii. 14. and sinners are
described, as _walking according to the prince of the power of the air,
the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience_, Eph. ii.
2. and he is elsewhere described, as _a strong man armed, who keeps the
palace, till a stronger than he shall overcome him, and take from him
all his armour_, Luke xi. 21, 22. The heart of man is the throne in
which he reigns, and men are naturally inclined to yield themselves
slaves to him, and corrupt nature gives him the greatest advantage
against us. None of us can say, as our Saviour did, _The prince of this
world cometh, and hath nothing in me_, John xiv. 30. for we are as ready
to comply, as he is to tempt, especially if not prevented by the grace
of God, and therefore may well be said to be bond-slaves to him. No age,
or condition of life, is exempted from his assaults, and he suits his
temptations to our natural tempers, and hereby we are overcome, and more
and more enslaved by him; and certainly this must be a state of misery,
and that more especially, because such are enemies to Christ, and
withdraw themselves from his service, despising his protection, and the
rewards he has promised to his faithful servants; and our Saviour says,
that _we cannot serve two masters_, Mat. vi. 24. and so long as we
continue bond-slaves to Satan, we contract greater guilt, and the
dominion of sin increases therewith; so that to be the servants of
Satan, is to be the servants of sin; and we are herein miserable, in
that we serve one who intends nothing but our ruin, and is pleased in
all steps leading to it, and will be as ready to accuse, torment, and
make us more miserable in the end, as he is to solicit or desire our
service, or as we can be to obey him. Let us therefore use our utmost
endeavours, that we may be free from this bondage and servitude; and
accordingly let us consider,

(1.) That Satan has no right to our service. Though he be permitted to
rule over the children of disobedience; yet he has no divine grant, or
warrant for it, to render it lawful for him to demand it, or us to
comply therewith, and he is no other than an usurper, and declared enemy
to the king of heaven; and, though sinners are suffered to give
themselves up to him, this is far from being by divine approbation;
therefore,

(2.) Let us professedly renounce, groan under, and endeavour, through
the grace of God to withdraw ourselves from his service, whenever we are
led captive by him, and not be his willing slaves, to obey him with our
free consent, or out of choice, and with pleasure; and, in order
hereunto,

(3.) Let us list ourselves into Christ’s service, put ourselves under
his protection, and desire his help, against the wiles and fiery darts
of the devil.

(4.) Let us improve the proclamation of liberty made in the gospel, and
rejoice in it, as the most desirable blessing, _If the Son make you
free, then shall ye be free indeed_, John viii. 36.

The last thing observed in this answer, is, that, as fallen creatures we
are justly liable to all punishments in this world, and that which is to
come; by which we are to understand, not only the consequences of
original sin, imputed to, but inherent in us, and increased by that
guilt which we daily contract, which exposes the sinner to punishment in
both worlds, in proportion to the aggravations thereof. This we are led
to speak to, in the two following answers.[82]

Footnote 79:

  _See Aug. contra Julianum, Lib. V. cap. 8. Ego non dico, parvulos sine
  baptismo Christi morientes tanta pœna esse plectendos; ut eis non
  nasci potius expediret. Et ejusd. de peccat. merit. & remsis. Lib. I.
  cap. 16. Potest proinde recte dici, parvulos eine baptismo de corpore
  exeuntes, in damnatione omnium mitissima futuros._

Footnote 80:

  _See Quest._ cli. clii.

Footnote 81:

  _Vid Bez. in loc. Ubicunque Ira est, ibi & peccatum; quo sine
  exceptione involvi totam humanam gentem idem testatur, Rom. i. 18. Sed
  naturam tamen intellige non quatenus creata est; verum quatenus per
  Diaboli suggestionem corrupta est a seipsa._

Footnote 82:

  It has been frequently objected, if they that are in the flesh be dead
  in sin, or so wholly inclined to evil, that they “_cannot please
  God_,” they must be viewed as miserable rather than guilty, as objects
  of pity rather than subjects for punishment.

  To analyse is to enervate this objection. Wherein consists the
  impotency, and what is the guilt of an evil action? If there be any
  physical defect in the understanding, or any external obstacle, which
  may prevent a conformity to the revealed will of God; it is an excuse,
  the party is clear: but this inability is of a different kind; the
  sensual heart is prevailingly inclined to the objects of time and
  sense, and the mind possesses no ability to resist its strongest
  inclination, which is but the common case of every deliberate choice.
  Evil men cannot see, because they shut their eyes; they cannot hear,
  because they stop their ears; they cannot come to Christ, or, which is
  the same thing, will not apply to him by faith. They persevere in such
  opposition until death or despair fixes their enmity; except their
  wills are changed, and they are drawn by divine grace.

  The guilt of an evil action, depends not upon, or exists not in the
  mere action of the body; otherwise brutes, and machines of wood and
  metal, would be subjects of blame. The guilt is seated in the
  intention, and lies in the inclination of the mind to that which is
  prohibited; and the habitual preponderancy of the inclinations to
  evil, marks a worse character, than a sudden and individual choice of
  it.

  If the prevailing desires of that which is evil, be the only impotency
  of the state of death in sin, and at the same time the only guilt of
  the party; this inability and guilt are concomitant, and always in
  exact proportion to each other; or rather may be considered as the
  same thing, under different aspects and names: it results therefore
  that as certainly as vice is not virtue, the impotency to good of the
  unrenewed man, is no excuse for his guilt.



                         Quest. XXVIII., XXIX.


    QUEST. XXVIII. _What are the punishments of sin in this world?_

    ANSW. The punishments of sin in this world, are either inward as
    blindness of mind, a reprobate sense, strong delusions, hardness of
    heart, horror of conscience, and vile affections; or outward, as the
    curse of God upon the creatures for our sakes, and all other evils
    that befall us in our bodies, names, estates, relations, and
    employments, together with death itself.

    QUEST. XXIX. _What are the punishments of sin in the world to come?_

    ANSW. The punishments of sin in the world to come, are everlasting
    separation from the comfortable presence of God, and most grievous
    torments in soul and body, without intermission, in hell-fire for
    ever.

I. In the former of these answers, we have an account of those
punishments which sin exposes men to in this world. These are
distinguished as being either inward or outward, personal or relative;
of which, those that are styled _outward_, which more especially respect
our condition in the world, as we are liable to many adverse
dispensations of providence therein, and are generally reckoned, by
sinners, the greatest, as they are most sensible while they groan under
the many evils and miseries which befall them, in their bodies, names,
estates, relations, and employments, and they end in death, the most
formidable of all evils; though, in reality, the punishments of sin,
which are styled _inward_, such as blindness of mind, hardness of heart,
&c. how little soever they are regarded by those who fall under them, by
reason of that stupidity, which is the natural consequence thereof: yet
they are, by far, the greatest and most dreaded by all, who truly fear
God, and see things in a just light being duly affected with that which
would render them most miserable in the end.

Here we shall consider,

_First_, Those punishments that are called inward, which respect either
the understanding, will, conscience, or affections. Accordingly,

1. We are said to be exposed to blindness of mind: This the apostle
describes in a most moving way, when he speaks of the _Gentiles, as
walking in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened,
being alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in
them, because of the blindness of their heart_, Eph. iv. 17, 18.
Ignorance and error are defects of the understanding, whereby it is not
able to find out, nor desirous to enquire after the way of truth and
peace; and accordingly the apostle says, _The way of peace have they not
known_, Rom. iii. 17. and by reason hereof, we are naturally inclined to
deny those doctrines, which are of the greatest importance, namely, such
as more immediately concern the glory of God, and our own salvation.
This ignorance is certainly most dangerous, and cannot be exempted from
the charge of sin, much more when we are judicially left to it, as a
punishment for other sins committed by us.

2. Another punishment of sin, mentioned in this answer, is strong
delusion, which is the consequence of the former. This is taken from the
apostle’s words, _For this cause God shall send them strong delusion,
that they should believe a lie_, 2 Thess. ii. 11. the meaning of which
is nothing else but this, that God suffers them, who receive not the
love of the truth, but take pleasure in unrighteousness, to be deluded,
by denying them that spiritual and saving illumination, which would have
effectually prevented it. Now, that we may consider what the apostle
means by these _strong delusions_, we may observe, that every error, or
mistake in lesser matters of religion, is not intended hereby; for then
few or none, would be exempted from this judgment; but it includes in it
a person’s entertaining the most abominable absurdities in matters of
religion, which are contrary to the divine perfections, and the whole
tenor of scripture, and subversive of those truths, which are of the
greatest importance; or, when persons pretend to revelations, or are
turned away from the truth by giving credit to the amusements of signs,
and lying wonders; with which Antichrist is said to come, _after the
working of Satan_; and the consequence hereof is, that _they believe a
lye_, which they suppose to be confirmed hereby.

Errors, in matter of religion, are sometimes invincible and unavoidable,
for want of objective light, or scripture-revelation, as in the Heathen,
Mahometans, and others, who through the disadvantages and prejudices of
education, are estranged from the truth: but even this in some respects,
may be said to be judicial; for, though such do not sin against the
gospel-light, yet they are guilty of other sins, which justly provoke
God to leave them in this state of darkness and ignorance. But the
punishment of sin, when God gives men up to this judgment, is more
visible in those, who have had the advantages of education, above
others, and have had early instructions in the doctrines of the gospel;
yet, by degrees, they are turned aside from, and have denied them, and
so _forsaken the guide of their youth_, Prov. ii. 17. These sometimes
call those sentiments about religious matters, which once they received,
implicit faith, and please themselves with their new schemes of
doctrine, looking, as they call it, with pity, or, I might rather say,
disdain, on others, who are not disentangled from their fetters, or have
not shook off the prejudices of education, nor arrived to so free and
generous a way of thinking, as they pretend to have done. But how much
soever they may glory in it, it is a sad instance of God’s giving them
up, in a judicial way, to the vanity and delusion of their minds; and
accordingly they believe that to be a truth, which others can prove to
be a lie, and which they themselves once thought so. Now this appears to
be a punishment of sin, in that the gospel, which once they professed to
believe, had not that effect, or tendency, as it ought, to subdue their
lusts and corruptions; but they rebelled against the light, and were
under the power of presumptuous sins: their understanding, and talents
of reasoning, have been enlarged, and, at the same time, the pride and
vanity of their minds hath not been subdued, and mortified, by the grace
of God; whereupon, they have been given up first to question, then to
deny, and afterwards to oppose, and, in the most profane and invidious
manner, to ridicule those sacred and important truths, which they once
received. This is a sad instance of the punishment of sin; and the use
that I would make of it, may be in the following inferences.

(1.) That we ought not to be content with a bare speculative knowledge
of divine truths, but should endeavour to improve them, to promote
practical godliness, as they have a tendency to do in all those, who, as
the apostle saith, _have so learned Christ_, as that they have been
_taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus_, Eph. iv. 21.

(2.) We ought not to content ourselves with an implicit faith, or
believe the doctrines of the gospel, merely because they have been
received by wise and good men, in former or later ages, but should be
able to render a reason of the faith and hope that is in us, as built
upon clear scripture evidence; so, on the other hand, we must take heed
that we do not despise the many testimonies which God’s people have
given to the truth, or forsake the footsteps of the flock, as though God
had left his servants to delusions, or groundless doctrines, and there
were no light in the world, or the church, till those, who have
studiously endeavoured to overthrow the faith delivered to, and
maintained by the saints, brought in that which they, with
vain-boasting, call new light, into it.

(3.) Let us strive against the pride of our understanding, which
oftentimes tempts us to disbelieve any doctrine which we cannot fully
account for, by our shallow methods of reasoning, as though we were the
only men that knew any thing; and, as Job says, _Wisdom must die with
us_, Job xii. 2.

(4.) If we are in doubt concerning any important truth, let us apply
ourselves, by faith and prayer, to Christ, the great prophet of his
church, who has promised his Spirit to lead his people into all
necessary truth, to establish them in, and to keep them from being
turned aside from it, by every wind of doctrine, through the management
and sophistry of those who lie in wait to deceive. And to this we may
add, that we ought to bless God for, and to make a right use of the
labours of others, who have not only been led into the knowledge of the
gospel themselves, but have taken a great deal of pains, and that with
good success, to establish the faith of others therein.

(5.) If we have attained to a settled knowledge of the truth, and, more
especially, if we have been blessed with a spiritual and practical
discerning thereof, let us bless God for it, and endeavour to improve it
to the best purposes, which will be a preservative against this sore
judgment of being given up to the blindness of our minds, or strong
delusions, and thereby to forsake our first faith.

3. Another punishment of sin, which more especially respects the will,
is hardness of heart, and a reprobate sense, when men are given up to
the perverseness and obstinacy of their natures, so that they are
fixedly resolved to continue in sin, whatever be the consequence
thereof, when they cannot bear reproof for, and refuse to be reclaimed
from it, whatever methods are used in order thereunto. Thus the prophet
speaks, concerning a people, which had had forewarnings by sore
judgments, and were, at that time, under sad rebukes of providence; yet
God says, concerning them, _They will not hearken unto me; for all the
house of Israel are impudent and hard-hearted_, Ezek. iii. 7. and the
apostle speaks of some, who _have their consciences seared with a hot
iron_, 1 Tim. iv. 2. and others, who are described, as _sinning
wilfully_, Heb. v. 26. that is, resolutely, being head-strong, and
determined to persist therein; and are as the man described in Job, _Who
stretcheth out his hand against God, and strengtheneth himself against
the Almighty; he runneth upon him, even upon his neck, upon the thick
bosses of his bucklers_, Job xv. 25. Thus corrupt nature expresses its
enmity and opposition to God; and, as sinners are suffered to go on in
this way, it may well be reckoned a punishment of sin, or an instance of
God’s judicial hand against them for it. This hardness of heart is
sometimes compared to a _stone_, Ezek. xxxvi. 26. or a _rock_, Jer.
xxiii. 19. or an _adamant_, which is hardly broken with a hammer, Zech.
vii. 12. or an _iron sinew_, and their _brow_ is said to be as _brass_,
Isa. xlviii. 4. and sometimes they are compared to _a swift dromedary,
traversing her ways; or the wild ass, used to the wilderness, that
snuffeth up the wind at her pleasure_, Jer. ii. 23, 24. _and the bullock
unaccustomed to the yoke_, Jer. xxxi. 18. _or to the deaf adder, that
stoppeth her ears; that will not hearken to the voice of the charmers,
charming never so wisely_, Psal. lviii. 4, 5. This stupidity of the
heart of man is so great, that it inclines him to go on in a course of
rebellion against God, and, at the same time, to conclude all things to
be well; whereas, this is the most dangerous symptom, and a visible
instance of God’s judicial hand, as a punishment of sin in this life.
There are several instances, in which this hardness of heart discovers
itself; as,

(1.) When men are not afraid of God’s judgments threatened, nor regard
the warnings given thereof before-hand, or when they refuse to humble
themselves under them, as God says to Pharaoh, _How long wilt thou
refuse to humble thyself before me?_ Exod. x. 3.

(2.) When they stifle, and do not regard those convictions of
conscience, which they sometimes have; and, though they know that what
they do is sinful, and displeasing to God, yet they break through all
those fences, which should have prevented their committing it, as the
apostle speaks of some, _Who knowing the judgment of God, that they who
commit such things, are worthy death; not only do the same, but have
pleasure in them that do them_, Rom. i. 32.

(3.) Men may be said to be hardened in sin, when they do not mourn for,
or repent of it, after they have committed it: but, on the other hand,
endeavour to conceal, extenuate, and plead for it, rather than to
forsake it. And here we may take occasion to enquire,

[1.] What are those sins which more especially lead to this judgment of
hardness of heart. These are,

_1st_, A neglect of ordinances, such as the word preached, as though we
counted it an indifferent matter, whether we wait at wisdom’s gate, or
no, or make a visible profession of subjection to Christ, and desire of
communion with him herein; and particularly when we live in the constant
neglect of secret prayer: thus the hardened sinner is described, when it
is said, _Yea, thou castest off fear, and restrainest prayer before
God_, Job xv. 4.

_2dly_, Another sin leading to it, is, a person’s delighting in, or
associating himself with such companions, as are empty and vain, express
an enmity to the power of godliness, and frequently make things sacred,
the subject of their wit and ridicule, choosing such for his
bosom-friends, who cannot bear to converse about divine things, but
rather depreciate, or cast contempt upon them; such an one is called, _A
companion of fools_, and is opposed to those that _walk with wise men,
who shall be wise_, Prov. xiii. 20. and there is no method which will
have a more direct tendency to harden the heart, or root out any of the
remains of serious religion, than this.

_3dly_, A shunning faithful reproof, or concluding those our enemies,
who are, in this respect, our best friends. He that cannot bear to be
told of his crimes, by others, will, in a little while, cease to be a
reprover to himself, and hereby will be exposed to this judgment of
hardness of heart.

_4thly_, Our venturing on the occasions of sin, or committing it
presumptuously, without considering the heinous aggravations thereof, or
the danger that will ensue to us thereby; these things will certainly
bring on us a very great degree of hardness of heart.

But, since there are some who are afraid of falling under this judgment,
and are ready to complain, that the hardness, which they find in their
own hearts, is of a judicial nature; this leads us to enquire,

[2.] What is the difference between that hardness of heart, which
believers often complain of, and judicial hardness, which is considered,
in this answer, as a punishment of sin. There is nothing that a believer
more complains of, than the hardness and impenitency of his heart, its
lukewarmness and stupidity under the ordinances; and there is nothing
that he more desires, than to have this redressed, and is sometimes not
without a degree of fear, lest he should be given up to judicial
hardness; and therefore, to prevent discouragements of this nature, let
it be considered,

(1.) That judicial hardness is very seldom perceived, and never
lamented; a broken and a contrite heart is the least thing that such
desire: But it is otherwise with believers; for, as it is said of
Hezekiah, that _he was humbled for the pride of his heart_, 2 Chron.
xxxii. 26. so all they, who have the truth of grace, and none but such,
are exceedingly grieved for the hardness of their heart, which is an
argument that it is not judicial, how much soever it be, in common with
every sin, the result of the corruption of nature, and the imperfection
of this present state.

(2.) Judicial hardness is perpetual; or, if ever there be any remorse,
or relenting, or the soul is distressed, by reason of its guilt, or the
prevalency of sin, it is only at such times when he is under some
outward afflictions, or filled with a dread of the wrath of God; and, as
this wears off, or abates, his stupidity returns as much, or more, than
ever: Thus it was with Pharaoh, when he was affrighted with the mighty
thundering and hail, with which he was plagued, he _sent for Moses and
Aaron, and said unto them, I have sinned; the Lord is righteous, and I
and my people are wicked_, Exod. ix. 27. but, when the plague was
removed, it is said, that _he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart_.
But it is otherwise with a believer; for sometimes, when no adverse
dispensations, with respect to his outward circumstances in the world,
trouble him, yet he is full of complaints, and greatly afflicted, that
his heart is no more affected in holy duties, or inflamed with love to
God, or zeal for his glory, or that he cannot delight in him as he
would, or obtain a compleat victory over in-dwelling sin, which is his
constant burden; and, whenever he has a degree of tenderness, or
brokenness of heart, under a sense of sin, it is not barely the fear
that he has of the wrath of God, as a sin-revenging judge, or the
dreadful consequences of sin committed, that occasion it, but a due
sense of that ingratitude and disingenuity, which there is in every act
of rebellion against him, who has laid them under such inexpressible
obligations to obedience.

(3.) Judicial hardness is attended with a total neglect of all holy
duties, more especially those that are secret; but that hardness of
heart which a believer complains of, though it occasions his going on
very uncomfortably in duty, yet it rather puts him upon, than drives him
from it.

(4.) When a person is judicially hardened, he makes use of indirect and
unwarrantable methods to maintain that false peace, which he thinks
himself happy in the enjoyment of; that, which he betakes himself to,
deserves no better character than a refuge of lies; and the peace he
rejoices in, deserves no better a name than stupidity: but a believer,
when complaining of the hardness of his heart, cannot take up with any
thing short of Christ, and his righteousness; and it is his presence
that gives him peace; and he always desires that faith may accompany his
repentance, that so, whenever he mourns for sin, the comfortable sense
of his interest in him, may afford him a solid and lasting peace, which
is vastly different from that stupidity and hardness of heart, which is
a punishment of sin.

There is another expression in this answer, which denotes little more
than a greater degree of judicial hardness, when it is styled, _A
reprobate sense_, or, as the apostle calls it, _A reprobate mind_, Rom.
i. 28. which God is said to have given them up to, _who did not like to
retain him in their knowledge_; the meaning of which is, that persons,
by a course of sin, render their hearts so hard, their wills so
obstinate and depraved, as well as their understandings so dark and
defiled, that they hardly retain those notices of good and evil, which
are enstamped on the nature of man, and, at some times, have a tendency
to check for, and restrain from sin, till they are entirely lost, and
extinguished by the prevalency of corrupt nature, and a continued course
of presumptuous sins; and, as the result hereof, they extenuate and
excuse the greatest abominations: Thus Ephraim is represented, as
saying, _In all my labours, they shall find none iniquity in me that
were sin_, Hos. xii. 8. whereas God says in a following verse, that
_they provoked him to anger most bitterly_, ver. 14. and, after this,
they entertain favourable thoughts of the vilest actions, as some are
represented doing, _Who call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness
for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet
for bitter_, Isa. v. 20.

4. The next spiritual judgment mentioned in this answer, as a punishment
for sin, is a person’s being given up to _vile affections_. This God is
said to have done, to those whom the apostle describes, as _giving
themselves over to the committing of those sins_, which are contrary to
nature, Rom. i. 26. such as all men generally abhor, who do not abandon
themselves to the most notorious crimes: This is a contracting that
guilt, which is repugnant to those natural ideas of virtue and vice,
which even an unregenerate man, who has not arrived to this degree of
impiety, cannot but abhor. These are such as are not to be named among
Christians, or thought of, without the utmost regret, and an afflictive
sense of the degeneracy of human nature.

5. The last thing mentioned in this answer, in which the inward
punishment of sin, in this life, consists, is, _Horror of conscience_.
Under the foregoing instances of spiritual judgments, conscience seemed
to be asleep, but now it is awakened, and that by the immediate hand of
God, and this is attended with a dread of his wrath falling upon it:
horror and despair are the result hereof; _The arrows of the Almighty
are within him, the poison whereof drinketh up his spirit; the terrors
of God do set themselves in array against him_, Job vi. 4. and, _Terrors
take hold on him as waters; a tempest stealeth him away in the night.
The east wind carrieth him away, and he departeth; and, as a storm,
hurleth him out of his place. For God shall cast upon him, and not
spare; he would fain flee out of his hand_, chap. xxvii. 20-22.

This differs from those doubts and fears, which are common to believers,
inasmuch as it is attended with despair, and a dreadful view of God, as
a God _to whom vengeance belongeth_, and is attended, as the apostle
says, _with a certain fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery
indignation, which shall devour the adversaries_, Heb. x. 27. Before
this, he took a great deal of pains to stifle convictions of conscience,
but now he would fain do it, but cannot; which is a sad instance of the
wrath of God pouring forth gall and wormwood into it, when he says, to
use the prophet’s words, _Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and
thy backslidings shall reprove thee_, Jer. ii. 19.

But, now we are speaking concerning horror of conscience, we must take
heed, lest we give occasion to doubting believers, who are under great
distress of soul, through a sense of sin, to apply what has been said,
to themselves, for their farther discouragement, and conclude, that this
is a judicial act of God, and a certain evidence, that they have not the
truth of grace: Therefore we may observe, that there is a difference
between this horror of conscience, which we have been describing, and
that distress of soul, which believers are often liable to, in three
respects.

(1.) The former, under horror of conscience, flee from God, as from an
enemy, and desire only to be delivered from his wrath, and not from sin,
the occasion of it; whereas the believer desires nothing so much, as
that his iniquity, which is the occasion of it, may be subdued and
forgiven, and that he may have that communion with God which he is
destitute of; and, in order thereunto, he constantly desires to draw
nigh to him in ordinances, and, if he cannot enjoy him he mourns after
him: Thus the Psalmist complaineth, as one in the utmost degree of
distress, _Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with
all thy waves_, Psal. lxxxviii. 7. yet he says, _Unto thee have I cried,
O Lord, and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee_, ver. 13.

(2.) The one reproaches God, and entertains unworthy thoughts of him, as
though he were severe, cruel, and unjust to him; whereas the other, with
an humble and penitent frame of spirit, complains only of himself,
acknowledges that there is no unrighteousness with God, and lays all the
blame to his own iniquity.

(3.) Horror of conscience, when it is judicial, seldom continues any
longer, than while a person is under some outward afflictive
dispensation of providence, under which sin is increased, and the
removal thereof leaves him as stupid as he was before: whereas it is
otherwise with a believer; for the removal of God’s afflicting hand, as
to outward troubles, will not afford him any remedy against his fears,
unless sin be mortified, and God is pleased to lift up the light of his
countenance upon him, and give him joy and peace in believing.

_Secondly_, Having considered the _inward_ punishments of sin in this
life we are now to speak something concerning those, which, in this
answer, are styled _outward_, of which some are the immediate
consequence of the first entrance of sin into the world, and others are
increased by the frequent commission thereof; the former includes in it
the curse of God upon the creature for our sakes, and our liableness to
death; the latter respects those various other evils that befal us, of
which some are personal, and others relative; accordingly, many evils
are said to befal us, in our bodies, names, estates, relations, and
employments.

1. The curse of God was denounced against the creatures, immediately
after man’s apostasy from him: This is, in part, contained in the
threatning, _Cursed be the ground for thy sake. Thorns and thistles
shall it bring forth to thee; by the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat
bread, till thou return to the ground_, Gen. iii. 17-19. and it is very
elegantly described by the apostle, who speaks of[83] _the creature as
subject to vanity, not willingly but by reason of him, who hath
subjected the same in hope_;[84] and of _the whole creation’s groaning
and travelling in pain together until now_, Rom. viii. 20-22. the
general scope and design whereof seems to be this, that it retains the
visible marks of the curse of God, which followed upon man’s sin. This I
rather think to be the sense thereof, than to suppose, as some do, that
_the creature_, here spoken of, is the Gentile world, and _the vanity_,
which they were subject to, that idolatry which they were universally
addicted to; for that does not seem to agree with what the apostle says,
when he supposes that their subjection to this vanity was not
_willingly_, neither can it well be called _the bondage of corruption_.
But if, on the other hand, we take it for that part of the creation,
which was more immediately designed for the use of man, being abused,
and so subject to that vanity, which is the consequence of his fall,
this agrees very well with its being _not willingly_; for he is speaking
here of creatures not endowed with understanding and will, yet abused by
those that are, and therefore their subjection to man’s vanity, is not
so much from themselves, as from man’s sin; and then he speaks of the
liableness of all these things to corruption, as the world is decaying
and growing toward a dissolution. How far this curse of God, on the
creature, extended itself, whether only to this lower world, or to the
heavenly bodies themselves, such as the sun, moon, and stars, I pretend
not to determine; for I desire not to extend my conjectures beyond the
line of scripture, which speaks of _the earth, as cursed for man’s
sake_; and how far the other parts of nature, are liable to corruption,
or inclined towards a dissolution, it is hard to say. All that I shall
add, on this head, is, that, when this is called a punishment, which is
consequent on man’s sin, it more especially respects man, who is the
only subject of punishment in this world: inanimate creatures are the
matter, in which he is punished, but he alone is the subject thereof.

2. There are other evils that befal us, in which we are more immediately
concerned, and these are either personal or relative; and, accordingly,

(1.) We are liable to bodily diseases, which are a continual weakness,
or decay of nature; and afterwards to death, which is the dissolution of
the frame thereof. All the pains and disorders of nature, whereby our
health is impaired, and our passage, through this world, rendered
uneasy, are the consequence of our sinful and fallen state, and, in that
respect, are sometimes styled, a punishment of sin: thus, when our
Saviour healed the man that was sick of the palsy, he intimates, that
his sickness was the consequence of sin, by the mode of expression used,
_Thy sins are forgiven thee_, Mat. ix. 2. and the Psalmist speaks of
God’s _pardoning the iniquities of his people, and healing all their
diseases_, Psal. ciii. 3. at the same time; in this respect, they are
styled, in a more large sense, a punishment of sin: but, when they have
a mixture of the wrath of God in them, and are not rendered subservient
to our good, nor included among those dispensations, which are called
fatherly chastisements, as they are not in those that are in an
unjustified state, they are, in a more proper sense, punishments of sin.
Thus the diseases that God brought on the Egyptians, are reckoned among
the plagues of Egypt, and so were a visible instance of the vindictive
justice of God. The same thing may be said of death, which is the
dissolution of the frame of nature, which is a consequence of sin, in
all, and in the most proper sense, a punishment of sin, in those, who
are liable not only to the stroke, but the sting of death, and thereby
are brought under the power of the second death.

(2.) There are many evils that befal us in our names, when we meet with
reproaches and injurious treatment, as to what concerns our character in
the world, from those who act as though their tongues were their own,
and they were not accountable to God, for those slanders and revilings,
which they load us with. We are, in this case, very ready to complain of
the injustice done us, by their endeavouring to deprive us of that,
which is equally valuable with our lives: but we ought to consider, that
sin is the cause of all this, and God’s suffering them thus to treat us,
and thereby to hinder our usefulness in the world, must be reckoned a
punishment of sin.

(3.) There are other evils that befal us in our secular concerns,
namely, our estates and employments in the world, which are entirely at
the disposal of providence, which renders us rich, or poor, succeeds, or
blasts, our lawful undertakings. This God may do, out of his mere
sovereignty, without giving an account of his matters to any one. But
yet, when we meet with nothing but disappointments, or want of success
in business, and whatever diligence, or industry, we use, appears to be
to no purpose, and adverse providences, like a torrent, sweep away all
that we have in the world, and poverty comes upon us, like an armed man,
this is to be reckoned no other than a punishment of sin.

(4.) There are other evils, which we are exposed to, in our relations,
by which we understand, the wickedness of those who are nearly related
to us, or the steps they take to ruin themselves, and cast a blemish on
the whole family to which they belong. The bonds of nature, and that
affection, which is the result thereof, render this very afflictive: and
especially when they, who are related to us, attempt any thing against
us to our prejudice, this is a circumstance that sharpeneth the edge of
the affliction. And, as it is a sin in them, which is contrary to the
dictates of nature; so sometimes we may reckon it a punishment which we
are liable to, as the consequence of our sin in general. But, if we have
occasion to reflect on our former conversation, as not having filled up
every relation with those respective duties, that it engages to; if we
have been undutiful to our parents, or unfaithful servants to our
masters, or broke the bonds of civil society, by betraying or deserting
our friends, and setting aside all those obligations which they have
laid us under; this oftentimes exposes us to afflictive evils of the
like nature, whereby the affliction we meet with in others, appears to
be a punishment of our own sin. Thus concerning the punishment of sin in
this life; from whence we may make the following remarks.

1. Whatever evils we are exposed to in this world, we ought to be very
earnest with God, that he would not give us up to spiritual judgments.
The punishments of sin, which are outward, may be alleviated and
sweetened with a sense of God’s love, and made subservient to our
spiritual and eternal advantage. But blindness of mind, hardness of
heart, and those other evils, which tend to vitiate and defile the soul,
which have in them the formal nature of punishment, these are to be
dreaded like hell; and, as we are to be importunate with God to prevent
them, so we ought to watch against those sins that lead to them; and
therefore let us take heed of being insensible, or stupid, under any
afflictive evils, as neglecting to hear the voice of God, who speaks by
them, or refusing to receive instruction by correction.

2. Let us not be too much dejected, or sink under those outward
afflictive providences, which we are liable to; for, though they be the
consequence of sin, yet, if we have ground to conclude, by faith, that
our sins are forgiven, they are not to be reckoned the stroke of
justice, demanding satisfaction, and resolving never to remove its hand
from us, till we are consumed thereby; since believers often experience,
what the prophet prays for, that God _in wrath remembers mercy_, Hab.
iii. 2.

3. Let us take heed that we do not ascribe afflictive providences to
chance, or content ourselves with a bare reflection on them, as the
common lot of man in this world, who is _born to trouble as the sparks
fly upwards_: For, this we may do, and not be humbled for that sin,
which they are designed to bring to remembrance, as they are to be
reckoned a punishment thereof.

4. Let us not murmur, or quarrel with God, as though he dealt hardly
with us, in sending afflictive evils; but rather let us bless him, how
heavy soever they appear to be, that they are not extreme, but
mitigated, and have in them a great mixture of mercy. Thus God says,
concerning the evils that he had brought upon Israel, that _in measure
he would debate with them, who stayeth his rough wind in the day of the
east wind: and by this shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged_, Isa.
xxvii. 8, 9. and, by this means, God not only afflicts us less than our
iniquities deserve, but brings good to us thereby in the end. If the
guilt of sin is taken away, we have ground to conclude, that all these
things _shall work together for good_, as he has promised they shall, to
those that _love him_. This leads us to consider,

II. The punishment of sin in the world to come. Though the wrath of God
be revealed, in many instances, in a very terrible manner, as a
punishment of sin in this life, yet there is a punishment unspeakably
greater, which sinners are liable to, in the world to come. That this
may appear, let us consider the following propositions.

1. That the soul exists after its separation from the body by death;
which is evident, from the immateriality thereof, and its being of a
different nature from the body. This was known and proved by the light
of nature; so that the very heathen, who had no other light than that to
guide them, discover some knowledge of it. But this is more plain from
scripture; as when it is said, _Fear not them which kill the body, but
are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him, which is able to
destroy both soul and body in hell_, Matt. x. 28.

2. The soul thus existing, though separate from its body, must be
supposed to retain those powers and capacities it had, while united to
it, which are proper to it, as a spirit, and particularly as the subject
of moral government; and those powers and capacities may also be
supposed to be in it in a greater degree, when dislodged from the body,
which is a great hindrance to it in its actings, as every one sensibly
experiences; therefore it follows,

3. That it cannot but be happy, or miserable, in another world; for
there is no middle state between these two. This is farther evident from
what was observed in the last proposition, concerning the continuance
and increase of its powers and faculties, whereby it is rendered more
capable thereof, than it is now.

4. If it goes out of this world, under the weight and guilt of sin upon
it, it must retain that guilt, because there is no sacrifice for sin,
extending itself to that world; no mediator, no gospel, or means of
grace; no promises of, or way to obtain forgiveness; therefore,

5. Wicked men, whose sins are not forgiven in this world, are the
subjects of punishment in the other.

6. This punishment cannot be castigatory, or paternal, or consistent
with the special love of God, or, for their advantage, as the
punishments of the sins of believers are in this world, since it is
always expressed as the stroke of vindictive justice, demanding
satisfaction for sins committed.

7. Some are happy in a future state, namely, those who are justified;
for, _whom he justified, them he also glorified_, Rom. viii. 30. But
this is not the privilege of all; therefore they who are not justified,
or whose sins are not pardoned, are the subjects of the punishment of
sin in the world to come. This is a very awful subject, and should be
duly improved, to awaken our fears, and put us upon using those means,
which God has ordained to escape it. But I shall not, in this place,
enlarge upon it, since it is particularly insisted on under another
answer,[85] and therefore I shall only observe, that, as sin is
objectively infinite, as being against an infinite God, it deserves
eternal punishment. And therefore all the punishments inflicted on
sinners, in this world are not proportioned to it; and consequently
there are vials of wrath, reserved in store, to be poured on those, who
wilfully and obstinately persist in their rebellion against God, and the
punishment will be agreeable to the nature of the crime; so that as sin
is a separation of the heart and affections from God, and contains in it
a disinclination to converse with him, as well as unmeetness for it, the
punishment thereof will consist in a separation from his comfortable
presence, and that is to be separated from the fountain of blessedness,
which must render the soul beyond expression, miserable. This is
generally called a punishment of loss; and there is besides it, a
punishment of sense, expressed by those grievous torments, which are to
be endured in soul and body; the soul, in a moral sense, may be said to
be capable of pain, as it has an afflictive sensation of those miseries
which it endures; and the body is so in a natural sense, which, as it
has been a partner with the soul in sinning, must likewise be so in
suffering. And this farther appears inasmuch as the body endures several
pains and evils, as punishments of sin in this life, which shall be
continued, and increased in another. This is usually expressed by that
punishment, which is most terrible, namely, of fire; and the place in
which it is inflicted, is hell, and the duration thereof is to eternity.
But of these things elsewhere.[86]

Footnote 83:

  χισις, means animal nature in man. The relief of the body is spoken
  of.

Footnote 84:

  Ver. 20. is a parenthesis, except, “_in hope_,” “_Waiteth &c. sons of
  God ... in hope that the creature, &c._”

Footnote 85:

  _See Quest._ lxxxix.

Footnote 86:

  The faculties of the soul speak it made for eternity; particularly
  conscience points to a time of retribution. The same truth may be
  deduced from the holiness, justice, and even the goodness of God; from
  the moral agency of man; from the course of the conduct of men; and
  from the unequal administration of justice: but the solid and clear
  proofs are found in the word of God. How pitiable the condition of
  that man, who having spent his life without a view to a final account,
  has no other hope in the hour of death, except that which is founded
  upon the groundless supposition, that God will cease to be holy, just,
  and true; that he will change from his original purpose, subvert the
  order of his government, and surrender the demands of religion,
  conscience, and reason, to save the guilty in their sins.

  Humanity would lead us to entertain a secret wish, that the impenitent
  should be permitted to drop into non-existence, and that the demands
  of justice should be waved; but this sentiment is unadvised, and
  springs from an ignorance of the demerit of sin; defective views of
  the importance of rectitude in the administration of the divine
  government; from imperfect conceptions of God’s perfections; from our
  own interest, or from a faulty sympathy for the undeserving. Existence
  is a blessing; but when prostituted to the dishonour of the Creator,
  the party will not be at liberty to throw it up when he chooses, and
  thus elude the demands of justice.

  The minds of the unrenewed are directed prevailingly to temporal
  things; a total separation from them, is, perhaps, the first sense of
  punishment which is felt. They have not in life sought eternal
  happiness, yet they generally have supposed it possible to be
  attained, or that mercy would bestow it. The discovery of their
  eternal separation from heaven, the society of the blessed, the
  beatific vision of God, from fulness of joys, and rivers of pleasures,
  will produce abject despair. This will be aggravated by the reflection
  that they might have been happy. The blessings of providence, the
  mercy of God in making provision for their recovery, the love and
  compassion of Christ, the means of grace, the invitations and warnings
  of the Gospel, all abused and lost, will augment their remorse to an
  inconceivable degree. The malice and horrors of their cursed society
  of fiends and damned spirits, will be another source of torment.

  Great as these distresses may be, the separate spirits are dreading
  greater evils. “_Hast thou come to torment us before the time?_” When
  the judgment has passed, “_death_,” the bodies which had been dead,
  “_and hell_,” the spirits which had been in Hades, “_shall be cast
  into the lake of fire_.” If their bodies shall be raised spiritual,
  incorruptible, and immortal, which is affirmed of the righteous; and
  seems probable, because the earth will be destroyed, and they will be
  associated with spirits, yet the sense of the pain, which arises from
  burning, may be given and continued in them by the application of
  fire, or even without it.

  But that which imbitters all their distresses in the highest degree,
  is, that they shall be eternal. The original words of the scripture
  expressive of their perpetuity, being unrestrained by any implied or
  expressed limitation, should be understood as when applied to Deity,
  or the happiness of the saints. The same perpetual duration is also
  shown by negation, which is the strongest language. “_The worm dieth
  not, and the fire is not quenched_;” it is “_unquenchable fire_,” and
  “_their end_,” (or final state,) “_is to be burned_.” We read of a sin
  which shall “_not be forgiven_.” “_Not every one—shall enter into the
  kingdom_;” and where Christ is, they “_cannot come_.” They will “_have
  judgment without mercy_.” None of these things are true, if all men
  shall be saved.

  Perhaps justice required that these evils should be disclosed; but if
  they be unjust, it was improper to threaten them. Our aversion to them
  springs from our ignorance of the evil of sin. Nevertheless, the
  sacrifice of Christ, and the warnings of scripture, speak their
  extent; and the continuance of the damned in sin, establishes their
  certainty.



                              Quest. XXX.


    QUEST. XXX. _Doth God leave all mankind to perish in the state of
    sin and misery?_

    ANSW. God will not leave all mankind to perish in the state of sin
    and misery, into which they fell by the breach of the first
    covenant, commonly called, the covenant of works; but of his mere
    love and mercy, delivereth his elect out of it, and bringeth them to
    an estate of salvation by the second covenant, commonly called the
    covenant of grace.

Hitherto we have considered man as made upright, and having many
blessings in possession, and more in expectation, according to the tenor
of the covenant he was under. We have also observed the first entrance
of sin into the world, with all those miseries that attended it; and we
are now led to speak of that inestimable display of divine love and
grace, which appears in our salvation, which is considered more
generally in this answer; wherein there is,

I. Something supposed, namely, that if God had left man in the state
into which he brought himself by sin, he would have perished for ever.
He was not only in danger of ruin and destruction, but sunk into it. He
was like a brand in the fire, that would soon have been consumed, had he
not been plucked out of it. His state was not only miserable, but
hopeless, inasmuch as he could not think of any expedient how he might
recover himself. He was guilty, and no creature could make atonement for
him; separated from the comfortable presence of God, whose terrors made
him afraid, and whose hand was heavy upon him; neither could he apply
himself to any one, who would interpose or appear in his behalf, whereby
he might be restored to the enjoyment of those privileges, which he had
forfeited and lost. What tongue can express, or heart be suitably
affected with the misery of this condition! And this would have been our
deplorable case for ever, had we been left of God in our fallen state.
But we have, in the gospel, a door of salvation opened, or glad tidings
proclaimed therein, to those who were sunk as low as hell, which is the
only spring and hope of comfort, to those who are afflicted with a sense
of their sin and misery. Accordingly, it is farther observed,

II. That God will not leave all mankind to perish in that state, but
designed to deliver his elect out of it, and bring them into a state of
salvation. That God designed not to leave mankind in this miserable
condition, appears from the discovery he has made of the way of
salvation which was contained in that promise, which God gave to our
first parents, respecting the _seed of the woman_, who was to break the
_serpent’s head_; or the Saviour’s being _manifested that he might
destroy the works of the devil_; and all the promises contained in the
gospel, are, as it were, a farther improvement on it, or a continued
declaration of God’s purpose relating to the salvation of his people.
The work of redemption wrought out by Christ, as God incarnate, was a
wonderful discovery of this great truth, that God had a design to
recover and save lost sinners; and all the gifts and graces of the
Spirit, by whom the redemption purchased by Christ, is applied, and that
joy and peace, which they have in believing, which are, as it were, the
first fruits of eternal life, these are all a convincing proof that God
determined not to leave man to perish in his fallen state. And to this
we may add, that even the malice and rage of Satan, and all the
endeavours used by him, to defeat this design, and the glorious victory
which God enables his people to obtain over him, _who are made more than
conquerors through him that loved them_; these are so many convincing
proofs, that God designed not to leave man, in his ruined condition, but
to make known to him the way of salvation; first, to make him meet for
it, and then to bring him to the possession of it.

Salvation is an inestimable privilege, containing in it all the
ingredients of blessedness, such as are adapted to the condition of
miserable sinners; and it is a very comprehensive one; which will
appear, if we consider what we are hereby delivered from, and what we
are possessed of. There is a great variety of blessings contained in the
former of these; as, we are saved from sin, namely, from the guilt
thereof in justification, and from the dominion thereof in
sanctification, and from that bondage we were liable to, whereby we were
in perpetual dread of the wrath of God, desiring to fly from his
presence, and naturally inclined to yield ourselves subjects and slaves
to his greatest enemy: all these we are delivered from. And there are
many positive blessings and privileges, which we are made partakers of;
such as, grace and peace begun here, and perfected in glory hereafter;
and these are not only such as exceed our highest desert, but tend to
make us completely and eternally happy. Here we are to consider,

1. The subjects of this privilege. Salvation is not extended to all
miserable creatures; for, fallen angels, who were the first that
rebelled against God, were left to perish, without hope of salvation,
being reserved for ever in chains under darkness. And as for fallen man,
how extensive soever the proclamation of salvation in the gospel is, as
it is now preached to all nations, and all who sit under the sound
thereof, are commanded and encouraged to press after it; yet this
privilege is applied only to those who were ordained to eternal life.
The purpose of God, relating hereunto, and the application thereof, are
joined together in that golden chain of salvation, _Whom he
predestinated, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also
justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified_, Rom. viii.
30. But this has been more particularly considered elsewhere[87].

2. Here is the only moving cause, or reason, why God bestows this great
salvation, or why he has designed to bring any of the sons of men to it;
and that is his mere love and mercy. Salvation, whether considered in
its first rise, in God’s eternal purpose, or in the execution thereof in
the work of conversion and sanctification, as well as in the completing
of it in glorification, is ascribed to the sovereign grace and mercy of
God. Are we _Chosen in Christ to be holy_, or _predestinated to the
adoption of children by him?_ this is said to be _to the praise of the
glory of his grace_, Eph. i. 4-6. And the apostle elsewhere, when
resolving this great privilege of salvation, in all the branches of it,
namely, regeneration, renovation, and justification, into the same
original cause and ground thereof, to wit, the kindness, love, and grace
of God, excludes all those works of righteousness which we have done,
from being the inducement, or moving cause leading to it, Tit. iii. 4-7.
so that it was the grace of God that laid the foundation stone, and it
is that that brings the work to perfection.

To make this farther appear, let it be considered, that salvation must
either be of grace, or of debt; either the result of God’s free favour
to us, or it must proceed from some obligation, which he is laid under
by us, to confer this privilege upon us. Now it is certain, that it
cannot take its rise from any obligation that we can lay on him; for
whatever difference there is between the best of saints and the worst of
sinners, it is from God, and not from the sinner himself. We have
nothing but what _we first received_ from him, _of whom, and through
whom, and to whom are all things_, Rom. xi. 35, 36.

Moreover, this salvation must be conferred, in such a way, as redounds
to the glory of him, who is the author of it, whereby all the boasting
in the creature is excluded, and therefore it cannot take its rise from
any thing done by us; it is _not of works, lest any man should boast_,
Eph. ii. 9. And, indeed, this is contrary to the main design of the
gospel, which is, that no flesh should glory in his presence. And the
circumstances in which those are, who are said to be the objects of
salvation, are such as argue it to be altogether of grace; for, whom did
the Son of Man come to seek and to save, but them that were lost? or, to
whom was the way of salvation discovered, but to those who were going
astray from God, and were neither inclined to return to him, nor apply
themselves to any one, who might direct them how to regain his lost
favour? And, if they had, it would have been to no purpose; since no
creature could make known the way of salvation, any more than apply the
blessings contained therein.

Were man only to be considered as a creature, and so not properly the
object of salvation, which is no other than a lost sinner; or did he
expect nothing else but some effects of common goodness, or the
blessings of nature, he could not expect them in a way of merit; for
that is contrary to the dependance of the creature on God; therefore the
blessings of Providence must be considered as the result of his free
favour. And were man in a sinless state, and able to perform perfect
obedience, as he was at first, his ability hereunto must be supposed to
be an unmerited favour; and accordingly the obedience performed would be
no other than a just debt due to God, and therefore would afford him no
plea, from any merit of condignity, for the conferring any privilege, as
a reward thereof: this therefore, must be the result of the divine
favour.

But, when we consider him as a sinner, he is altogether unable to do
what is good; and therefore, if salvation were entirely to depend on our
performing obedience, so that any failure therein would deprive us of
it, we should never attain it; for this obedience would be so imperfect,
that God could not, in honour, accept of it. But alas! fallen man is so
far from any disposition, or inclination to perform obedience, that his
heart is naturally averse to it; _The carnal mind is enmity against God;
for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be_, Rom.
viii. 7. If therefore, such an one is saved, and that in such a way,
that God is pleased to love him, and manifest himself to him, it must be
a wonderful instance of divine grace, which no one, who has experienced
it, can think on, but with admiration, especially when considering how
discriminating it is; as one of Christ’s disciples said unto him, _How
is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?_
John xiv. 22.

3. Having considered salvation, as designed for all the elect, we
proceed to consider the means of their attaining it; or their being
brought into a state of salvation by the second covenant, commonly
called the covenant of grace. As salvation is ascribed to the grace of
God; so it is an instance of condescending goodness, that our faith,
relating hereunto, should be confirmed by such a dispensation, as is
generally styled a covenant. Thus David, speaking concerning it, says,
_He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things,
and sure; for this is all my salvation, and all my desire_, 2 Sam.
xxiii. 5. This covenant, as to what respects the parties concerned
therein, and the manner in which the grace of God is displayed in it,
together with the various dispensations, or administrations thereof, is
particularly considered under the five following answers. The only
thing, that remains to be insisted on in this, is its being called the
_Second Covenant_, as opposed to the covenant of works, which is styled
the _First_. The covenant of works has been considered under a foregoing
answer[88]; and therefore all that I shall observe, concerning it, at
present, is, that though life was promised therein, as including all
those blessings, which were suited to the state of man in innocency, yet
there was no promise of salvation in it, which is the restoring of
forfeited blessings, or a recovery from a state of death and ruin. In
this respect, the covenant of grace is opposed to it.

Again, though Adam was the head of that covenant, whose obedience, or
apostacy, would convey life or death to all his posterity, whom he
represented, yet he stood not in the relation of a Mediator, or surety,
to them, for that was inconsistent with the dispensation he was under,
and is applicable to no other covenant, than that which we are
considering, as thus opposed to it.

Moreover, perfect obedience was demanded, as a condition of man’s
attaining life, and this he was thoroughly furnished to perform;
whereas, in the covenant of grace, if God should insist on our
performing perfect obedience, the condition would be in its own nature
impossible, and therefore we should hereby rather be excluded from, than
brought into a state of salvation; and whatever obedience we are engaged
to perform, as expectants of salvation, this is entirely owing to the
grace of God, by which _we are what we are_, as well as attain to the
blessings we hope for: Herein the covenant of works, and the covenant of
grace, differ.

The next thing that we are to observe, is, that the covenant of grace is
called the _Second Covenant_; and this leads us to enquire, whether we
have any ground, from scripture, to conclude, that there are more
covenants than these two; or, at least, whether what we call the _Second
Covenant_, or the covenant of grace, may not be subdivided into two
covenants; since the apostle seems to speak of two covenants made with
fallen man, _viz._ one that was made with the Israelites, given from
mount Sinai, which was designed to continue no longer than that
dispensation they were under, lasted; and the other is, that which the
church has been under, ever since the gospel dispensation was erected,
which is to continue to the end of the world. These are described by
their respective properties, in an allegorical way, and illustrated by a
similitude, taken from two mountains, Sinai and Sion; and two persons,
mentioned in scripture, Agar and Sarah: The former of these is said _to
gender unto bondage_; the latter brings those, who are under it into a
state of liberty, Gal. iv. 24. _& seq._ and one of these covenants is
said to be better than the other, and particularly called a new
covenant; the other is represented as _decaying, waxing old, and ready
to vanish away_, Heb. viii. 6, 8, 13.

Moreover, the apostle seems to speak of more covenants than one, made
with the Jewish church; for he says, that _to them pertaineth the
adoption, and the glory, and the covenants_, Rom. ix. 4. &c. and
elsewhere, speaking concerning the Gentiles, as _aliens from the
commonwealth of Israel_, he adds, that _they were also strangers from
the covenants of promise_, Eph. ii. 12. which seems to argue, that there
were more than two covenants with man; one with innocent man; the other,
the gospel-covenant, which we are under; and, besides these, there were
other covenants, made with Israel, which seems to carry in it the
appearance of an objection, to what was before observed, that there was,
in reality, but two covenants, and that whenever we read of any covenant
in scripture, it is reducible to one of them.

This may, without much difficulty, be accounted for, consistently
therewith, if we consider the sense of those scriptures above mentioned.

_First_, As to those scriptures, that seem to speak of two distinct
covenants, made with fallen man, to wit, one with the Israelites, the
other, that which we are under, they really intend nothing more than two
different dispensations of the covenant of grace; in which sense we are
to understand the apostle, when he speaks of the two covenants, the
_Old_ and the _New_, the _First_ and the _Second_: the covenant is the
same, though the dispensation of the grace of God therein, or the way of
revealing it to men, differs. But this will be more particularly
insisted on in those following answers, which respect the various
administrations of grace, under the Old and New Testament; therefore we
proceed,

_Secondly_, To enquire into the meaning of those other scriptures,
before-mentioned, which seem to speak of more covenants than one, which
the Jewish nation was under. By the covenants there mentioned, the
apostle seems to refer to some different times, or periods of the
church, before our Saviour’s incarnation, of which some divines take
notice of four; in each of which, there was something new and distinct
from the rest, in the dispensation of divine providence towards the
church. The first of these took its rise from the promise which God gave
to man, as soon as he fell, relating to that salvation, which was to be
brought about, in its proper time, by the seed of the woman. The second
period of the church began after the flood, when God is said to have
revealed his covenant to Noah, which he _established between him and all
flesh upon the earth_, Gen. ix. 17. A third remarkable period, or change
of affairs in the church, was, when God called Abraham out of an
idolatrous country, _to sojourn in the land of promise, as in a strange
country_, at which time he established his covenant with him, promising
to be a _God to him, and his seed_, and instituting _circumcision as a
token thereof_, Gen. xvii. 7-11. upon which occasion, this particular
dispensation thereof is called, _The covenant of circumcision_, Acts
vii. 8. The fourth and last dispensation, or period, which more
especially respected the seed of Abraham, as increased to a great
nation, is what we read of, soon after they were delivered from the
Egyptian bondage, when God was pleased to separate that nation, as a
peculiar people to himself, and sent Moses from mount Sinai, where he
appeared to them, to demand their explicit consent to be his people;
upon which occasion, when they had promised, that all that _the Lord had
said, they would do and be obedient_, and a public and solemn _sacrifice
was offered_, and the people _sprinkled with the blood thereof_, it is
said, _They saw God, and did eat and drink_, as a farther sign and
ratification of this dispensation of the covenant, Exod. xxiv. 1-11. and
afterwards many statutes and ordinances were given them, containing
those laws, which God required of them, as a covenant people; and this
continued till the gospel-dispensation, which succeeded it, was erected.
This seems to be the meaning of what the apostle speaks, in the
scriptures before cited, when he says, that the church of the Jews had
the covenants, as intending nothing else thereby, but the dispensation
of the covenant of grace, as subdivided into several periods, during the
various ages of the church, from the fall of Adam to our recovery by
Christ. Therefore, though those dispensations were various, yet whatever
God has transacted with man, in a federal way, may be considered under
two general heads; the first called the covenant of works; the other,
the covenant of grace; the latter of which is to be farther considered,
under the following answers.

Footnote 87:

  _See_ Vol. I. _Page 462._

Footnote 88:

  _See Quest._ xx. _Page 70. Ante._



                              Quest. XXXI.


    QUEST. XXXI. _With whom was the covenant of grace made?_

    ANSW. The covenant of grace was made with Christ as the second Adam;
    and in him, with all the elect, as his seed.

As the covenant of grace is opposed to that which was made with Adam, as
the head of mankind, so it is considered in this answer, as made with
the second Adam, and, in him, with all his elect, who are described, by
the Psalmist, as a _seed that should serve him, which should be
accounted to the Lord for a generation_, Psal. xxii. 30. and the prophet
Isaiah, speaking of them, says, _He shall see his seed_, Isa. liii. 10.
In explaining this answer, we shall consider,

I. What we are to understand by a covenant in general, and more
particularly how it is to be understood, as used in scripture. The word
commonly used in the Old Testament,[89] to signify a covenant, being
taken in several senses, may be better understood, by the application
thereof, in those places, where we find it, than by enquiring into the
sense of the root, from whence it is derived. Sometimes, indeed, it
signifies such a compact between two parties, as agrees with our common
acceptation of the word, especially when applied to transactions between
man and man; as in the covenant between Abraham, and those neighbouring
princes, that were _confederate with him_, where the same word is used,
in Gen. xiv. 13, and in the covenant between Isaac and Abimelech,
mentioned in Gen. xxvi. 28, 29. and in that between Jonathan and David,
in 1 Sam. xx. 16, 17. in all which instances there was mutual
stipulation, and re-stipulation, as there is in human covenants; and,
for this reason, some apply those ideas to the word, when it is used to
signify God’s entering into covenant with man.

But there is another acceptation thereof when God is represented as
making a covenant with man which is more agreeable to the divine
perfections, and that infinite distance there is between him and us;
therefore we find in several places of scripture, that when God is said
to make a covenant there is an intimation of some blessings which he
would bestow upon his people, without any idea of stipulation, or
re-stipulation, annexed to it: thus we read, in Jer. xxxiii. 20. of
God’s _covenant of the day and night_, or that there should be day and
night _in their season_; and, in Gen. xi. 9, 10, 11. of God’s
establishing _his covenant with Noah, and his seed, and every living
creature, that all flesh should not be cut off any more, by the waters
of a flood_. And, in Ezek. xxxiv. 25. when God promises to cause _evil
beasts to cease out of the land_, and that his people should _dwell
safely in the wilderness_, and that he would confer several other
blessings upon them, mentioned in the following verses; this is called,
his making with them _a covenant of peace_. And, when God promises
spiritual blessings to his people, in Isa. lix. 21. he says, _This is my
covenant with them; my Spirit that is upon thee, and the words that I
have put into thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of
the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith
the Lord, from henceforth, and for ever_.

Moreover, sometimes the Hebrew word, which we translate _covenant_, is
used to signify a _statute_, or _ordinance_, which God has established,
or appointed, in his church: thus, in Numb. xviii. 19. when God
ordained, that Aaron and his sons should have the heave-offerings of the
holy things, he says, _These have I given thee, and thy sons and thy
daughters with thee, to be a statute for ever_, and adds, in the words
immediately following, _It is a covenant of salt for ever, before the
Lord_.

And as for the word used in the New Testament,[90] by which the LXX
generally translate the Hebrew word, before-mentioned, in the Old
Testament, this signifies the same thing; so that both the words imply
little more than a divine establishment or ordinance, in which God gives
his people ground to expect promised blessings, in such a way, as
redounds most to his own glory; and at the same time, they, who are
expectants thereof, are not exempted from an obligation to perform those
duties, which this grace obliges them to, and which will be an evidence
of their right to them.

And I cannot but farther observe, that among other acceptations of the
word, especially as used by the apostle, in his epistle to the Hebrews,
in chap. ix. 15-18. it signifies a Testament; which word some who treat
on this subject, rather choose to make use of, than to call it a
covenant, being warranted so to do, by the sense given of it in this
scripture; and their reason for it is, not only because, as the apostle
says, it was _confirmed by the death of the Testator_;[91] but because
they conclude, that this more conduces to the advancing the grace of
God, in this dispensation, than to style it a _covenant_, in that sense,
in which the word is commonly used, when applied to other matters: but I
would rather acquiesce in that medium, betwixt both extremes, which some
have given into, who join both the ideas of a covenant and a testament
together[92], and style it, in some respects, a covenant, and, in others
a testament. If it be called a covenant, they abstract from the ideas
thereof, some things, that are contained in the sense of the word, as
applied to human contracts, and add to it other things, contained in a
testament; such as the giving or bequeathing certain legacies, as an act
of favour, to those who are denominated, from thence, legatees,
interested in those gifts that are thus disposed of by the will of the
testator. Or if, on the other hand, we call it a testament it seems very
agreeable, to this dispensation, to join with it the idea of a covenant,
more especially as to what contains the concern of Christ herein, as the
Head thereof, or the Person in whom all the benefits, contained in this
testament, are first reposed, as they are purchased by his blood, and,
as the consequence thereof, applied by his Spirit. And this agrees very
well with the subject-matter of this answer, in which the covenant is
said to be made with him, and with the elect in him, as well as with
what is contained in that answer immediately following, in which the
covenant of grace is described in such a way, as they describe it, who
say that it was made with believers. This is necessary to be premised,
that we may not, in our explication of this doctrine, advance any thing
which is inconsistent with its being a covenant of grace: and, that we
may farther consider this matter, we shall proceed to shew,

II. What there is in the idea of a covenant, as we generally understand
the word, when applied to signify a contract between man and man. In
this case, there are two parties, one of which is said to stipulate, or
enter into a covenant with the other, in which he makes a proposal, that
he will confer some favours on him, upon certain conditions, provided he
will oblige himself to fulfil them; and the other party complies with
the proposal made, and, in expectation of those advantages, consents to
fulfil the conditions enjoined, and accordingly is said to re-stipulate;
as when a person engages another to be his servant, and to give him a
reward for his service; and the other consents to serve him, in
expectation of the wages which he engages to give him: in this case,
each party is supposed to be possessed of something, which the other has
no right to, but by virtue of this contract made between them: thus the
servant has no right to the rewards, which his master promises, nor has
the master any right to his service, but by mutual consent. Each party
also proposes some advantage to himself, and therefore, when they enter
into this agreement, they are supposed, in some respects, to stand on a
level with each other. No one will enter into a covenant with another,
for the performing that which he had an antecedent right to; nor will
any one engage to perform any service, as a condition of his receiving
those benefits, which he had a right to, without any such condition
enjoined on him. Moreover, when two parties are said to enter into
covenant with one another, they are supposed, in some respects, to stand
in need of some things, which they had before no right to; one party
needs the reward proposed; the other, the service which he enjoins, as a
condition of his bestowing it. These things are generally supposed, and
contained in contracts between man and man.

III. When God is said to enter into covenant with man, what method
soever we take to explain this federal transaction, we must take heed
that we do not include in it any thing that is inconsistent with his
infinite sovereignty, or argues him to be dependent on his creatures, as
though he had not an antecedent right to their obedience, which he
demands in this covenant, or it were left to man’s arbitrary will
whether he would perform it or no. Though men may be said to have some
things in their own power, so that one has a right to that, which
another has no right to, but by his own consent, and are entirely left
to their liberty, whither they will consign over that right, which they
had to it, to another, who could not otherwise lay claim to it; yet this
is by no means to be applied to man when considered as having to do with
the great God. The best of creatures have no right to any thing,
separate from his arbitrary will; and therefore though stipulation and
re-stipulation are proper words, when applied to a man’s covenant, they
ought not to be made use of, when we explain this covenant between God
and man.

IV. Though the parties concerned in the covenant, as explained in this
answer, to wit, God the Father, and Christ the Head of his elect, are
both divine Persons, so that one of them is not infinitely below the
other, as man is below God; and therefore it is more properly called a
covenant, in this respect, than that which God is said to enter into
with man, (and, if stipulation and re-stipulation is, in any respect,
applicable to the divine dispensation, it may be applied in this case:)
nevertheless, there are some things, which are implied in the idea of a
covenant between man and man, that cannot, consistently with the glory
of these divine Persons, be contained in this federal transaction
between them; particularly, as he that enters into covenant with
another, proposes some advantage to himself hereby: thus a master, when
he stipulates with one to be his servant, is supposed as much to need
his service, as the servant does the wages that he promises to give him;
there is a kind of mutual advantage arising from thence: but, in the
covenant of grace, whether God be said to make it with man, or with
Christ, as the Head of his elect, the advantage that arises from thence
is our’s, and not God’s. In this respect, what was done by Christ, made
no addition to the essential glory of God, or the divine blessedness,
any more than man can be said, in that respect, to be profitable to him:
thus some understand those words of the Psalmist, as spoken by our
Saviour, when he says, _My goodness extendeth not to thee, but to the
saints which are in the earth_, Psal. xvi. 2, 3. and this agrees very
well with some other things, contained in the same Psalm, which are
expressly, in other parts of scripture, applied to him; and, if so, then
the meaning is, that whatever glory God the Father designed to
demonstrate by this federal transaction with his Son; yet he did not, as
men do, by entering into covenant with one another, propose to receive
any addition of glory from it, as though he were really to be profited
thereby.

Again, when men enter into covenant with one another, they are supposed
to have different wills, and accordingly they might refuse to enter into
those engagements, which they bring themselves under, as well as comply
with them; the obligation, on both sides, is founded in mutual consent,
and that is supposed to be arbitrary: but, when we consider the eternal
compact between the Father and the Son, we must conclude, that though
they be distinct as to their personality, yet, having the same essential
perfections, the will of the Father and the Son, cannot but be the same.
Therefore when many, who explain this doctrine, represent one as
proposing, the other as complying, with the proposal; one demanding, the
other expecting, and each depending on mutual promises, made by one to
the other, this, it is true, seems to be founded on some
scripture-expressions to the same purpose, wherein the Holy Ghost is
pleased to condescend to make use of such modes of speaking, which are
agreeable to the nature of human covenants, as he does in various other
instances; nevertheless, we must not so far strain the sense of words,
as to infer, from hence, any thing that is inconsistent with the divine
glory of the Father and the Son. And to this we may add, that no act of
obedience can be performed by a divine Person, in the same nature, as
there cannot be an act of subjection in that nature, which is properly
divine; and consequently when we consider Christ, in this respect, as
entering into covenant, and engaging to perform those conditions, which
were insisted on therein, these are supposed to be performed by him, as
Mediator, or God incarnate, in his human nature; and, in this respect,
he is the Head of the covenant, which is made with him, and, in him,
with the elect. Therefore we must suppose, when we speak of a covenant
between the Father and the Son, that, whatever be the will of the
Father, the same is the Son’s will; and whatever conditions the Son
consented to perform, as stipulated in this covenant, it was in his
human nature that the work was to be done; and therefore it is well
observed, in some following answers, that he, who is the Head or
Mediator of this covenant, is, as it was absolutely necessary for him to
be, both God and man, in one Person. But of this more hereafter.

V. There are several expressions used, in scripture, that give us
sufficient ground to conclude, that there was an eternal transaction
between the Father and the Son, relating to the salvation of his elect,
which, if explained agreeably to the divine perfections, and
consistently with the glory of each of these divine Persons, is not only
an undoubted truth, but a very important article of faith, as it is the
foundation of all those blessings, which are promised, and applied to us
in the covenant of grace, in which is all our salvation and our hope.
Here let it be considered, that, when we speak concerning a covenant, as
passing between the Father and the Son, we understand thereby, that
there was a mutual consent between them both, that the work of our
redemption should be brought about in such a way, as it was, by our
Saviour, when this eternal agreement had its accomplishment; and
accordingly the Father is said to _have set him up_, as the Head of his
elect, _from everlasting_, Prov. viii. 23. and ordained, that he should
execute those offices, which he was to perform, as Mediator, and receive
that revenue of glory, that was the result thereof; and the Son, as
having the same divine will, could not but consent to do this; and this
is called, his eternal undertaking; and, both these together, are styled
the eternal covenant, between the Father and him.

For the proof of this doctrine, we might refer to those several
scriptures that speak of our Saviour as _called_, and _given for a
covenant of the people_, Isa. xlii. 6. and _fore-ordained_, 1 Pet. i.
20. to perform the work which he engaged in, in the behalf of his elect;
and also consider him as consenting to do every thing for his people,
which he did in time, and to stand in every relation to them, that was
subservient to their redemption and salvation, which he could not but
do, as having the same divine will with the Father; and without his
consent, it could not properly be said that there was a covenant between
them. We might also prove it from those several scriptures, that speak
of him, as _sanctified and sent into the world_, John x. 36. to act as
Mediator, _sealed by the Father_, John vi. 27. and receiving a _power to
lay down his life, and take it up again_, John x. 18. that so he might
answer the great end of our redemption thereby; and also, from his being
empowered to execute the offices of a Prophet, Priest, and King;
confirmed in his priestly office by _the oath_, Psal. cx. 4. Heb. vii.
21. of the Father, sent by him to execute his Prophetical office to
those whom he was to guide in the way of salvation; and, as _God’s King,
set on his holy hill of Zion_, Psal. ii. 6. When we consider all these
things done, on the Father’s part, as antecedent to Christ’s acting as
Mediator, and, at the same time, when we compare them with other
scriptures, that speak of the Son, as consenting to do the will of God,
or complying with his call, willing to be and do whatever was necessary,
to secure the great ends designed thereby; when we consider him, as
taking the human nature into union with the divine, not without his own
consent thereunto, and as bearing the punishment due to our sin, which
it would not have been just for God to have inflicted, without his will
or consent; I say, this mutual consent between the Father and the Son,
that those things should be done which were subservient to the
redemption and salvation of the elect, which the scripture is very
express in giving an account of, these are a sufficient foundation for
our asserting, that there was a covenant between the Father and the Son
relating thereunto.

But now we shall enquire, more particularly, into the sense of those
scriptures, on which this doctrine is founded. And here we cannot wholly
pass over what we read, in Psal. cxix. 122. _Be surety for thy servant
for good_; and Hezekiah’s prayer, in Isa. xxxviii. 14. _I am oppressed;
undertake_, or be surety, _for me_. The Hebrew words are the same in
both places, and signifies, not barely to confer some privileges on
persons, but to do this under the character of a surety; and therefore
when David and Hezekiah pray that they may be delivered, either from
their enemies, or their afflictions, by addressing themselves to their
Deliverer under this character, it must be supposed that they understand
him, as having undertaken to be a Surety for his people, which is a
character that belongs only to the Son. And since it is so evident, that
his Mediatorial work and character was so well known to the Old
Testament church, as their salvation was equally concerned herein with
ours; and, since they are often represented as addressing themselves to
him by faith and prayer, it seems more than probable that he is so
considered in these texts, when it is desired that he would be _surety
for them_, namely, that as he was appointed by the Father, and had
undertaken, by his own consent, to stand in that relation, they pray
that they might be made partakers of the benefits arising from thence.

There is also another scripture, in which the same word[93] is used,
which seems to be applied to our Saviour, _viz._ in Jer. xxx. 21. _Their
nobles_, or, as it ought to be rendered, in the singular number, their
noble, or magnificent person, _shall be of themselves, and their
governor shall proceed from the midst of them; and I will cause him to
draw near, and he shall approach unto me; for who is this that engaged
his heart to approach to me, saith the Lord?_ This sense of the text is
very agreeable to several other prophecies, relating to the Messiah’s
being of the seed of Israel; and when it is said, _I will cause him to
draw near, and he shall approach unto me_, it implies, that he should
sustain the character, and perform the work of a surety, in the behalf
of his people, for that is the proper sense of the word there used; _for
who is this that hath engaged his heart unto me?_ that is, who is there,
among the sons of men, that dares engage in this work, or is qualified
for it? Or it may be understood with a note of admiration; that is, how
glorious a person is this, who hath engaged his heart, or (as it was
determined that he should) has freely consented to approach unto me,
that is, in so doing, to act as a surety with me for my people! And that
this is a more probable sense of the text, than to suppose that it is
meant either of Zerubbabel, or some other governor, that should be set
over them, after the captivity, appears, if we compare it with ver. 9.
in which it is said, _They shall serve the Lord their God, and David
their king_, which can be meant of none but Christ, inasmuch as David
was dead; and none that sat on his throne, or descended from him, can be
called David in this place, because divine worship is said to be
performed to him, which could not be done without idolatry, which no
true sense of scripture can give countenance to; and this is a character
given of our Saviour in other scriptures: thus, in Ezek. xxxiv. 24. _I
will be their God, and my servant David a Prince among them_; and, in
Hos. iii. 5. _They shall seek the Lord their God, and David their King,
and fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter day_; that is, they
shall adhere, and give divine worship, to the Messiah, whom their
fathers rejected, when they are converted, in the latter days. Now it is
this _David, their King_, who is said to have _engaged his heart to
approach unto God_; and then, in the words immediately following, ver.
22. God reveals himself, as a covenant-God, to them, which is the
consequence of Christ’s engaging his heart to approach unto him: _Ye
shall be my people, and I will be your God_. Now this proves an eternal
transaction between the Father and the Son, in that the Father wills, or
determines, that he shall _draw near_, or _approach_ to him, as a
surety, and the Son consents, in that he has _engaged his heart_ to do
it; and all this with a design that his covenant should be established,
and that he should be a God to his people.

There is another scripture which proves that there was a federal
transaction between the Father and the Son, from several expressions
therein used, namely, in Isa. xlii. 1, 6. which is, beyond dispute,
spoken concerning our Saviour; for it is applied to him in the New
Testament, Matt. xi. 18-21. Herein God the Father calls him _his
Servant_, as denoting that it was his will, or (to use that mode of
speaking, which is generally applied to covenants between man and man)
that he stipulated with him, to perform the work which he engaged in, as
Mediator, to which he is said to be _called in righteousness_; and, with
respect to his human nature, in which he performed it, he is styled
_God’s elect_, as fore-ordained hereunto, and the person _in whom his
soul delighteth_, as he is glorified by him in the faithful discharge
thereof; and, that he might not fail therein, God promises _to hold his
hand, and keep him_; and, as the result of his having accomplished it,
_to give him for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles_.

And elsewhere, in Isa. xlix. 8, 9. which also appears to be spoken to
Christ, not only from the context, but from the reference to it in the
New Testament, 2 Cor. vi. 2. _In an acceptable time have I heard thee,
and in a day of salvation have I helped thee; and I will preserve thee,
and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to
cause to inherit the desolate heritages; that thou mayest say to the
prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves_, we
have a plain intimation of his being ordained by the Father to perform
that work, which he was engaged in, as Mediator; and his _being given
for a covenant of the people_, signifies his being sent into the world,
in pursuance of a covenant, in which the salvation of his people was
contained. And there is another scripture, in which our Saviour,
speaking to his disciples, says, in Luke xxii. 29. _I appoint unto you a
kingdom, as my Father hath appointed me_;[94] or, I confer the blessings
of this kingdom upon you, in a covenant way, as my Father hath appointed
me to do, in that eternal covenant, which passed between him and me.

Again, there are several rewards, which were promised to him, as the
consequence of his discharging the work committed to him, some of which
respected that glory which belongs to his person, as Mediator; and
others, more especially, respected the salvation of his people, and
therein the success of his undertaking: thus it is said, in Isa. liii.
10. _When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his
seed; he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall
prosper in his hands_; together with several other things relating to
the event, and consequence of his performing the work he was engaged in.

Moreover, as he was called to this work, or, as it was, as we before
explained it, the result of the Father’s will, that he should perform
it; so we have elsewhere an account of his own consent, as implying,
that it was the result of his own will, as well as his Father’s: thus it
is said, in Psal. xl. 6-8. _Mine ears hast thou opened_, or bored:
alluding to a custom used under the ceremonial law, by which the willing
servant was signified to be obliged, by his own consent, to _serve his
master for ever_, Exod. xxi. 5, 6. Thus God the Father, engaged Christ,
if I may so express it, to perform the work of a Mediator; and then we
have an account of his consent hereunto, when he says, _Lo, I come, I
delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my heart_; and
this mutual consent is farther expressed in Isa. l. 5. _The Lord God
hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious; neither turned away
back_.

And he is farther represented, as making a demand, or insisting on the
accomplishment of what was stipulated in this covenant; and this he had
a warrant to do from the Father, in Psal. ii. 8. _Ask of me, and I shall
give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of
the earth for thy possession_. These, and many other scriptures of the
like nature, sufficiently prove this doctrine, that there was an eternal
covenant between the Father and the Son, relating to the redemption and
salvation of the elect; and this implies more than his being barely
_fore-ordained_ to perform the work he was engaged in, as he is said to
have been, 1 Pet. i. 2. for that, alone, would not have proved that
there was a federal transaction between the Father and him; since it may
be said of any one, who is engaged in works of an inferior nature, that
God, who called him to perform them, fore-ordained that he should do so;
but when it is said, concerning our Saviour not only that he engaged in
the work of our redemption, as the result of his Father’s will, but of
his own, and so consented to do whatever was incumbent on him, as
Mediator, this certainly argues that there was an eternal covenant
between the Father and him, with relation to this matter, so far as we
may be allowed to retain any of those ideas taken from human covenants,
when we speak of any transaction between two divine Persons.

There is but one scripture more that I shall mention, which, though some
will not allow that it relates to this matter, yet, if we duly consider
the scope and design thereof, together with its connexion with the
foregoing words, may probably appear to be of some weight to confirm
this doctrine; namely, in Zech. vi. 13. in which it is said, _The
counsel of peace shall be between them both_. Some, indeed, understand
these words, as referring to Joshua and Zerubbabel, and that they
signify their mutual consent, to promote the peace and welfare of the
church. But this cannot reasonably be concluded to be the sense of the
text; for Zerubbabel is not mentioned in this chapter; nor are there any
two persons spoken of therein, that it can be applied to, but Jehovah
and the Branch, that is, the Father and the Son, who are mentioned in
the foregoing words; Christ, who is called the Branch, is said _to build
the temple of the Lord_, and to be a _Priest upon his throne_; and this
work, which he was engaged in, and the royal dignity, which he was
advanced to, are both of them said to be the result of a counsel, or
federal transaction, that was between them both.

If it be objected to this, that this _counsel of peace_ only respects
the harmony that there is between Christ’s priestly and kingly offices,
as both of them have a reference to our salvation: this cannot well
agree with the meaning of the word _counsel_, which implies in it a
confederacy between two persons, and not the tendency of two offices,
executed to bring about the same end.

And, if it be farther objected, that the grammatical construction of the
words do not favour the sense which we give of them, inasmuch as they
contain an account of something that was future, and not from all
eternity. To this it may be replied, that it is not, in the least,
disagreeable to the sense of the words, and other phrases of the like
import, used in scripture, to understand them in the sense
before-mentioned, since it is no uncommon thing, in scripture, for that
to be said to be, that appears to be: thus it is said, _Let all the
house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom
ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ_, Acts ii. 36. that is, he hath,
by his raising him from the dead, demonstrated him to be _both Lord and
Christ_, which, in reality, he was from all eternity; so, in this text,
when it is said, that _the counsel of peace shall be between them both_,
it signifies, that Christ’s building the temple, and bearing the glory,
and sitting as a Priest upon his throne, is a plain evidence, or
demonstration, that there was a counsel or covenant, between the Father
and him, from all eternity, relating to the peace and welfare of his
people, who are the spiritual house that he builds, and the subjects
whom he governs, defends, and saves. Thus concerning the federal
transaction that was between the Father and the Son; and, since this is
called, in this answer, _The covenant of grace_, it may be necessary for
us to enquire,

VI. Whether this be a distinct covenant from that which God is said to
enter into, or make with man. This covenant is said, indeed, to be made
with Christ, as the head of his elect: but it may be enquired, whether
there be not also another covenant, which is generally styled the
covenant of grace, that is made with the elect, as parties concerned
therein. Every one, that is conversant in the writings of those who
treat on this subject, will observe, that divines often distinguish
between the covenant of redemption, and that of grace; the former they
suppose to be made with Christ, in the behalf of his elect; the latter,
to be made with them, in which all spiritual blessings are promised, and
applied to them, which are founded on Christ’s mediation; and
accordingly they say, the _covenant of redemption_ was made with Christ
more immediately for himself; whereas the _covenant of grace_ is made
with believers for Christ’s sake, in which respect they suppose that
these are two distinct covenants, and explain themselves thus.

1. In the covenant of redemption, made with Christ, there were several
promises given, which more immediately respected himself; and these
related, some of them, to those supports and encouragements that he
should receive from the Father, which were necessary, in order to his
being carried through the sufferings he was to undergo, _viz._ that God
_would hold his hand, that he should not fail, or be discouraged_, Isa.
xxiv. 4. and others respected that Mediatorial glory, which should be
conferred upon him, when his sufferings were finished; as it is said,
_Ought not Christ to have suffered, and to enter into his glory?_ Luke
xxiv. 26. and that _he should have a name given him above every name_,
Phil. ii. 9. and many other promises to the like purpose.

And, besides these, there were other promises made to him, respecting
his elect; as that _he should have a seed to serve him_, Psal. xxii, 30.
and that _he should see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied_;
and that _God would divide him a portion with the great, and he should
divide the spoil with the strong_, Isa. liii. 11, 12. or that his
difficult undertaking should be attended with its desired success, that
so it might not be said that he died in vain.

But, on the other hand, in the covenant of grace, which they suppose to
be distinct from that of redemption, God promiseth forgiveness of sins,
and eternal life, through Christ; or that that should be restored to us
by him, which we lost by our fall in Adam, with great advantage; and
that all the blessings, which we stand in need of, for the beginning,
carrying on, and completing the work of grace in us, and the making us
meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light, should
be freely given us. Now, as these promises are made to the elect, the
covenant, in which they are contained, is called, _The covenant of
grace_, and so distinguished from the covenant of redemption.

2. In the covenant of redemption, as they farther explain it, the elect,
on whose account it was made, were considered, as to be redeemed by
Christ: But, in the covenant of grace, they are to be considered as
redeemed by him; therefore the covenant of redemption is antecedent, or
subservient, to the covenant of grace.

3. They farther suppose, that the conditions of the covenant of
redemption, on which the promises made therein were founded, are what
Christ did and suffered in his own Person; whereas faith, wrought in us,
is generally styled by them, a condition of the covenant of grace, and
as such it is variously explained, as we shall have occasion to observe,
under the next answer, in which faith is said to be required, as the
condition to interest believers therein; in this respect, among others,
the covenant of redemption is oftentimes explained, as a distinct
covenant from that of grace.

I confess, I am not desirous to offend against the generation of those
who have insisted on this subject, in such a way, as that they have not
advanced any doctrine derogatory to the divine perfections, or
subversive of the grace of God, displayed in this covenant; and
therefore I am inclined to think, as some have done, that this
controversy may be compromised; or, if we duly weigh those distinctions
that are necessary to be considered, it will appear to be little more
than what consists in different modes of explication, used by those,
who, in the main, intend the same thing. I shall therefore humbly offer
my thoughts, about this matter, in the four following heads.

(1.) It is to be allowed, on all hands, that the covenant of redemption,
as some style it, is a covenant of the highest grace, so far as it
respects the advantages that the elect are to receive from it; for it is
a wonderful instance of grace, that there should be an eternal
transaction between the Father and the Son, relating to their salvation,
and that herein he should promise to Christ, that, as the reward of his
obedience and sufferings, he would give grace and glory to them, as it
is allowed by all, who have just notions, either of the covenant of
redemption, or that of grace, that he did herein.

(2.) It must be farther allowed, on both sides, whether it be supposed
that the covenant of grace, and the covenant of redemption, are distinct
covenants, or not, that salvation, and all the blessings, which we
generally call privileges of the covenant of grace, have their first
foundation in this transaction, between the Father and the Son; so that
if there had not been such a covenant, which some call a covenant of
redemption, we could have had no promise of these privileges made in the
covenant of grace.

(3.) As there is nothing promised, or given, in the covenant of grace,
but what is purchased and applied by Christ, so there is nothing
promised to Christ, in the covenant of redemption, as some style it, but
what, some way or other, respects the advantage of his people: thus
whatever was stipulated between the Father and the Son, in that
covenant, was with a peculiar regard to their salvation. Did Christ, as
their surety, promise to pay that debt, which was due from them, to the
justice of God? this must be considered, as redounding to their
advantage. And, was there a promise given him, as was before observed,
that God _would hold his hand, that he should not fail, or be
discouraged_, till he had finished the work that he came about? this
must also be supposed to redound to our advantage as hereby our
salvation is secured, which it could not have been, had he sunk under
the weight of that wrath, which he bore. And, was there a promise given
him, that he should, after his sufferings, _enter into his glory?_ this
also redounds to the advantage of the elect; for it not only consists in
his being freed from his sufferings, and having some personal glories
put upon him, but in his going thither to prepare a place for them, and
with this design, that they should be brought there _to behold his
glory_; and this is also considered, as a pledge and earnest of their
future happiness, to whom he says, _Because I live, ye shall live also_,
John xiv. 19.

(4.) When we consider this covenant, as made with Christ, whether we
call it the covenant of redemption, or of grace, still we must look upon
it as made with him, as the Head and Representative of his elect, and
consequently it was made with them, as is observed in this answer, as
his seed; therefore if the question be only this, whether it be more or
less proper to call this two covenants, or one, I will not contend with
them, who in compliance with the common mode of speaking, assert, that
they are two distinct covenants: but yet I would rather choose to call
them two great branches of the same covenant; one whereof respects what
Christ was to do and suffer, and the glory that he was to be afterwards
possessed of; the other more immediately respects that salvation, which
was to be treasured up in and applied by him to the elect; and therefore
I cannot but think, that what is contained in this answer, that the
covenant of grace was made with Christ, as the Head, and, in him, with
the elect, as his seed, is a very unexceptionable explication of this
doctrine.

VII. Since we frequently read, in scripture, of God’s entering into
covenant with man, and man with him, this is next to be explained, in
such a way, as is consistent with the divine perfections, and, in order
hereto, we have, in our entrance on this subject, enquired[95] into the
grammatical sense of the word _covenant_, and the common acceptation
thereof in scripture, when applied to any transaction between God and
man, and have shewn, that, however, there may be stipulation and
re-stipulation, and thereby a passing over of mutual rights, from one
party concerned to the other, in covenants between man and man; yet that
this cannot, consistently with the glory of God, and that infinite
distance which there is between him and the creature, be applied to the
covenant of grace, and have produced some scriptures to prove, that the
main thing to be considered therein, is God’s promising the blessings
that accompany salvation to his people.

Other scriptures might have been referred to, to the same purpose, in
which, when God is said to make a covenant with his people, we read of
nothing but promises of temporal, or spiritual privileges, which he
would confer on them: thus, when he made a covenant with Abraham, he
says, _Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt,
unto the great river, the river Euphrates_, Gen. xv. 18. and elsewhere
he says, _This shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of
Israel, I will put my law in their inward parts,_[96] _and write it in
their hearts, and will be their God, and they shall be my people. They
shall all know me, from the least to the greatest of them; for I will
forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more_, Jer.
xxxi. 33, 34. We might also consider the description hereof, as it is
called, _A covenant of promise_, Eph. ii. 12. and they, who are
interested herein, as called, _The children of promise_, Gal. iv. 28.
Nevertheless, God has ordained, that, pursuant to this method of
applying the promises of this covenant, none should have ground to
expect to be made partakers thereof, but in such a way, as tends to set
forth his infinite sovereignty, and unalienable right to obedience from
his creatures, which they are bound to perform, not only as subjects,
under a natural obligation to obey the divine law, but as those who are
laid under a super-added engagement thereunto, by the grace of the
covenant. This will prepare the way for what may be farther said, in
order to our understanding the meaning of those scriptures, that speak
of God’s entering into a covenant with man, and man with him. Therefore
let it be observed,

1. That when God entered into a covenant with Christ, as the Head of his
elect, this included his entering into covenant with them; as it is
expressed in this answer; so that they have their respective concern
therein in all things, excepting what relates to his character, as
Mediator, Redeemer, Surety, and those peculiar branches of this
covenant, which, as was before observed, belong only to himself, which
some call the covenant of redemption, as distinct from the covenant of
grace. From hence it may be observed, without any strain on the sense of
words, that the same covenant that was made with him, was in that
peculiar branch thereof that respected the elect, or the privileges that
they were to receive from him, made with them. This is very agreeable
to, and tends to explain that peculiar mode of speaking, often used by
the apostle Paul, concerning believers being _crucified with Christ_,
Gal. ii. 20. _dead_, Rom. vi. 8. _buried_, ver. 4. _quickened_ or
_risen_, Col. ii. 12. compared with chap. iii. 1. and made to _sit
together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus_, Eph. ii. 6, as denoting
their being made partakers, as his members, of the benefits arising from
Christ’s sufferings and glory, as really as though they had suffered,
and were now actually glorified with him.

2. Since the covenant of grace is sometimes called a covenant of
promise, for the reasons before-mentioned, we may easily understand
hereby, that God’s entering into covenant with his people, signifies his
giving, or making known to them, those great and precious promises, that
are contained therein, which have a more immediate reference to their
salvation; and, on the other hand, his keeping covenant with them,
implies, his bestowing on them the blessings promised in it, which is
otherwise called his _remembering his holy covenant_, Luke i. 72. or his
_performing the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which he had
sworn unto them from the days of old_, Micah. vii. 20. and it is
sometimes called his _shewing them his covenant_, Psal. xxv. 14. not
barely in a way of revelation, but special application of the blessings
contained therein, and his _bringing them into the bond of the
covenant_, Ezek. xx. 37. that is, engaging or obliging them to
obedience, from the constraints of his love and grace, manifested in the
promises of this covenant; so that now they are doubly bound to be his,
not only as he is their Creator and Sovereign, but as he has made them,
by this federal transaction, the peculiar objects of his favour and
grace.

3. When God is pleased, as he often does, to annex to this covenant a
demand of faith, repentance, or any other graces, to be exercised by
those, who may claim an interest in the blessings thereof, this is
agreeable to that idea, which, as was before observed, is contained in
this covenant, by which it is denominated an establishment, or divine
appointment, or, as it is sometimes called, _a statute_, Numb. xviii.
19. Psal. l. 16. and this respects the connexion of those graces with
salvation, and their indispensible obligation thereto, who hope to
attain it. But this is rather a consequence of God’s entering into
covenant with them, than an antecedent condition, stipulated by him,
which would infer a kind of suspense in him, whether he should fulfil
his promise or no, till the conditions were performed. This is the
principal thing we militate against, when we except against the use of
the word _stipulation_, with relation hereunto; whereas, if nothing else
were intended by this word, but the necessary connexion, which God has
ordained, that there should be between the blessings promised, and the
grace demanded in this covenant, as some, who use the word, understand
nothing else by it; I would not contend about persons using, or laying
aside an improper, and, I think, I may say, unscriptural mode of
speaking.

Thus concerning the meaning of God’s entering into covenant with man. We
shall now proceed to the latter branch of this head, namely, what we are
to understand by those scriptures that speak of man’s entering into
covenant with God: such a mode of speaking we have, when Moses says to
the people, _Ye stand this day all of you before the Lord your God, that
thou shouldest enter into covenant with the Lord thy God, and into his
oath, which the Lord thy God maketh with thee this day_, Deut. xxix.
10-12. and it is said elsewhere, _The people entered into a covenant to
seek the Lord God of their fathers, with all their hearts, and with all
their soul_, 2 Chron. xv. 12. and that, _Josiah made a covenant before
the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep his commandments, and his
testimonies, and his statutes with all their heart, and with all their
soul, to perform the words of this covenant, that were written in this
book, and all the people stood to the covenant_, 2 Kings xxiii. 3. This
is a most solemn transaction, and includes in it the very essentials of
practical religion; therefore it is necessary for us to enquire, what we
are to understand thereby; and, since scripture is the best interpreter
of itself, and parallel texts give light to each other, we may observe
what is said elsewhere, upon the like occasion, where God speaks of some
that _chuse the things that please him, love the name of the Lord, and
to be his servants, and take hold of his covenant_, Isa. lvi. 4, 6. so
that to enter into covenant, is to take hold of God’s covenant; to
embrace the blessings promised therein, as the apostle speaks of those
_who died in faith, not having received the promises_, or the blessings
promised, but _having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them,
and embraced them_, Heb. xi. 13. Again, as we receive the blessings of
the covenant by faith, so to enter into covenant with God implies, a
professed dedication of ourselves to a covenant-God, with a due sense of
our obligation to yield that obedience, which we are engaged to thereby,
or a declaration that we pretend not to lay claim to the blessings of
the covenant, without being enabled, by his grace to comply with the
demands thereof; and this is sometimes expressed, by swearing to the
Lord, as it is said, _Unto me every knee shall bow, and every tongue
shall swear_, Isa. xlv. 23. As God, when he enters into a covenant with
man, is sometimes said to swear to him, or to confirm his promise by his
oath, upon which account the covenant of grace is sometimes called his
oath, as in one of the scriptures before-mentioned, and others that
might have been referred to, Luke i. 72, 73. so, on the other hand, our
entering into covenant with him, is our swearing fealty, as subjects do
to their princes, whereby they own them to be their rightful governors,
and themselves under an obligation to serve them.

This is farther explained, in that solemn transaction that passed
between God and his people, in the close of the ministry and life of
Moses, Deut. xxvi. 17, 18. by which we may understand what is meant, in
other places, by God’s entering into covenant with them; this is
expressed by his _avouching them to be his peculiar people, as he had
promised them, and that they should keep all his commandments_; _q. d._
he conferred this privilege upon them with that view, that they might
reckon themselves under the highest obligation to be obedient to him;
and then we have an explication of man’s entering into covenant with
God, when it is said, _Thou hast avouched the Lord this day to be thy
God_, that is, thou hast publicly declared, that thou art willing to be
subject to him, as thy covenant-God, and expressed a ready inclination,
pursuant hereunto, to walk in his ways, and keep his statutes, and his
commandments, and his judgments, and to hearken unto his voice: this is
such an entering into covenant, as is incumbent on all who expect the
blessing thereof; and, if any one intends nothing more than this by
restipulation, when he uses the word in explaining this doctrine, I will
not contend with him; but, since it is to use a word without its proper
ideas, which others annex to it, I humbly conceive this doctrine may be
better explained without it.

Footnote 89:

  ברית.

Footnote 90:

  διαθηκη.

Footnote 91:

  Rather, “ratified over a dead body,” an ancient mode of covenanting.

Footnote 92:

  _These style it, Testamento Foedus, or Foedus Testamentarium, or
  Testamentum Foederale._

Footnote 93:

  _The Hebrew word in this, and the two other scriptures above
  mentioned, is_ ערב _which signifies_, In fidem suam recipere; spondere
  pro aliquo; _and it is used in several other scriptures, in the same
  sense, for a person’s undertaking to be a surety for another. See
  Gen._ xliii. _6. chap._ xliv. _32. Prov._ xi. _15. Job_ xvii. _3. 2
  Kings_ xviii. _32. and elsewhere._

Footnote 94:

  Διατιθεμαι υμιν, καθως διεθετο μοι ο πατηρ μου βασιλειαν.

Footnote 95:

  _See Page 168. ante._

Footnote 96:

  We are not to suppose that _they shall not teach every man_, &c. is
  designed to exclude all public and private, ministerial, family, and
  social instruction; for this is founded on the law of nature, and is
  enforced in the New Testament institution of a gospel-ministry to
  continue to the consummation of all things, (_Matth._ xxviii. 20. and
  _Eph._ iv. 11, 12, 13.) and in the obligation that it has laid upon
  _Christian parents_ to _bring up their children in the nurture and
  admonition of the Lord_; (Eph. vi. 4.) as also in the directions that
  are given in this very epistle, _chap._ iii. 13. and x. 24, 25. to
  _private_ Christians, to _exhort one another daily_, &c. This passage
  therefore must be taken, either in a _comparative_ sense, as such
  expressions often are: (See _Isa._ xliii. 18. _Jer._ xxiii. 18. and
  _Mat._ ix. 13) Or else with reference to _that manner_ of teaching
  which was used, and rested in under the obscurities of the Old
  Testament dispensation, and the corrupt interpretations of the
  _Jewish_ doctors; or both may be included. _Guyse._



                             Quest. XXXII.


    QUEST. XXXII. _How is the grace of God manifested in the second
    covenant?_

    ANSW. The grace of God is manifested in the second covenant in that
    he freely provideth, and offereth to sinners a Mediator, and life
    and salvation by him; and requiring faith as the condition to
    interest them in him, promiseth and giveth his Holy Spirit to all
    his elect, to work in them that faith, with all other saving graces,
    and to enable them unto all holy obedience, as the evidence of the
    truth of their faith and thankfulness to God, and as the way which
    he hath appointed to salvation.

Since the covenant, which we have begun to consider, is called the
covenant of grace, it is necessary for us to shew in what respects the
grace of God is manifested therein; and, in order thereunto, we may
observe,

I. That life and salvation, which are very comprehensive blessings,
containing all that sinful creatures stand in need of, are promised
herein. Hereby the grace of God is more eminently illustrated than it
was in the first covenant; in which though life was promised, yet there
was no promise of salvation, or of the recovery of a forfeited life.
This is only brought to light by the gospel, which contains a glorious
discovery of the grace of this covenant: the blessings promised therein,
are, grace here, and glory hereafter; all which are contained in that
promise, _I will be a God to thee_, that is, I will deal with thee in
such a way, as that all my divine perfections shall contribute to thy
happiness. And sometimes when God reveals himself as a covenant-God, he
promises, as he did to Abraham, that _he will be their shield, and their
exceeding great reward_, Gen. xv. 1. And there are other promises
respecting the forgiveness of sin; as when God says, _I, even I, am he
that blotteth out thy transgressions, for mine own sake, and will not
remember thy sins_, Isa. xliii. 25. and, that we may consider this in
its utmost extent, the apostle says as much as can be expressed in
words, which is the consequence of God’s being a covenant-God to his
people, when he tells them, _All things are yours, whether Paul, or
Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present,
or things to come; all are yours_, 1 Cor. iii. 22.

II. Man could not have been made partaker of these invaluable blessings
contained in this covenant, without the interposition of a Mediator; for
he no sooner rebelled against God, but he was separated from his
presence and deprived of all those blessings, which he might otherwise
have expected; and, on the other hand, the holiness and justice of God
obliged him to testify his displeasure against him, whereby he was
utterly excluded from all hope of obtaining any blessings from him: the
perfections of the divine nature rendered it necessary that a
satisfaction for sin committed, should be insisted on; and this could
not be given by man in his own person, nor could he reasonably expect
that God should receive him into favour without it, as having rendered
himself guilty in his sight, and so liable to condemnation. Therefore,
since he could do nothing that had any tendency to repair the injuries
which he had offered to the divine justice, if ever he have access to
God, and acceptance in his sight, it must be in and through a Mediator;
which leads us to consider what we are to understand, by a mediator, and
what was to be done by him, in order to the procuring this favour.

A mediator, in general, is one who interposes between two parties that
are at variance, in order to make peace; and this he does, either by
endeavouring to persuade the party offended to lay aside his resentment,
and forgive the injury, which is a less proper sense of the word; or
else by making an overture of satisfaction, as an inducement hereunto.
In the former sense it would have been an affront to the divine Majesty,
and an injury to his justice, for any one to desire that God should be
reconciled, without a satisfaction given; in the latter, we are to
understand the word _Mediator_, when applied to Christ, in this answer.
He is not therefore herein to be considered barely as a Mediator of
intercession, as pleading that God would remit the debt, out of his mere
sovereignty or grace; but as a Mediator of satisfaction, or a Surety,
entering into an obligation to answer all the demands of justice. In
this respect, he is the Mediator of the covenant; whereas, when he is
sent, by God, to reveal, or make known the blessings thereof to man, he
is styled, _The Messenger of the covenant_, Mal. iii. 1. It was possible
for a mere creature to perform the work of a mediator, in this lower,
and less proper sense of the word; or, provided satisfaction were given
to the justice of God, to intercede with him for the sinner, or intreat
him to turn away from the fierceness of his wrath, which sin deserved,
in which sense Moses is styled a _mediator_, and in no other[97]; so
some understand that text, as spoken of him, when the apostle says, Gal.
iii. 19. of the law, that _it was ordained by angels, in the hand of a
mediator_[98]; and, agreeably hereunto, Moses says, _I stood between the
Lord and you at that time, to shew you the word of the Lord; for, you
were afraid, by reason of the fire_, Deut. v. 5. and elsewhere, after
Israel had sinned, in worshipping the golden calf, he says, _You have
sinned a great sin, and now I will go up unto the Lord: peradventure, I
shall make an atonement for your sin_, Exod. xxxii. 30. not that he was
to be accounted a mediator of satisfaction, for the atonement he hoped
to make, was by entreaty, or humble supplication, that God would not
destroy them, as they had deserved. This I call a less proper sense of
the word _Mediator_; whereas, in this answer, Christ is styled a
Mediator, in the same sense in which he was a Redeemer, or Surety, for
man, or made a proper atonement to procure reconciliation between God
and man by his blood, of which more will be considered, when we speak
concerning Christ’s priestly office.

III. It is a very great instance of grace, that God should admit of a
Mediator, who might have exacted the debt of us in our own persons; and,
we being unable to pay it, might have punished us with everlasting
destruction. That he was not obliged to admit of a Mediator, will
appear, if we consider the nature of the debt due from us, who were
obliged to perform perfect obedience, or else to suffer punishment; and
therefore he might have refused to have allowed of this to be performed
by another, in our stead: in this case, it is not like as when pecuniary
debts are paid, which cannot be refused by the creditor, though paid by
one that is surety for the debtor. But, since this will be more
particularly considered, when we speak concerning the satisfaction which
Christ gave to the justice of God, as our great High-Priest, all that we
shall add, concerning it, at present, is, that it was an instance of
that grace, which was displayed in the covenant, in which Christ is
considered as a Mediator of satisfaction.

IV. The grace of God farther appears, in that he not only admitted of a
Mediator, but provided one. It was impossible for fallen man to find out
any one that would so much as plead his cause, or speak a word in his
behalf, till satisfaction were first given; and no mere creature could
pay unto God a ransom that was worthy of his acceptance, or available,
to answer the end designed thereby. If the best of creatures had
undertaken the work, it would have miscarried in his hands: How
deplorable and hopeless then must the condition of fallen man for ever
have been, if God had not found out the expedient himself to bring about
our redemption! this was a blessing unthought of, unasked for by him. I
will not deny but that man might have some ideas of the divinity and
glory of the second Person in the Godhead, as the doctrine of the
Trinity was revealed to him, while in a state of innocency, as it was
necessary that it should be, in order to his worshipping of each of the
divine Persons, and I doubt not but he retained some ideas hereof when
fallen. But it may be questioned, whether he knew that it was possible
for the Son of God to be incarnate; or suppose, for argument-sake, we
allow that he had some idea of the possibility thereof; yet he could
never have known that he was willing to submit to this astonishing
instance of condescension, and thereby to put himself in the sinner’s
room, that he might procure that redemption that was necessary for him.
This mystery of the divine will was hid in God, and therefore could
never have been known by him without revelation, and consequently would
not have afforded him any matter of relief in his deplorable state. How
wonderful therefore was the grace of God, that he should find out this
expedient, and lay help on one that is mighty, or provide one to do that
for him, which none else could have done!

And to this we may add, that it was no less an instance of divine grace,
that God the Son should consent to perform this work for him: his
undertaking it, was without the least force or compulsion; for that
would have been inconsistent with his consenting to become a Surety for
us, and, as such, to suffer in our room and stead, since all punishment
must either be deserved by him, that bears it, or else voluntarily
submitted to: The former of these can by no means be said of Christ; for
a personal desert of punishment is inconsistent with his spotless
purity, and would have rendered the price, laid down by him for our
redemption, invalid; therefore he voluntarily condescended to engage in
this work. He gave his life a ransom for many; and this is considered as
a peculiar display of grace in him, as the apostle expresses it, _Ye
know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet,
for your sakes, he became poor, that ye, through his poverty, might be
rich_, 2 Cor. viii. 9.

V. This Mediator being provided for man, without his desert or
expectation, we proceed to consider him as offered to him, and, together
with him, life and salvation. This is the great design of the gospel, to
discover, or make an overture hereof to him; without this, the gospel
could not be preached, nor a visible publication made of the grace of
the covenant contained herein: but, since the overture of grace, or the
call of God to accept of, and embrace Christ, as offered in the gospel,
is more particularly considered under a following answer[99], we shall
reserve the farther consideration of this matter to it.

VI. It is farther said, in this answer, that the grace of God is
manifested in the second covenant, in his requiring faith, as the
condition to interest believers in Christ. This expression may be
allowed of, or excepted against, according to the method taken to
explain it, which we shall endeavour to do, and therein shew in what
sense we deny the covenant of grace to be conditional; and then enquire,
whether there be not another sense, agreeable to the divine perfections,
in which these words may be understood, and other expressions, of the
like nature, frequently used by divines, in which faith is styled a
condition thereof; and accordingly we shall enquire,

1. What we are to understand by a person’s having an interest in Christ.
This implies our having a right to claim him, as our Mediator, Surety,
Advocate, and Saviour, and with him all those spiritual blessings, which
are purchased and applied by him to those whom he has redeemed; so that
such an one may say, upon good grounds, Christ is mine, together with
_all spiritual blessings in heavenly things in him_.

Here let it be considered, that it is one thing to say, that Christ is
the Redeemer and Saviour of man, or, in particular, of his elect, who
are given to him for this end; and another thing for a person to say, he
is my Redeemer or Saviour: the former of these is a truth, founded in
scripture-revelation; and accordingly every one may say, as Moses
expresses it, _Yea, he loved the people_, Deut. xxxiii. 3. or his
peculiar chosen people; or, as the apostle says, _Christ loved the
church, and gave himself for it_, Eph. v. 25. But he, who has an
interest in Christ, has a right to claim him, as his Saviour, and
therefore may say, with the apostle, _He loved me, and gave himself for
me_, Gal. ii. 20. This I rather choose to express, by a believer’s
having a right to claim him as his Saviour, than his being actually
enabled so to do, inasmuch as many have an interest in Christ, who are
destitute of that assurance, which would give them a comfortable sense
thereof in their own souls.

2. We are now to consider how faith is said to be required, as the
condition to interest us in Christ; or how far this expression may be
qualified and explained, without asserting any thing derogatory to the
glory of God, or the grace of the covenant. The word _condition_, though
often used when we speak of contracts between man and man, as an
essential ingredient therein, is not so plainly contained in those
explications of the covenant of grace, which we have in scripture; and,
whenever we use it, with a particular application thereunto, we must
understand it in such a sense, as is agreeable to the divine
perfections. Therefore, that we may compare these two senses of the word
_condition_ together, in order to our determining how far it may be
used, or laid aside, in explaining this doctrine, let us consider,

(1.) That in human covenants, in which things are promised on certain
conditions, these conditions are supposed to be possible to be
performed, otherwise the promise, depending thereon, is rendered void,
and it contains no other than a virtual denial to make it good. Thus the
king of Israel did not, at first, understand the message sent him by the
king of Syria, requiring of him to heal Naaman of his leprosy, as a
condition of peace and friendship between them; and the inference he
makes from it was, that he had a design to seek a quarrel against him;
and his reasoning would have been just, had it been intended in this
sense, since the condition was not in his own power. Moreover, if a
master should tell his servant, that he would give him a reward, in case
he would perform the work of ten days in one, he would conclude nothing
else from it, but that he was resolved not to give him any thing. Now,
to apply this to our present purpose, we must consider whether faith,
when it is a condition of the covenant of grace, be in our own power or
no. There are some external acts thereof, indeed, which are so; but
these are too low to be deemed conditions of salvation, or of the
blessings of the covenant of grace; and as for those acts which are
supernatural, or the effects of the exceeding greatness of the power of
God, though they are inseparably connected with salvation, yet they are
not in our power; so as that we may conclude, that they are proposed as
conditions, in the same sense as those things are said to be, that are
supposed to contain this ingredient in them.

In this respect, the covenant of grace, as to the conditionality of it,
differs from the covenant of innocency, in which perfect obedience,
which was the condition thereof, was so far in man’s power, that he
could have performed it, without the superadded assistance of divine
grace: but when, on the other hand, perfect obedience is considered, as
a condition of fallen man’s _entering into life_, in which sense our
Saviour’s reply to the young man’s question, in Matt. xix. 17. is
understood by many, this is a plain intimation that eternal life is not
to be obtained this way, inasmuch as the condition is impossible.

(2.) When conditions are insisted on, in human covenants, it is
generally supposed, that though it be possible for the person, that
enjoins them, to assist, and enable him, who is under this obligation,
to perform them, yet he will not give him that assistance; for, if he
does, the contract can hardly be reckoned conditional, but absolute:
thus if a creditor should tell an insolvent debtor, that he will
discharge him, provided he pays the debt, and, at the same time, gives
him to understand that he will supply him with a sum of money, that
shall enable him to do it, this is altogether the same as though he had
discharged him, without any conditional demand of payment. This I cannot
but mention, because there are some persons, who speak of faith, as a
condition of the covenant of grace, and, at the same time, take it for
granted, that it is not in our own power to perform it: nevertheless,
since God has promised that he will work it in us, they conclude it to
be conditional; whereas such a promise as this would render the covenant
absolute, or, at least, not conditional, in the same sense, in which
human covenants are, and only infer what we do not deny, that there is a
necessary connexion between that grace, which God will enable us to
perform, and salvation, which he has promised in this covenant.

(3.) When any thing is promised to another, on condition that he do what
is enjoined on him, it is generally supposed that it is a dubious and
uncertain matter whether this condition shall be fulfilled, and the
promise take place; or, as I may express it, every condition contains
not a necessary, but an uncertain connexion between the promised
advantage, and the duty enjoined, and that for this reason, because all
human covenants depend on the power and will of men, who are under
conditional engagements to perform what is demanded therein; and these
are supposed to be mutable and defective, and, as far as they are so,
the performance of the condition may be reckoned dubious; and he that
made the promise is liable to the same uncertainty, whether he shall
make it good or no. This will hardly be denied, by those who defend the
other side of the question, who, in explaining the nature of human
liberty, generally suppose, that every one, who acts freely, might do
the contrary; therefore they must, from hence, conclude, that, if the
performing the conditions of a covenant be the result of man’s free
will, it is possible for him not to perform them, and therefore it must
be a matter of uncertainty, whether a person, who promises a reward upon
the performance of these conditions, will confer it or no. But, however
this may be applied to human covenants, we are not to suppose that
faith, or any other grace, is, in this respect, a condition of the
covenant of grace, as though God’s conferring the blessings promised
therein were dependent on the will of man, as determining itself to the
exercise of these graces; in this respect, we cannot but deny the
covenant of grace to be conditional.

(4.) If we take an estimate of the worth and value of a condition
enjoined, the advantages that he, who enjoins it, expects to receive
from it, or the reference that the performance thereof has to the
procuring the blessing promised, in which case the person, who has
fulfilled it, may be said to merit, or have whereof to glory in himself,
as to what concerns the part he has performed therein: this must not be
applied to any transaction between God and man, and therefore is wholly
to be excluded from those ideas, which are contained in the word
_condition_, when applied to the covenant of grace, as will be allowed
by most, who do not give into the Popish doctrine of the merit of good
works. Concerning the worth and value of faith, and all other graces, I
would not be thought, in the least, to depreciate or divest them of that
excellency, which they have, above all other effects of God’s power and
blessings of providence; whereas certainly we ought to bless God for
them, or glory in him, as the Author of them: but that which we would
fence against in this matter, is nothing more than what our Saviour
does, when he says, _When ye shall have done all those things which are
commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants_, Luke xvii. 10. And I
would not have any one suppose, that whatever condition is performed by
us, has such a value put on it, as that eternal life is hereupon due to
us, in a way of debt, which would make way for boasting. It is true, the
conditions which Christ performed in that branch of the covenant, which
more immediately respected himself, which some call the covenant of
redemption, were properly meritorious, and the blessings he purchased
thereby were given him in a way of debt, and not as an undeserved
favour: but, if we suppose that there is the same reference of faith, or
any other grace acted by us, to that salvation, which we expect, we turn
the covenant of grace into a covenant of works, and resolve that into
ourselves which is due to God alone.

But since many excellent divines have asserted faith to be a condition
of the covenant of grace, who do not understand the word _condition_,
either as containing in it any thing dubious or uncertain on the one
hand, or meritorious on the other; and probably they choose to express
themselves so, in compliance with custom, and to explain away the common
ideas of the word _condition_, as applied to human covenants, rather
than altogether to lay it aside; and, it may be, they do this, lest they
should be thought to deny the necessary connexion between faith and
salvation: I shall therefore, for the same reason, conclude this head
with the following propositions, whereby our not using the word
_condition_, may be vindicated, from any just exception; or, our using
of it may not appear to be inconsistent with the divine perfections, or
the grace of this covenant. Therefore,

_1st_, We shall lay down this as an undoubted truth, the denial whereof
would be subversive of all religion, that faith, and all other graces,
are required by God, and our obligation thereunto is indispensible;
whether it be reckoned a condition of the covenant or no, it is no less
a duty.[100] It is true, there are some who distinguish between the
obligation of a law, and that of a covenant; the former of which depends
on an express command; the latter is the result of some blessings
promised or conferred, which has in it the obligation of a law, but not
the formal nature of it; and therefore they conclude, that we are
commanded by God, as a Lawgiver, to believe and repent, but that it is
more proper to say, we are rather engaged by him, as a covenant-God,
than commanded to exercise these graces: but this dispute is rather
about the propriety of words, than the main substance of the doctrine
itself; and therefore I shall enter no farther into this critical
enquiry, but content myself with the general assertion, that faith, and
all other graces are necessary duties; without which, _it is impossible
to please God_, to use the apostle’s expression, Heb. xi. 6. or to have
any right to the character of Christians.

_2dly_, Faith, and all other graces, are to be also considered as
blessings, promised in the covenant of grace. This appears from those
scriptures that speak of them as _the gifts of God_, Eph. ii. 8.
purchased by the blood of Christ, and so founded on _his righteousness_,
2 Pet. i. 1. and wrought in us by his Spirit, and the _exceeding
greatness of his power_, Eph. i. 19. and as discriminating blessings,
which all are not partakers of, as the apostle says, _All men have not
faith_, 2 Thess. iii. 2.

This may be farther argued, from what Christ undertook to purchase for,
and apply to his people, as their federal Head; so that, in pursuance
hereof, all spiritual blessings in heavenly things, are bestowed on
them, in him; and hereby the covenant is made good to them, as God is
said, _together with Christ, to give them all things_, Rom. viii. 32.
First, Christ is given for a covenant of his people, and then, upon his
fulfilling what he undertook to procure for them, all that grace, which
is treasured up in him, is applied to them; therefore faith, and other
concomitant graces, are covenant-blessings.

_3dly_, There is a certain connexion between faith, with other
concomitant graces, and salvation. But this having been considered
elsewhere, together with the sense of those scriptures, that seem to be
laid down in a conditional form, from whence the arguments, to prove the
conditionality of the covenant of grace, are generally taken;[101] all
that we shall add, at present, is, that since, in this eternal covenant
between the Father and the Son, it was agreed, established, and, on our
Saviour’s part, undertaken, that the elect should be not only redeemed,
but sanctified, and enabled to exercise all grace, before they are
brought to glory, this is made good to them in this covenant; and
therefore, as the consequence of Christ’s purchase, faith, and all other
graces, are wrought in the soul, which afterwards, in receiving the end
of faith, is brought to eternal salvation; so that we may as well
separate Christ’s undertaking to redeem his people from their attaining
salvation, as we can his applying those graces which accompany it.

However, when we speak of these graces, as connected with salvation, we
must not conclude that they are the cause thereof. Though we are saved
in a way of believing, we are not saved for our faith; and therefore I
cannot but approve of what is observed by many divines, who treat of
this subject, that these graces are the way to heaven, though Christ’s
righteousness be the cause of our coming there.[102] I am sensible there
are some who express their dislike of some of the most unexceptionable
modes of speaking, if not altogether agreeable to those which they make
use of, who can hardly approve of any one’s asserting, that faith, and
other graces, are the way to salvation; partly, because they are the
beginning of salvation, and principally, because Christ styles himself,
_The Way_, John xiv. 6. But to this it may be replied, that though grace
be glory begun, yet it may as truly be said to be the way to complete
salvation, as the traveller’s setting out, and going forward on his
journey, is the way to the end thereof, without which it can never be
attained; and, though Christ be the way to salvation, as every thing
that tends to fit us for, and bring us to it, is founded on what he did
for us, as Mediator; yet this does not, in the least, overthrow the
connexion of grace with glory, in the method in which he brings his
people to it, by first working faith, and all other graces in them,
before the work is brought to perfection, or the top-stone thereof is
laid.

_4thly_, If we assert more than this, namely, that faith is a condition
of the covenant of grace, or, as it is expressed in this answer, a
condition to interest believers in Christ, we must distinguish between
God’s bestowing the blessings of the covenant of grace, pursuant to his
secret will, or his eternal purpose; and our having a visible ground, or
reason, to claim an interest in them; the former of these cannot be
supposed to be conditional, without making God dependent on our act; the
latter may, and, I think, ought to be deemed so. Thus faith is a
condition, or an internal qualification, without which no one has a
warrant to conclude his interest in, or lay claim to the saving
blessings of the covenant of grace, so that when it is said to be a
condition to interest believers in Christ, in this answer, we are to
understand it, as that which evinces our claim to him, or gives us
ground to conclude, that we are redeemed by him, and to expect that he
will bestow upon us complete salvation. To deny this, would be to
suppose, that an unbeliever has a warrant to conclude that Christ loved
and gave himself for him, or that he shall be saved by him; which is a
doctrine that I cannot but oppose with the greatest detestation, as what
contains in it an unwarrantable presumption, and leads to
licentiousness, which, I hope, nothing, that has been said on this
subject, has the least tendency to do. Thus we have considered how faith
may be said to be a condition of our laying claim to an interest in
Christ; we proceed,

VII. To consider how the grace of God is glorified, in his having
ordained, that we should apprehend or discern our interest in Christ,
and the blessings of the covenant, by faith. Of all other graces, faith
is that which has the greatest tendency to discover to the soul its own
vileness, and nothingness; and, indeed, every thing that we behold in
Christ its object, has a tendency to abase us in our own sight. Do we,
by faith, behold Christ’s fulness? This has a tendency to humble us,
under a sense of our own emptiness. Do we look on Christ as the Fountain
of all righteousness and strength? This leads us to see that we are
destitute hereof in ourselves; so that, as faith beholds all that we
have, or hope for, as being founded on, and derived from Christ, and
gives us hereupon the greatest sense of our own unworthiness, this is in
its own nature adapted to advance the grace of God; and therefore God,
in taking this method to apply the blessings of the covenant, requiring
faith, as an instrument, hereof, ordained the best expedient, to
illustrate, and set forth his own grace as displayed therein. But since
it is a very difficult matter to believe, as this grace of faith is the
gift and effect of the power of God, we are now to consider,

VIII. That the grace of the covenant is farther manifested, in that God
has promised, and pursuant thereunto, gives his Holy Spirit to work
faith, and all other graces that are connected with, or flow from it.
That we have in the covenant of grace a promise of the Holy Spirit, to
work in us, that grace which God requires, is very evident; for he says,
_I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of
Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace, and of supplications_, Zech. xii. 10.
and elsewhere, God promises _to pour his Spirit upon their seed, and his
blessings upon their offspring_, Isa. xliv. 3. and this is farther set
forth, in a metaphorical way, when he promises _to sprinkle clean water_
on his people, and that _he would cleanse them from all their
filthiness, and from all their idols, and give them a new heart, and put
a new spirit within them, and take away the stony heart out of their
flesh, and give them an heart of flesh_, and all this is said to be done
by _his Spirit_, which he promised _to put within them_, Ezek. xxxvi.
25-27. And more particularly, the Spirit, as working faith in the hearts
of believers, is called, for that reason, _The Spirit of faith_, 2 Cor.
iv. 13. and all other graces are called, _The fruit of the Spirit_, Gal.
v. 22, 23. so that they are from the Spirit, as the Author of all grace,
and they proceed from faith, as one grace tends to excite another: thus
the heart is said _to be purified by faith_, Acts xv. 9. which is said
also _to work by love_, Gal. v. 6. and hereby we are enabled _to
overcome the world_; and this produces all holy obedience, which is
called, _The obedience of faith_, Rom. xvi. 26. Thus concerning the
Spirit’s working faith and all other graces.

Again, it is farther added, that the truth and sincerity of faith is
evidenced as well as the grace of faith wrought by the Spirit; and this
is also a blessing promised in the covenant of grace. Hereby we are
enabled to discern our interest in Christ, and our right to all the
blessings that accompany salvation; in which respect, the _secret of the
Lord is with them that fear him, and he shews them his covenant_, Psal.
xxv. 14. He not only discovers to them that there is such a dispensation
of grace in general, but that they have a right to the blessings
promised therein, and accordingly _seals them unto the day of
redemption_, Eph. iv. 30. and hereby they are enabled to walk
comfortably, as knowing in whom they have believed, and, are induced to
the greatest thankfulness, as those, who are under the highest
obligations to God, who promises and bestows these, and all other
blessings, whereby his grace is abundantly manifested, in this covenant.

Footnote 97:

  _Such an one is more properly called Internuncius, than Mediator._

Footnote 98:

  _Vid. Bez. and Whitby in loc._

Footnote 99:

  _See Quest._ lxvii.

Footnote 100:

  “The law of God itself requires no creature to love him, or obey him,
  beyond his _strength_, or with more than all the powers which he
  possesses. If the inability of sinners to believe in Christ, or to do
  things spiritually good, were of this nature, it would undoubtedly
  form an excuse in their favour; and it must be as absurd to exhort
  them to such duties, as to exhort the blind to look, the deaf to hear,
  or the dead to walk. But the inability of sinners is not such as to
  induce the Judge of all the earth, (who cannot do other than right) to
  abate in his requirements. It is a fact that he does require them, and
  that without paying any regard to their inability, _to love him_, and
  _to fear him_, and _to do all his commandments always_. _The blind_
  are admonished _to look, the deaf to hear_, and _the dead to arise_.
  Isa. xlii. 18. Ephes. v. 14. If there were no other proof than what is
  afforded by this single fact, it ought to satisfy us that the
  blindness, deafness, and death of sinners, to that which is
  spiritually good, is of a different nature from that which furnishes
  an excuse. This however is not the only ground of proof. The thing
  speaks for itself. There is an essential difference between an
  inability which is independent of the inclination, and one that is
  owing to nothing else. It is equally impossible, no doubt, for any
  person to do that which he has no mind to do, as to perform that which
  surpasses his natural powers; and hence it is that the same terms are
  used in the one case as in the other. Those who were under the
  dominion of envy and malignity, COULD NOT _speak peaceably_; and those
  who have _eyes full of adultery_, CANNOT _cease from sin_. Hence also
  the following language—_How_ CAN _ye, being evil, speak good
  things?—The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God,
  neither_ CAN _he know them—The carnal mind is enmity against God; and
  is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed_ CAN _be—They that
  are in the flesh_ CANNOT _please God—No man_ CAN _come to me, except
  the Father who sent me draw him._—It is also true, that many have
  affected to treat the distinction between natural and moral inability
  as more curious than solid. ‘If we be unable, say they, we are unable.
  As to the nature of the inability, it is a matter of no account. Such
  distinctions are perplexing to plain Christians, and beyond their
  capacity.’ But surely the plainest and weakest Christian in reading
  his bible, if he pay any regard to what he reads, must perceive a
  manifest difference between the blindness of Bartimeus, who was
  ardently desirous that _he might receive his sight_, and that of the
  unbelieving Jews, who _closed their eyes, lest they should see, and be
  converted, and healed_; Mark x. 51. Matt. xii. 15. and between the
  want of the natural sense of hearing, and the state of those _who have
  ears, but hear not_.

  “So far as my observation extends, those persons who affect to treat
  this distinction as a matter of mere curious speculation, are as ready
  to make use of it as other people where their own interest is
  concerned. If they be accused of injuring their fellow-creatures, and
  can allege that what they did was not _knowingly_, or of _design_, I
  believe they never fail to do so: or when charged with neglecting
  their duty to a parent, or a master; if they can say in truth that
  they were _unable_ to do it at the time, _let their will have been
  ever so good_, they are never known to omit the plea: and should such
  a master or parent reply by suggesting that their want of ability
  arose from want of _inclination_, they would very easily understand it
  to be the language of reproach, and be very earnest to maintain the
  contrary. You never hear a person, in such circumstances, reason as he
  does in religion. He does not say, ‘If I be unable, I am unable; it is
  of no account whether it be of this kind or that:’ but labours with
  all his might to establish the difference. Now if the subject be so
  clearly understood and acted upon where interest is concerned, and
  never appears difficult but in religion, it is but too manifest where
  the difficulty lies. If by fixing the guilt of our conduct upon our
  father Adam, we can sit comfortably in our nest; we shall be very
  averse to a sentiment that tends to disturb our repose, by planting a
  thorn in it.

  “It is sometimes objected, that the inability of sinners to believe in
  Christ, is not the effect of their depravity; for that Adam himself in
  his purest state was only a _natural man_, and had no power to perform
  spiritual duties. But this objection belongs to another topic, and
  has, I hope, been already answered. To this, however, it may be
  added—_The natural man who receiveth not the things of the Spirit of
  God_, (1 Cor. ii. 14.) is not a man possessed of the holy image of
  God, as was Adam, but of mere natural accomplishments; as were the
  _wise men of the world_, the philosophers of Greece and Rome, to whom
  the things of God were _foolishness_. Moreover, if the inability of
  sinners to perform spiritual duties, were of the kind alleged in the
  objection, they must be equally unable to commit the opposite sins. He
  that from the constitution of his nature is absolutely unable to
  understand, or believe, or love a certain kind of truth, must of
  necessity be alike unable to _shut his eyes_ against it, to
  disbelieve, to reject, or to hate it. But it is manifest that all men
  are capable of the latter; it must therefore follow, that nothing but
  the depravity of their hearts renders them incapable of the former.

  “Some writers, as hath been already observed, have allowed that
  sinners are the subjects of an inability which arises from their
  depravity; but they still contend that this is not _all_; but that
  they are both _naturally_ and _morally_ unable to believe in Christ;
  and this they think agreeable to the scriptures, which represent them
  as both _unable_ and _unwilling_ to come to him for life. But these
  two kinds of inability cannot consist with each other, so as both to
  exist in the same subject, and towards the same thing. A moral
  inability supposes a natural ability. He who never in any state was
  possessed of the power of seeing, cannot be said to _shut his eyes_
  against the light. If the Jews had not been possessed of natural
  powers, equal to the knowledge of Christ’s doctrine, there had been no
  justice in that cutting question and answer, _Why do ye not understand
  my speech? Because ye_ CANNOT _hear my word_. A total physical
  inability must of necessity supersede a moral one. To suppose,
  therefore, that the phrase, _No man_ CAN _come to me_, is meant to
  describe the former; and, YE WILL NOT _come to me that ye may have
  life_, the latter; is to suppose that our Saviour taught what is
  self-contradictory.

  “Some have supposed that in ascribing physical or natural power to
  men, we deny their _natural depravity_. Through the poverty of
  language, words are obliged to be used in different senses. When we
  speak of men as _by nature_ depraved, we do not mean to convey the
  idea of sin being an essential part of human nature, or of the
  constitution of man as man: our meaning is, that it is not a mere
  effect of education and example; but is from his very birth so
  interwoven through all his powers, so ingrained, as it were, in his
  very soul, as to grow up with him, and become natural to him.

  “On the other hand, when the term _natural_ is used as opposed to
  _moral_, and applied to the powers of the soul, it is designed to
  express those faculties which are strictly a part of our nature as
  men, and which are necessary to our being accountable creatures. By
  confounding these ideas we may be always disputing, and bring nothing
  to an issue.

  “Finally, It is sometimes suggested, that to ascribe natural ability
  to sinners to perform things spiritually good, is to nourish their
  self-sufficiency; and that to represent their inability as only
  _moral_, is to suppose that it is not insuperable, but may after all
  be overcome by efforts of their own. But surely it is not necessary,
  in order to destroy a spirit of self-sufficiency, to deny that we are
  men, and accountable creatures; which is all that natural ability
  supposes. If any person imagine it possible, of his own accord to
  chuse that to which he is utterly averse, let him make the trial.

  “Some have alleged, that ‘natural power is only sufficient to perform
  natural things; and that spiritual power is required to the
  performance of spiritual things.’ But this statement is far from
  accurate. Natural power is as necessary to the performance of
  spiritual, as of natural things: we must possess the powers of men in
  order to perform the duties of good men. And as to spiritual power,
  or, which is the same thing, a right state of mind, it is not properly
  a faculty of the soul, but a quality which it possesses: and which
  though it be essential to the _actual performance_ of spiritual
  obedience, yet is not necessary to our being under _obligation_ to
  perform it.” FULLER.

Footnote 101:

  _See Vol. 1. page 479, 480._

Footnote 102:

  _The former of these is generally styled_, Via ad regnum; _the
  latter_, Causa regnandi.



                     Quest. XXXIII., XXXIV., XXXV.


    QUEST. XXXIII. _Was the covenant of grace always administered after
    one and the same manner?_

    ANSW. The covenant of grace was not always administered after the
    same manner; but the administrations of it, under the Old Testament,
    were different from those under the New.

    QUEST. XXXIV. _How was the covenant of grace administered under the
    Old Testament._

    ANSW. The covenant of grace was administered under the Old
    Testament, by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the
    passover, and other types and ordinances, which did all fore-signify
    Christ then to come, and were, for that time, sufficient to build up
    the elect in faith in the promised Messiah, by whom they then had
    full remission of sin, and eternal salvation.

    QUEST. XXXV. _How is the covenant of grace administered under the
    New Testament?_

    ANSW. Under the New Testament, when Christ the substance was
    exhibited the same covenant of grace was, and still is, to be
    administered in the preaching of the word; and the administration of
    the sacraments of Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper, in which, grace
    and salvation is held forth in more fulness, evidence, and efficacy,
    to all nations.

Having considered the nature of the covenant, in which God has promised
salvation to his people, and how his grace is manifested therein, we
proceed to speak concerning the various dispensations thereof, or the
way in which God has been pleased, from time to time, to discover and
apply the blessings contained in it, for the encouragement of his people
to hope for salvation. This he has done, _at sundry times, and in divers
manners_, Heb. i. 1. the first method of administration was before
Christ’s incarnation; the other, in all succeeding ages, to continue to
the end of the world. Accordingly we are led to consider,

I. How the covenant of grace was administered under the Old Testament.
As God has always had a church in the world, in the earliest ages
thereof, which has been the seat of his special presence, and been
favoured with the displays of his glory; so he has made known, and
applied to them, the blessings of salvation, or the promises of this
covenant, in which they are contained. How he has done this, is
particularly considered in this answer; in which there is something
supposed, namely, that it was absolutely necessary, for the salvation of
the elect, that God should, some way or other, reveal Christ to them, by
whom they were to obtain remission of sins; for he was to be the object
of their faith, as well as the fountain of their blessedness. This he
could not have been, unless he had taken some methods to lead the world
into the knowledge of his Person, and that work he designed to engage
in, whereby they, who lived before his incarnation, might be encouraged
to look for the benefits which he would procure, by what he was to do
and suffer, in order thereunto. Now, that he has done so, and that the
method which he has taken therein, was sufficient to build up his elect
in the faith of the promised Messiah, is what we are particularly to
consider, and so shall shew,

1. That God revealed Christ, and the blessings of the covenant of grace,
to his church of old. There were two ways by which he did this; one was
by express words, or an intimation given from heaven, that the Messiah,
the prince of life, should, in the fulness of time, take our nature, and
dwell among us; and that what he was then to be, and do, should be
conducive to the salvation of those who lived before his incarnation, as
much as though he had done this from the beginning of the world: the
other was, by types, or significant ordinances, which are only different
ways of discovering the same important doctrines to them.

(1.) God revealed Christ then to come to the Old Testament church, by
promises and prophecies; to the end, that though they were not, at that
time, to behold him, as manifested in the flesh, they might take a view
of him by faith, and hereby he might be rendered the object of their
desire and expectation, that when he came, it might be no unlooked-for
event, but the accomplishment of those promises and predictions that
related thereunto: thus God told Abraham, not only that he should be
blessed with a numerous off-spring, but that, _in his seed_, that is, in
the Messiah, who should descend from him, _all the nations of the earth
should he blessed_; he likewise says to Israel, by Moses, _The Lord thy
God will raise up unto thee a Prophet, from among thy brethren, like
unto me; unto him ye shall hearken_, Deut. xviii. 15. and, in following
ages, there were promises and predictions, that gave farther light,
concerning the person and offices, the sufferings and glory of the
Messiah, as it is said, _To him give all the prophets witness_, Acts x.
43. And the prophet Isaiah is so express, in the account he gives of
this matter, that he is styled, by some, the evangelical prophet; what
he says, concerning him, is so particular, as though it had been an
history of what was past, rather than a prophecy of what was to come;
accordingly he foretells, that he should _be born_, or _given_, as a
public blessing to the world, and describes him not only as having _the
government upon his shoulder_, but as having the perfections of the
divine nature, which discover him fit for that important trust, when he
styles him, _Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting
Father, the Prince of peace_, Isa. ix. 6. And, as he speaks of his
birth, so he intimates, that he should be _born of a virgin_; chap. vii.
14. and he describes him, in chap. liii. as condescending to bear our
sins, as standing in our room and stead, designing hereby to make
atonement for them; he speaks of him, as _brought like a lamb to the
slaughter_, and _cut off out of the land of the living, making his grave
with the wicked, and with the rich in his death_, and after this, that
_he should prolong his days_, and that the consequence hereof should be
glorious to himself, and of the highest advantage to his people: and he
describes him elsewhere, chap. lxiii. 1, &c. in a most elegant manner as
one triumphing over conquered enemies; _travelling_, or pursuing his
victories, _in the greatness of his strength_, and making it appear that
he is _mighty to save_.

Another prophet speaks of him as _a Branch_ that should grow out of the
root or stock of David, when it was almost dead and dry, and that he
should set up a more glorious throne, and exercise a government over his
people in a spiritual way, Jer. xxiii. 5, 6. And the prophet Micah gives
us an account of the very place of his birth, and speaks of Bethlehem,
as rendered famous and renowned by his being born therein, _who should
be a ruler in Israel_, though otherwise it was _little among the
thousands of Judah_, Micah v. 2. Another prophet signifies his coming at
that time, when God would _shake all nations_, that is, fill the world
with civil commotions, and cause it to feel the sad effects of those
wars, whereby the kingdoms of the world had been dis-jointed, and many
of them broken in pieces, that then _the desire of all nations should
come, and fill his house_, to wit, the second temple, _with glory_, Hag.
ii. 7. And the prophet Daniel speaks of him as the Messiah, or Christ,
the character by which he was most known, when he was here on earth, and
gives a chronological account of the time when he should come, and _be
cut off, though not for himself_, and hereby _confirm the covenant_, and
at the same time, _cause the sacrifice and oblation_, that is, the
ordinances of the ceremonial law, _to cease_, and so make way for
another dispensation of the covenant, to wit, that which we are under,
which was to succeed in the room thereof.

(2.) The covenant of grace was also administered by the various types
and ordinances of the ceremonial law, which were all significant signs
of that grace, that should be displayed in the gospel, which was to be
obtained by Christ. Many of these types and ordinances were instituted
before the whole body of the ceremonial law was given from mount Sinai.
The first we read of was that of sacrifices, which were offered in the
first ages of the world, whereby they had an early intimation given them
of the blood of the covenant, which should be shed to expiate sin. And,
after this, circumcision was instituted, first given to Abraham, as a
visible mark, or token, of the covenant, immediately before the birth of
Isaac, the promised seed, at that time, when God was pleased to enter
into covenant with him, Gen. xvii. 9, 10. and this ordinance was
continued in the church, throughout all the generations thereof, till
our Saviour’s time, and is explained by the apostle, as a sign, or _seal
of the righteousness of faith_, Rom. iv. 11.

Another type was the passover, which was first instituted in
commemoration of Israel’s departure out of Egypt, which had in it many
significant rites and ceremonies, whereby our redemption, by Christ, was
set forth; upon which occasion, the apostle calls him _our Passover, who
is sacrificed for us_, 1 Cor. v. 7. and in allusion hereunto, he is
styled, _The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world_, John
i. 29.

There were many other ceremonial ordinances, or types, which God gave to
the Jewish nation, which were significant representations of the grace
that was to be displayed in the gospel, or, as it is expressed in this
answer, they fore-signified Christ then to come, which contained as the
apostle expresses it, _A shadow of good things to come_, Heb. x. 1. so
that they all pointed at the grace of the covenant, or the
accomplishment of what was to be performed by Christ, after his
incarnation: but this will be more particularly considered, when we
speak of the ceremonial law, as distinguished from the moral, under a
following answer[103]. Therefore, at present, we shall only consider the
types in general, and their reference to the grace of the covenant,
whereby the Old Testament church were led into the knowledge of the
Messiah then to come, together with what he was to do and suffer, to
purchase and apply the blessings of this covenant to his people. And
here we shall shew,

_1st_, That there were typical ordinances under the ceremonial law. This
we are obliged to maintain, against those who have advanced several
things relating to the origin of the ceremonial law, which tend very
much to divest it of its spirituality and glory[104], when they assert,
that all the rites and ordinances thereof were derived from the
Egyptians; and that they were first observed by them, before known and
received by the church; and that the reason why God accommodated his law
thereunto, was because he knew how tenacious they were of that religion
in which that generation had been trained up in Egypt, and how difficult
it would be for them wholly to lay it aside, and to give into another
way of worship, which was altogether foreign to it: nevertheless, they
say that he cut off, or separated from it, every thing that was
idolatrous, and adapted other things to that mode of worship, which he
thought most conducive to his glory. But though he commanded his people,
when they left Egypt, to borrow vessels of silver and gold, to be used
in that service they were to perform in the wilderness; yet far be it
from us to suppose, that God, in ordaining this law, borrowed any part
of it from them. It is true, there were rites of worship used by the
Egyptians, and other nations, which had some affinity with the divine
law, and were received by them in common with other heathen nations, by
tradition, from the church, in former ages; and it cannot be denied, but
that the Israelites sometimes corrupted the worship of God, by
introducing some things into it, which were practised by neighbouring
nations: but God gave no countenance to this matter, by accommodating
his law to theirs. But since this has been purposely and largely
insisted on, with much learning and judgment, by others[105], I shall
pass it over.

There are others, who make farther advances on this subject, tending to
overthrow that which appears to be the main design of the ceremonial
law, together with the spiritual meaning of it; these not only conclude,
that the main end of God’s giving it to the Jews, was because it was
necessary that there should be some form of worship erected, otherwise
they would have invented one of their own, or practised that which they
had received from the Egyptians; and the more pompous and ceremonious
this form was, and especially the nearer it came to that of neighbouring
nations, it would more readily be received and complied with: but, that
there was no design herein to typify, or shadow forth Christ, or the
blessings of the covenant of grace; these therefore, were commanded
duties[106], (whereby the people were to be kept employed,) but not
typical ordinances. But it is very strange that any, who have read some
explications hereof, occasionally mentioned in the Old Testament, and
especially that large comment on the ceremonial law, given by the
apostle, in his epistle to the Hebrews, should embrace this opinion.

_2dly_, Whatever ordinances were typical, they respected Christ, his
person, offices, the grace of the covenant, and the way of salvation, by
him; therefore I cannot approve of what I occasionally meet with, in
some ancient commentators, and other modern writers, who sometimes speak
of things being typical of other things besides Christ, and what relates
to the work of redemption by him. Thus some speak of those notorious
wicked persons mentioned in scripture, as Cain, Pharaoh, and others, as
though they were types of the devil; and of Antiochus Epiphanes, as a
type of Anti-christ. And others speak of some things as types of
Gospel-ordinances, so they call circumcision a type of baptism, and the
passover of the Lord’s supper; and several writers, amongst the Papists,
suppose, that the bread and wine, that was brought forth by Melchisedek
to Abraham, was a type of the Eucharist, as they call that ordinance.
Others speak of Noah’s being saved in the ark from the deluge, as a type
of baptism, being mis-led herein by a mistaken sense of the word, used
by the apostle, when he says, having spoken before of Noah’s being saved
in the ark, _The like figure whereunto, even baptism, doth also now save
us_, 1 Pet. iii. 21. &c. whereas the meaning of the Greek word[107] is
not that this was a type of baptism, but that it signified, as baptism
also doth, that salvation, which we have by Christ.

_3dly_, When we consider what was typified by those ordinances, under
the ceremonial law, we must avoid two extremes; namely, that of those
who make more types, than the Holy Ghost designed in scripture; and
others, who will not acknowledge many things to be types, which plainly
appear to be so: the former give too great scope to their wit and fancy,
when they reckon every thing to be a type, that may be adapted to
Christ, and the gospel-state; and accordingly suppose, many persons and
actions done by them to be typical, which it is hard to prove that they
were designed to be, or were looked upon as such by the Old
Testament-church. Thus it would be a difficult matter to prove that
Samson (especially in any other respect than as he was a Nazarite) was a
type of Christ. But, if it could be proved, that the success he
sometimes had in his skirmishes with the Philistines, was a type of
Christ’s victories over his and our enemies; yet it doth not appear,
though some have extended the parallel so far, that his carrying the
door and posts of the gate of Gaza to the top of a hill that is before
Hebron, Judges xvi. 3. signifies Christ’s resurrection. But it is
abominable, when any one supposes, as some have unwarily done, that his
loving a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah, ver. 4.
was a type of Christ’s loving the Gentile church.

But, because I would not give any occasion to conclude that I have light
thoughts of the performance of some, who have explained many things,
which they call types, in scripture, with a very honest and good design,
to lead the world into the knowledge of several great gospel-truths; I
shall take leave to distinguish between those things, which were plainly
designed, in scripture, to be types, and some other, which, though it
doth not appear that they were looked upon as such by the Old
Testament-church, yet they may be accommodated to illustrate or explain
some doctrines contained in the gospel. If any one call these methods of
illustration, types, because there is some analogy or resemblance
between them and Christ, or the benefits of the covenant, they may
extend their illustrations as far as they please; I will not contend
with them. It is not their saying, that such and such things are
similitudes, by which Christ may be set forth; but their asserting that
these similitudes were designed by God, to be ordinances for the faith
of his church, to lead them into the knowledge of Christ, that I
militate against, when I suppose that some are chargeable with an
extreme, in extending this matter too far, which, it is certain, many
have done.

But this may give occasion to enquire; when we may determine that a
thing is designed, by God, to be a type of Christ, and the grace of the
covenant? To this I answer,

(1.) As to what respects persons, or, as it is commonly expressed,
personal types, though I cannot say, that every one, whose life and
actions bear a very great resemblance to some things that are remarkable
in the life of Christ, is a type of him, in any other sense, than, as we
are led, by the analogy, or resemblance of things, to speak of it, in a
way of accommodation or illustration; yet we have some directions given
us, by which we may conclude some persons to be types of Christ; one of
which is, when he is called by their name: thus our Saviour’s being
called David, in several scriptures, Hos. iii. 5. Ezek. xxxiv. 23. and
David’s often speaking in the Person of our Saviour, in several of his
Psalms, seems to intimate, that he was looked upon, by the church in his
day, as a type of Christ.

Again, Moses seems to imply as much concerning himself, when he speaks
of Christ as _a Prophet, whom the Lord God should raise up from among
their brethren_, and he adds, that he should be _like unto him_, and
consequently typified by him, Deut. xviii. 15. and the apostle seems to
intimate as much, when he compares Moses and Christ together, in point
of faithfulness, that _the one was faithful as a servant_ in God’s
house, the other as _a Son over his own house_, Heb. iii, 2, 5, 6.

Again, when any remarkable actions, were done by persons mentioned in
scripture, which were allowed to be typical, it follows, from thence,
that the person, who was appointed to be God’s minister in doing them,
was a type of Christ. Thus we may conclude Joshua to have been reckoned,
by Israel, a type of Christ, in leading them into the land of Canaan,
upon the same ground that they had to look upon that land, as a type of
the gospel-rest, which we are brought to by Christ. And, for the same
reason, Solomon might be called a type of Christ, as he built the
temple, which was reckoned, by the Jews, as a type of God’s presence, in
a way of grace with his people; and there are other passages, that might
be referred to in scripture, which farther prove him to be a type of
Christ.[108]

And nothing is more evident, than that the priests, under the law, who
were ministers in holy things, and the high priest, in a way of
eminency, were types of Christ; they are so considered in the
explication thereof, given in the epistle to the Hebrews; and they
farther appear to be so, inasmuch as the church had sufficient ground to
conclude, that their ministry was typical, or the gifts, or sacrifices
that they offered, were types of what was offered by Christ, for our
redemption. And this leads us,

(2.) To consider those types, which are called real, or things done, as
being ordinances designed to signify the grace of the covenant. These
were either occasional, or stated; the former whereof were designed for
types, at those times, when the things were performed. But it doth not
appear that they were so afterwards, in succeeding ages; as their
_passing through the red sea_, being _under the cloud_, their _eating
manna_ in the wilderness, and _drinking water_ that came _out of the
rock_. All these things are expressly mentioned, by the apostle, as
types, 1 Cor. x. 1, 3, 4. compared with ver. 11. and we may add thereto
_the brazen serpent_, which was plainly a type of Christ, and, as such,
our Saviour applies it to himself, in John iii. 14. But all these were
occasional types, which were ordinances to the church no longer than the
action was continued.

Again, there were other things, which seemed to be standing types, or
ordinances, in all successive ages, till Christ the Antitype came, as
circumcision, the passover, sacrifices, and other rites of worship, used
in the temple service; these things being expressly mentioned, in
scripture, as types, we have ground to determine them to be so. Thus
concerning the covenant of grace, as revealed to the church of old.

2. We are now to consider, that the method which God took in the
administration of the covenant of grace, under the Old Testament, was
sufficient to build up his elect in the faith of the promised Messiah.
There were, indeed, many types given to the church, but these would not
have led them into the knowledge of Christ, and salvation to be obtained
by him, unless God had taken some method to explain them; for they had
not a natural tendency to signify Christ, and the blessings of the
covenant of grace, as words have, according to the common sense thereof,
to make known the ideas they convey: but their signification was, for
the most part, if not altogether, instituted, or annexed to them, by the
divine appointment, and many of them had not the least resemblance, in
themselves, of what they were ordained to signify; therefore it was
necessary that they should be explained. For we may say the same thing
of a type, that is said of a parable, as they are both figurative
representations of some less known ideas, that are designed to be
conveyed thereby; now a parable is styled, by the Psalmist, _A dark
saying_, Psal. lxxviii. 2. and, by the prophet Ezekiel, _A riddle_,
Ezek. xvii. 2. and our Saviour, speaking thereof, in this sense, tells
his disciples, that _unto them it was given to know the mysteries of the
kingdom of God, but to others in parables_, Luke viii. 10. and they are
elsewhere opposed to a plain way of speaking, as when the disciples say,
_Now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb, or parable_, John
xvi. 29. as it is rendered in the margin; so when Nathan reproved David
for his sin, in the matter of Uriah, he first represented it by a
parable, taken from _the rich man’s_ robbing _the poor man_ of his
_ewe-lamb_, which, before he explained the meaning of it, was not
understood by him, 2 Sam. xii. 1-6. But when he told him, _Thou art the
man_ intended hereby, it was as evident to him, as though he had made
use of the most significant words relating to this matter. The same may
be said concerning types under the Old Testament dispensation; they
would have been unintelligible, had there been no explication annexed to
them, whereby the spiritual meaning thereof might be understood. And, if
we consider them as a part of religious worship, we cannot suppose that
that consisted only in some bodily exercises, such as killing of beasts,
sprinkling the blood, &c. for that is no part of religion, any otherwise
than as it refers to, and leads the faith of those, who are engaged
therein, into the knowledge of some things, in which it is more
immediately concerned.

But this argument having been insisted on elsewhere,[109] and the
necessity of God’s leading his church into the meaning of the ceremonial
law, having been considered and proved, from the divine goodness, and a
brief account having been given of the method which God took to lead
them into it, which tends to obviate any objection that might be made
against it we shall only observe, at present, that as there is a very
clear explication given hereof, in several places in the New Testament,
so there are some expressions used in the Old, which seem to refer to
the spiritual meaning thereof; and, if it be allowed that the church had
then the least intimation given them, either by some hints, contained in
scripture, or by some other methods of revealing it, that there was a
spiritual meaning affixed thereunto, which it is plain there was, then
it will follow, that they might easily, from this direction, have
applied this to particular instances, and have attained a very great
degree of the knowledge of the spiritual meaning of these types and
ordinances.

That this may farther appear, let it be considered, that they were led
into several doctrines relating to the Messiah, and the offices that he
was to execute as Mediator, by express words, and they must be given up
to a very great degree of judicial blindness, as the Jews are at this
day, if they could not understand thereby many of those great truths,
which relate to the way of salvation by Christ. Now, if they were led
into them, by this more plain method, they might easily accommodate the
typical ordinances thereunto, and accordingly the one would be a key to
the other: thus, when they were told of the Messiah’s _bearing the
iniquity_ of his people, as the prophet Isaiah does, or of _the Lord’s
laying on him the iniquity of us all_, Isa. liii. 4, 6. they might
easily understand that the same thing was signified by some rites used
in sacrificing, as when the priest was to lay his hand on the head of
the sacrifice, before he slew it, and its being, upon this occasion,
said _to bear the iniquity of the congregation_, Lev. iv. 4. compared
with chap. xvi. 21, 22. therefore they could not be at a loss, as to the
spiritual meaning thereof. And, when we read elsewhere such expressions,
as plainly refer to the thing signified, by some ceremonial ordinances,
_viz._ _The circumcision of the heart_, Deut. xxx. 6. _The calves of the
lips_, Hos. xiv. 2. _The sacrifice of thanksgiving_, Psal. cxvi. 17. and
many other passages of the like nature, it cannot reasonably be supposed
that they were wholly strangers to it; and therefore these types and
ordinances were, in an objective way, sufficient to build them up in the
faith of the Messiah.

This being considered, it may very evidently be inferred, from hence,
that they had full remission of sins, and eternal life, as it is farther
observed; and therefore it is not necessary to suppose, with some of the
Pelagians and Socinians, that they might be saved without the knowledge
of Christ; nor, with the Papists, that they were incapable of salvation,
till Christ came and preached to them after his death, and so discharged
them from the prison, in which they were detained; nor with some among
the Protestants, who extend the bondage of the Old Testament-church so
far, as though they were not fully justified, but lay under a perpetual
dread of the wrath of God. This we often meet with in the writings of
many, who, in other respects, explain the doctrine of the covenant of
grace in a very unexceptionable way. And here I cannot but observe, what
is well known, by those who live in the United Netherlands, that this
matter has been debated with so much warmth in those parts, that it has
occasioned divisions and misunderstandings among divines, who, in other
respects, have adhered to, and well defended the doctrines of the
gospel, against those who have opposed them. The judicious and learned
Cocceius, whom I cannot but mention with the greatest respect, who lived
about the middle of the last century, has been, and is now, followed by
many divines, in those particular modes of explaining this doctrine,
which he makes use of: his sentiments, indeed, about this matter, were
not wholly new; but having written commentaries on several parts of
scripture, he takes occasion to explain great numbers of texts,
agreeably to that particular scheme, which he maintains; and while, on
the one hand, he runs great lengths, in explaining what he reckons to be
scripture-types and predictions, and thereby gives great scope to his
imagination on the other hand, he extends the terror, bondage, and
darkness, which the church was under, during the legal dispensation,
farther than can well be justified, and advances several things in
defending and explaining his scheme, which many divines, who do not give
into his way of thinking, have excepted against.

Instead of making but two dispensations of the covenant of grace,
according to the commonly received opinion, he supposes that there were
three;[110] namely, the first from God’s giving the promise to our first
parents, immediately after they fell, relating to the seed of the woman,
that should break the serpent’s head, to his delivering the law from
mount Sinai; which dispensation had nothing of terror, or bondage, in
it, any more than the dispensation which we are under; and he supposes,
that the church had clearer discoveries of Christ, and the blessings of
the covenant, than they had after Moses’s time. The second dispensation
was, that which took place when God gave Israel the law from mount
Sinai, which he generally describes as a yoke, which they could hardly
bear; and sometimes as a curse, a rigorous dispensation, in which there
was a daily remembrance of sin: and the reason of God’s exercising this
severity, and shutting them up in a judicial way, under terror,
darkness, and bondage, was, because they revolted from him, by
worshipping the golden calf, a little before the law was given; upon
which occasion, God put a vail upon his ordinances, covered the
mysteries of the gospel by types, and, at the same time, did not lead
them into the meaning thereof, which as was before observed, would have
a tendency to leave them in a state of darkness, as to the great
doctrines that were signified by these types and ordinances of the
ceremonial law. And this he supposes to be the meaning of what the
apostle says, concerning the double vail; one put on the things
themselves, the other, on the hearts of the Jews; and both these were
typified by the vail, which Moses _put over his face_, 2 Cor. iii.
13-15, and this darkness was attended with distress and terror of
conscience, whereby they were, as the apostle says elsewhere, _All their
life-time subject to bondage_, Heb. ii. 15. which they explain,
concerning the church of the Jews, under the legal dispensation. And
they add, that all this continued as long as that dispensation lasted,
or till it was succeeded by the third, _viz._ the gospel-dispensation,
which we are under, whereby the church was delivered from this yoke,
which neither _they, nor their fathers, were able to bear_. But that
which I would take occasion to except against, in this scheme, is,

1. They seem to make the terror, bondage, and darkness, which the church
was under, greater than they ought to do; for, I humbly conceive, all
those scriptures, which they refer to for the proof hereof, are to be
taken, not in an absolute, but a comparative sense. It is one thing to
say, that this dispensation was less bright and comfortable, than the
present dispensation, which we are under, is; and another thing to say,
that it was so dark and comfortless, as they generally represent it to
be.

2. I cannot but think, as I have before observed, that the church of
Israel had a clearer discerning of the meaning of the ordinances of the
ceremonial law, than these divines would allow them to have had; or, at
least, that the vail, that was upon their hearts, principally respected
a part of them, and that in some particular ages, not in every age of
the Jewish church; for some of the Old Testament-saints seem to have
discovered a great degree of light in the doctrines of the gospel, as
appears more especially from several of the Psalms of David, and some of
the writings of the prophets.

3. Whatever degree of judicial blindness and darkness the church of the
Jews might be exposed to for sin, it does not so fully appear that this
was inflicted as a punishment on them, for worshipping the golden calf
at the foot of the mount Sinai: but there were several instances of
idolatry and apostacy from God, that gave occasion thereunto, which,
when they repented of, and were reformed from, the effects of his wrath
were taken away; therefore we are not to suppose, that the ceremonial
law was given, at first, as a yoke, or curse, laid on them for this sin
in particular.

4. We are not to extend the bondage and darkness thereof so far, with
respect to any of them, as to suppose, that, under that dispensation,
they had not full remission of sin; for the contrary hereto seems to be
contained in several scriptures; as when it is said, _Blessed is he
whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered, blessed is the
man to whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity_, Psal. xxxii. 1, 2. and,
_There is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared_, Psal.
cxxx. 4. and elsewhere, _Thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive, and
plenteous in mercy, to all that call upon thee; and thou hast forgiven
the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin_, Psal.
lxxxvi. 5. and lxxxv. 2. and elsewhere, _Who is a God like unto thee,
that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant
of his heritage? He retaineth not his anger for ever, because he
delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon
us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins
into the depths of the sea_, Micah. vii. 18, 19.

These, and such-like scriptures, seem so plainly to overthrow this part
of their scheme, that they are obliged, in defence thereof, to
understand them all, as containing nothing else, but a prediction of
that blessedness, which the New Testament-church should receive, and not
as a privilege that was enjoyed under the legal dispensation, which I
cannot but think to be an evasive perversion of the sense of those
scriptures, but now referred to, and others of the like nature; for it
is plain that the apostle, referring to one of them, to wit, the words
of the Psalmist, in Rom. iv. 6. compared with ver. 9. says, that therein
_David describes the blessedness that cometh not on the circumcision
only_, that is, not only on the Jews, _but on the uncircumcision also_,
that is, the gospel-church; which is a plain argument, that this
blessedness, that accompanies forgiveness, was a privilege, that the Old
Testament-church enjoyed, and not barely a promise of what the New
Testament-church was to expect: _q. d._ was the Old Testament-church the
only blessed persons in enjoying forgiveness? No, says he, as they
formerly enjoyed it, we who believe, are partakers of the same
privilege.

And to this we may add, that, in consistency with this scheme, they
entertain some unwarrantable notions about the justification of the Old
Testament church. Some say, that it was less full; others, which is a
more unguarded way of speaking, that it was less true;[111] and,
agreeably hereunto, they suppose, that they had no other ideas of the
doctrine of justification, but as implying in it the divine forbearance,
or not punishing sin; though they had a perpetual dread that it would be
punished at last, and no comfortable sense of the forgiveness
thereof.[112] But this is certainly an extending the terror and bondage
of that dispensation farther than we have just ground, from scripture,
to do, whatever turns they give to several scriptures in defence
thereof; and therefore we must conclude, as it is observed in this
answer, that the Old Testament-church had full remission of sins, as
well as eternal salvation.

II. We are now to consider the covenant of grace, as administered under
the New Testament, which is the dispensation thereof, that we are under
and is to continue to the end of the world, which by way of eminency, we
call the gospel-dispensation; concerning which it is observed,

1. That it began when Christ, the Substance, was exhibited. He is called
the Substance thereof, without any particular limitation of the word;
and therefore we may understand thereby, either that he was the
Substance of the ceremonial law, as all the promises and types thereof
had a peculiar reference to him; and, as the apostle says, _To him give
all the prophets witness_, Acts x. 43. or else he may be considered as
the Substance of the New Testament-dispensation, the subject-matter of
the ministry of the gospel. Thus the apostle speaks of _Christ
crucified_, as the principal thing which _he determined to know_, or
insist on, in the exercise of his ministry, and that with good reason,
since all gospel-doctrines were designed to lead us to him, and set
forth his glory, as the Fountain and Author of our salvation, 1 Cor. i.
23. chap. ii. 2. And both the seals of the new covenant, namely,
Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper, signify that salvation which we enjoy,
or hope for, by Christ, our consecration to him, and communion with him:
thus he is truly styled the substance of both the dispensations of the
covenant; the former looked forward, and pointed out Christ to come, as
the object of the church’s desire and expectation; the latter represents
him as being come, and so the object of our joy and thankfulness, for
the blessings which he has procured for us.

And this leads us to consider when it was that the New
Testament-dispensation commenced, which is here said to be upon Christ’s
being exhibited. Christ’s exhibition implies in it, either his public
appearing when he was made flesh, and dwelt amongst us, or else it has a
particular respect to the time when he first entered on his public
ministry and went about doing good, confirming his mission by
uncontested miracles: this he did immediately after his baptism, whereby
he appeared to be the Person, whose coming the prophets had foretold,
and whom John the Baptist had pointed at, and given the world ground to
expect that he would immediately shew himself, in a public manner to
them which he did accordingly. This appearing of Christ, was like the
sun’s rising after a night of darkness, and therefore, in some respects,
the gospel-dispensation might be said to begin then; nevertheless, in
propriety of speaking, it could not be said fully to commence till
Christ’s resurrection: then it was that the ceremonial law ceased, all
the types and ordinances thereof having had their accomplishment in him.
Thus the prophet Daniel speaks first of Christ’s _being cut off_, and
thereby _confirming the covenant_, and then of the _sacrifice and
oblation’s ceasing_, Dan. ix. 26, 27. and, when that dispensation was at
an end, the gospel dispensation immediately succeeded it. We are now to
consider,

2. How these two dispensations differ. They were, indeed, the same for
substance, both before and since the coming of Christ, as was before
observed, when we considered that the covenant of grace, notwithstanding
the different dispensations thereof, is but one. And this farther
appears, in that the blessings promised therein were the same, to wit,
redemption through the blood of Christ, and compleat salvation by him.
He was the Mediator and Fountain of all that happiness which his people
enjoyed, either before or after his incarnation; nevertheless, the way
of administering this covenant, under the gospel dispensation, differs
from its former way;

(1.) In that it was, before this, predicted and signified, that Christ
should come, and therefore the Old Testament-church waited for his
appearing; and accordingly they are represented as saying, _Until the
day break, and the shadows flee away; turn, my beloved, and be thou like
a roe, or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether_, Cant. ii. 17. But
the New Testament-church adores and magnifies him, as having appeared
_to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself_, and fully accomplish the
work of our redemption thereby; and, in the preaching of the gospel, he
is represented as _having abolished death, and brought life and
immortality to light_, and done every thing for us that is necessary to
bring about our redemption. And this is also signified by the sacraments
of the New Testament, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper, which, though they
may be justly called gospel-types, or external signs of Christ, and the
blessings of the covenant of grace; yet they differ from the types under
the ceremonial law, not only in the matter of them, but in that they
refer to the work of redemption, as fully accomplished by him, which the
ceremonial law could not from the nature of the thing, be said to have
done.

(2.) The gospel-dispensation differs from the legal, and very much
excels it, as grace and salvation is therein held forth in more fulness,
evidence, and efficacy, to all nations. This is founded on what the
apostle says, 2 Cor. iii. 7-11. when comparing the two dispensations
together, he calls one _the ministration of death_, or _condemnation_,
and describes it, as that which is now _done away_, which while it
continued, was _glorious_; the other he calls, _the ministration of the
Spirit_, or _of righteousness_, and speaks of it, as _excelling in
glory_. Whether the former is styled, _The ministration of death_,
because of the terrible manner in which the law was given from mount
Sinai, upon which occasion the people said to Moses _Let not God speak
with us_, in such a way, _any more, lest we die_; or whether it respects
the many curses and threatenings, denounced in that dispensation, to
deter the people from sin, we will not determine: but it is certain,
that the apostle speaks of the gospel-dispensation, as excelling in
glory, which is the principal thing we are now to consider, and this it
might be said to do.

_1st_, As grace and salvation are therein held forth with greater
clearness, or evidence. This we may truly say without supposing the
legal dispensation to be so dark, as that none of the church, in any age
thereof, could see Christ, and the way of salvation by him, to be
signified by any of its types or ordinances. We may observe, that when
the apostle speaks of this dispensation, he does not say absolutely that
it had no glory, but that _it had no glory in this respect by reason
of_, or compared with, _the glory that excelleth_. Now the
gospel-dispensation excels the legal, as to its clearness, or fulness of
evidence, in that the accomplishment of the predictions, or the making
good of the promises of redemption and salvation by Christ, affords
greater evidence of the truth and reality of these blessings, than the
bare giving the promises could be said to do; for though one gave them
the expectation, the other put them into the actual possession thereof,
when Christ the Substance, was, as was before observed, exhibited, and
the ceremonial law had its accomplishment in him.

_2dly_, Under the gospel-dispensation, grace and salvation revealed
therein, are attended with greater efficacy; for as the greatest part of
the Old Testament-church were not so much disposed, as they ought,
especially in some ages thereof, to enquire into, or endeavour to attain
a clearer discerning of the spiritual meaning of the ceremonial
institutions, through the blindness of their minds, and the hardness of
their hearts, so the effect and consequence hereof, was answerable
thereunto, inasmuch as there was but a small remnant of them, who
obtained mercy to be faithful, who rejoiced to see Christ’s day, and
embraced the promises which they beheld afar off; whereas, in the
gospel-dispensation, _the word of the Lord had free course, and was_
more eminently _glorified_ in those places where it was made known: but
this will farther appear, if we consider,

_3dly_, That it excelled in glory, in regard of the extent thereof;
for it was under this dispensation that that promise was to have its
accomplishment, that Christ should be _a light to the Gentiles_, and
God’s _salvation unto the end of the earth_, Isa. xlix. 6. or that God
would _destroy the face of the covering cast over all people, and the
vail that was spread over all nations_, chap. xxv. 7. It was then that
a commission was given _to preach the Gospel to every creature_, Mark
xvi. 15. or that Christ should be _preached unto the Gentiles_ and
_believed on in the world_, 1 Tim. iii. 16. In this respect, the
gospel-dispensation certainly excelleth in glory, and it is owing
hereunto that we enjoy, at present, this invaluable privilege. But if
this present dispensation be only reckoned the dawn and twilight, or
the beginning of that glory that shall be revealed at Christ’s second
coming, as grace is sometimes styled glory begun; or if the apostle’s
description of it, when he says, that _we are come unto the heavenly
Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general
assembly and church of the first-born, and to the spirits of just men
made perfect_, Heb. xii. 22, 23. contains an intimation, that the
glory, which still remains to be revealed, is nothing else but the
perfection of this present dispensation, that we may conclude that it
far excelleth all others in glory.

From what has been said, in comparing the former, and present
dispensation of the covenant of grace, we may infer:

[1.] The care of God extended to his church, in all the ages thereof; so
that he never left them without the means of grace, which, how various
soever they have been as to the matter of them, have yet tended to
answer the same end, namely, leading the church into the knowledge of
Christ.

[2.] We may farther infer the necessity of external and visible worship,
which the church was never wholly destitute of, for then it would have
ceased to have been a church; and also the necessity of divine
revelation, as to what respects the way of salvation by Christ; and
therefore we must not conclude, that the church was, at any time,
without some beams of gospel-light shining into it, or that they were
left, as the Heathen are, _to seek the Lord, if haply they might feel
after him_, as the apostle speaks, Acts xvii. 27. or that, before the
gospel-dispensation commenced, salvation was to be obtained, by adhering
to the light and dictates of nature, which discovers nothing of the way
of salvation by Jesus Christ, or of that remission of sin, which is only
to be obtained through him.

[3.] Christ’s having been revealed to, and consequently known by the Old
Testament church, as the promised Messiah, may give some light to our
understanding what we often read in the New Testament concerning persons
believing in him, upon his working of miracles, or using some other
methods to convince them that he was the Messiah, when, at the same
time, we do not read of any particular discovery made to them relating
to the glory of his Person, and offices, and the design of his coming
into the world, which was necessary to their believing him, in a saving
way, to be the Messiah. Thus when he converted the woman of Samaria, by
revealing himself to be _that Prophet_, whom the church expected, when
he told her some of the secret actions of her life, she immediately
believed in him, John iv. 18, 19, 29. and many of her fellow-citizens
believed on him, upon the report that she gave them hereof, ver. 39.
and, when he opened the eyes of the man that was born blind, he only
asked him this question, _Dost thou believe on the Son of God?_ and then
discovers that he was the Person; and it immediately follows, that _he
believed and worshipped him_, John ix. 35, 37, 38. And there were many
other instances of the like nature in the New Testament, in which
persons believed in Christ, before he gave them a particular account of
his design in coming into the world, barely upon his working miracles,
which gave them a conviction that he was the Messiah; whereas faith
supposes not only a conviction that Christ is the Messiah, but a
knowledge of his Person, and the offices he was to execute as such. This
may very easily be accounted for, by supposing that the Jews had been
before instructed in this matter, and therefore they wanted no new
discoveries hereof; accordingly they believed in him, and worshipped
him, as being induced hereunto, by those intimations that were given to
them, under the Old-Testament dispensation, that the Messiah, whenever
he appeared, would be the Object of faith and worship.

[4.] Since the gospel is more clearly preached under this present
dispensation, than it was before; this tends to aggravate the sin of
those who despise Christ, as revealed therein, as our Saviour says,
_This is the condemnation that light is come into the world, and men
loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil_, chap.
iii. 19. Before our Saviour’s incarnation, the Old Testament-church
might be said to reject the covenant of promise, or not regard the
gospel contained therein; but, under the New Testament-dispensation,
sinners reject the covenant of grace, as confirmed, ratified, and
sealed, by the blood of Christ; and, as the apostle says, _Count the
blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and_
therefore _are thought worthy of much sorer punishment_, Heb. x. 29.

Footnote 103:

  _See Quest._ xcii.

Footnote 104:

  _Vid. Spencer. de leg. Hebr. and ejusd. Dissert. de Urim & Thummim; &
  Marshami Can. Chron._

Footnote 105:

  _Vid. Witsii Egyptiaca._

Footnote 106:

  _Præcepta observantiæ._

Footnote 107:

  αντιτυπος.

Footnote 108:

  _See Psal._ lxii. _the title, compared with the subject-matter of the
  Psalm, which speaks of Christ in the person of Solomon._

Footnote 109:

  _See Vol. I. pages 53-56._

Footnote 110:

  _The first, he and his followers call_, Oeconomia promissionis, _or_,
  ante-legalis; _the second_, Oeconomia legalis; _the third_, Oeconomia
  evangelica.

Footnote 111:

  Minus plena, _or_ minus vera.

Footnote 112:

  _For the proof of this, they often refer to that scripture in_ Rom.
  iii. 25. _in which it is said_, Whom God hath set forth to be a
  propitiation, to declare his righteousness, for the remission of sins
  that are past, through, _or after_, the forbearance, of God, _which
  they suppose to contain an intimation of the privilege which the
  gospel-church enjoyed, namely, remission of sins; whereas, under the
  legal dispensation, there was nothing else apprehended by them, but
  the forbearance of God: so that the Old Testament-church had_ παρεσιν
  αμαρτιων; _the New Testament church_, αφεσιν; _and they all suppose,
  that they looked upon Christ as_ Fide-jussor, _and not_ Expromissor,
  _which are terms used in the civil law; the former of which signifies
  a person’s undertaking to be a surety, and, at the same time, leaving
  the creditor at his liberty to exact the debt, either of him, or the
  debtor himself; whereas_, Expromissor, _signifies, a person’s
  undertaking to be a surety, in so full and large a sense, as that, by
  virtue hereof, the debtor is discharged. Therefore, since they did
  not, so clearly, know that God would discharge them, by virtue of
  Christ’s undertaking to be a Surety, but concluded that he might exact
  the debt, either of him, or them; this was the foundation of that
  terror and bondage, which they were perpetually subject to._



                         Quest. XXXVI., XXXVII.


    QUEST. XXXVI. _Who is the Mediator of the Covenant of Grace?_

    ANSW. The only mediator of the covenant of grace is the Lord Jesus
    Christ, who being the eternal Son of God, of one substance and equal
    with the Father, in the fulness of time became man, and so was and
    continues to be God and Man, in two entire distinct natures, and one
    Person for ever.

    QUEST. XXXVII. _How did Christ, being God, become Man?_

    ANSW. Christ, the Son of God, became Man by taking to himself a true
    body, and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the
    Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, of her substance, and
    born of her, yet without sin.

Next to the covenant of grace, and its various administrations, we have,
in some following answers, an account of the Mediator thereof, who is
set forth in the glory of his Person; the offices that he executes, and
the estate in which he either was, or is, together with those accessions
of glory, with which he shall perform the last part of his work in the
close of time. The first thing to be considered, is the constitution of
his Person, as God-man, Mediator; and here,

I. He is set forth as the only Mediator of the covenant of grace. How we
are to understand his being Mediator, has been already considered[113],
and it was observed, that he did not make peace, by intreating, that God
would remit the debt, without giving that satisfaction, which was
necessary to be made, for the securing the glory of the divine justice.
Herein we militate against the Socinians, who suppose him to be styled a
Mediator, only because he made known unto the world those new laws
contained in the gospel, which we are obliged to obey, as a condition of
God’s being reconciled to us; and giving us a pattern of obedience in
his conversation; and, in the close thereof, confirming his doctrine by
his death; and then interceding with God, that, on these terms, he would
accept of us, without any regard to the glory of his justice, which he
is no farther concerned about, than by prevailing that it would desist
from the demands which it might have made, and so pardon sin without
satisfaction; But this is directly contrary to the whole tenor of
scripture, which represents him as _giving his life a ransom for many_,
Matt. xx. 28. upon which account it is said he _made peace through the
blood of his cross_, Col. i. 20. and that _God brought him again from
the dead through the blood of the everlasting covenant_, as the _God of
peace_, Heb. xiii. 20. and, at the same time, appeared to be a God of
infinite holiness and justice, and Christ a Mediator of satisfaction:
But this will be farther considered, when we speak concerning his
Priestly office[114].

That which we shall, at present, observe is, that he is styled the
_only_ Mediator: Thus it is said, _There is one Mediator between God and
men, The man Christ Jesus_, 1 Tim. ii. 5. In this we oppose the Papists,
who greatly derogate from the glory of Christ by pretending that the
angels, and glorified saints, are mediators of intercession, and that
they not only offer up supplications to God in the behalf of men here on
earth, but with them they present their own merits, as though Christ’s
redemption and intercession had not been sufficient without them; and
accordingly a great part of their worship consists in desiring that
these good offices may be performed by them, on their behalf, which I
cannot but conclude to be a breach of the _first_, or, at least, let
them put never so fair colours upon it, of the _second commandment_;
which will be farther considered in its proper place.

The scriptures they bring, in defence of this practice, are nothing to
their purpose. For whenever an angel is said to intercede for men, as it
is expressed, _The angel of the Lord answered and said, O Lord of hosts,
how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem, and on the cities of
Judah?_ Zech. i. 12. or to be the object of their prayers, or
supplications, as Jacob says, _The Angel which redeemed me from all
evil, bless the lads_, Gen. xlviii. 16. no other person is intended
hereby but Christ _the angel of the covenant_. Another scripture, which
they bring to the same purpose, is that, in which Moses says, _Remember
Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants_, Exod. xxxii. 13. which they
miserably pervert; for Moses does not desire that God would hear the
prayers that these saints made to him in the behalf of his church; but
that he would remember the covenant that he made with them, and so
accomplish the promises thereof, by bestowing the blessings that his
people then stood in need of.

And there are two other scriptures that are often cited by the Papists,
to this purpose, which, they think, can hardly be taken in any other
sense; one is in Rev. v. 8. where it is said, that _the four beasts, and
four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of
them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of
saints_; and the other is in chap. viii. 3. _And another angel came and
stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him
much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints,
upon the golden altar, which was before the throne_. It must be allowed,
that there are many passages, in this book, which are hard to be
understood; but there are none contrary to the analogy of faith, or
derogatory to the glory of Christ, as the sense they give of these
scriptures is; and therefore we must enquire, whether they may not be
understood otherwise by us? It is said, indeed, _the four beasts, and
four and twenty elders, had golden vials full of odours, which are the
prayers of saints_; but it is not fully determined whether, by these
_beasts and elders_, are intended the inhabitants of heaven, or men on
earth. If it is only an emblematical representation of those prayers
that are directed to God from the church in this world, it is nothing to
their purpose. But we will suppose that, by _these beasts and elders_,
here spoken of, who _fell down before the Lamb_, are meant the
inhabitants of heaven: nevertheless, we are not to understand, that they
are represented as praying for the saints here on earth; for _the golden
vials full of odours_, are only an emblem of the prayers that are put up
by the saints here on earth, which God accepts of, or smells a sweet
savour in, as perfumed with odours of Christ’s righteousness. This may
be illustrated by those political emblems, that are used in public
solemnities; such as the coronation of kings, in which the regalia are
carried by the prime ministers of state, not to signify that they have
any branch of kingly dignity belonging to them: but the whole ceremony
is expressive of his honours and prerogatives, who is the principal
subject thereof; so when the heavenly inhabitants are represented, in
this vision, in such a way, as they are here described, it only
signifies, that the prayers, which are put up by God’s people here on
earth, through the mediation of Christ, are graciously heard and
answered by him.

As for the other scripture, in which it is said, _Another angel stood at
the altar, and there was given him much incense, that he should offer
it, with the prayers of all saints_, that is generally understood, by
those who do not give into this absurd opinion of the Papists, as spoken
of our Saviour, and then it makes nothing to their purpose, but rather
militates against it. But if it be objected, to this sense of the text,
that our Saviour cannot properly be called _another angel_, and
therefore it must be meant of one of the created angels; the sense but
now given of the foregoing scripture may be accommodated to it, and so
the meaning is, this angel, or one of the angels, _stood at the altar
before the Lamb_, and, in an emblematical way, is set forth, as having
incense put into his hand, which he presents to him; not as offering it
up for himself, but as signifying that it was for the sake of Christ’s
merits, that the prayers of his people, here on earth, ascended with
acceptance in the sight of God. And it is as though he should say to
Christ, “The incense is thine, thou hast a right to the glory thereof;
and therefore let all know, that this is the only foundation of the
church’s hope, that their wants shall be supplied by thee.” So that this
does not give the least countenance to the Popish doctrine, of there
being other mediators between God and man besides our Lord Jesus Christ.

Some of the Papists, indeed, are sensible that this opinion tends to
detract from the glory of our great Mediator, and therefore they chuse
rather to assert, that the saints and angels are mediators between
Christ and men, so that we are through their means, to have access to
him, and by him, to the Father: but, since Christ not only condescended
to take our nature upon him, and therein to procure redemption for us;
but invited his people to _come to him_; and since it is said, _through
him we have an access unto the Father_, Eph. ii. 18. and no mention is
made of any, by whom we have access to Christ; and our access to God is
founded only in his blood, we have nothing else to do, but, by faith, in
what he has done and suffered to draw nigh to God, as to a Father,
reconciled to this great and only Mediator.

II. This Mediator is described, as to his Person, as God incarnate, or,
as it is expressed, the eternal Son of God, of one substance, and equal
with the Father, who became Man, and that, in the most proper sense, by
assuming to himself a true body, and a reasonable soul, which are the
two constituent parts of man. Here we are to consider,

1. The Person assuming the human nature. He is styled the eternal Son of
God, of one substance with the Father, and, with respect to his
personality, equal with him.[115] This is the same mode of speaking that
was used by the _Nicene fathers_, in defence of our Saviour’s divinity
against the Arians, which we have largely insisted on, in our defence of
the _doctrine of the ever-blessed Trinity_,[116] and having also
explained what we mean by Christ’s Sonship, as referring to his Person
and character, as Mediator,[117] we shall add no more on that subject at
present, but take it for granted, that our Saviour is, in the most
proper sense, a divine Person, and shall consider him as assuming the
human nature; accordingly we may observe,

(1.) That it was the second Person in the Godhead who was incarnate, and
not the Father, nor the Holy Ghost. This we affirm against the
Sabellians, who deny the distinct Personality of the Father, Son, and
Spirit; and assert that the Father, or the Holy Ghost, might as truly be
said to have been incarnate, as the Son, since their Personality,
according to them, is not so distinct, as that what is done by one
divine Person, might not be said to have been done by another.[118]

(2.) It follows, from hence, that the divine nature, which belongs in
common to the Father, Son, and Spirit, cannot be properly said to have
been incarnate. It is true, we read, that _God was manifest in the
flesh_, 1 Tim. iii. 16. and elsewhere, that in him, namely, in the human
nature, _dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead_, Col. ii. 9. from
whence some take occasion to conclude, that the human nature was united
to the Godhead, or that the Godhead of Christ was said to be incarnate:
but if this be asserted, it must be with caution and a distinction. I
cannot therefore suppose, that the Godhead absolutely considered, but as
including in it the idea of its subsisting in the Person of the Son, was
incarnate; which is very well expressed, when we say that the human
nature was united to the second Person in the Godhead, rather than to
the Godhead itself.

(3.) Christ being farther considered, as the eternal Son of God; it
follows from hence, that he existed before his incarnation, which has
been largely insisted on, under a foregoing answer, in defence of
Christ’s proper deity. In this we oppose not only the Socinians, who
deny that he existed before he was conceived in the womb of the blessed
Virgin; but also the Arians, especially those of them who take occasion
to explain, without disguise, or ambiguity of words, what they mean when
they speak of him, as being before time, which comes infinitely short of
what is intended by his being styled God’s eternal Son, and so existing
with him before time. Thus we have an account of the Person assuming the
human nature.

2. We are now to consider the nature assumed, or united to the divine
Person, which was an human nature, consisting of a true body, and a
reasonable soul; so that as Christ is, in one nature, God equal with the
Father, in the other he is Man, made, in all the essential properties of
the human nature, like unto us. Here we may consider,

(1.) That, since this is a matter of pure revelation, we have sufficient
ground, from scripture, to assert, that our Saviour is both God and Man.
Many of the scriptures, that have been before referred to, to prove his
deity, expressly attribute to him an human, as well as a divine nature,
and speak of the same Person as both God and Man; as when God styles
him, _The Man that is my Fellow_, Zech. xiii. 7. or, when he, who is
_Jehovah, our righteousness_, is also described as _a branch raised unto
David_, Jer. xxiii. 5, 6. that is, of the seed of David; or, as the
apostle says, he, _who is over all, God blessed for ever, was of the
fathers concerning the flesh_, or his human nature, Rom. ix. 15.
Moreover, when we read of the same Person, as styled, _The mighty God_,
and yet _a Child born unto us, a Son given_, Isa. ix. 6. or of the same
Person’s being called _Emmanuel, God with us_, and yet _born of a
Virgin_, Isa. vii. 14. compared with Matt. i. 23. or, when we read of
the _Word’s being made flesh, and dwelling among us_: and elsewhere,
being called _the Son of God, Jesus Christ our Lord_, and yet _made of
the seed of David, according to the flesh_, Rom. i. 3. or, _God manifest
in the flesh_, 1 Tim. iii. 16. These, and many other scriptures, as
plainly prove him to be man, as they do that he is God.[119] And,
indeed, the arguments to prove his humanity, taken from thence, are not
so much contested, as those that respect his proper deity; and
therefore, if these scriptures prove him to be God, they contain as
strong and conclusive arguments to prove him to be Man, so that the bare
mention of them is sufficient, especially when we consider, as it cannot
be denied, that all these scriptures speak of the same Person;
therefore,

(2.) When Christ is said to be both God and Man, it does not imply that
there are two Persons in the Mediator; and accordingly it is said, in
the answer we are explaining, that though these natures are distinct,
yet the Person who has them, is but one. This is to be maintained
against those who entertain favourable thoughts of that ancient heresy,
first broached by Nestorius,[120] whose method of reasoning cannot be
reconciled with the sense of those scriptures, which plainly speak of
the same Person, as both God and Man, and attribute the same actions to
him in different respects, which is inconsistent with asserting, that
the Mediator is both a divine and a human Person; and it cannot be
denied but that it is a contradiction in terms, to say, that two Persons
can be so united, as to become one. However, it must be acknowledged,
that this is one of the incomprehensible mysteries of our religion; and
when divines have attempted to explain some things relating to it, they
have only given farther conviction, that there are some doctrines
contained in scripture, which we are bound to believe, but are at a loss
to determine how they are what they are asserted to be.

If it be objected, that we cannot conceive of an human nature, such an
one as our Saviour’s is that has not its own Personality, since there is
no parallel instance hereof, in any other men, which I take to be the
principal thing that gave occasion to the asserting, that he had a human
Person, as well as a divine;

The answer that I would give to this objection, is, that though, it is
true, every man has a distinct subsistence of his own, without being
united to any other person, yet we have no ground to conclude, that the
human nature of Christ, even in its first formation, had any subsistence
separate from the divine nature. Had it been first formed, and then
united to the divine nature, it would have had a proper subsistence of
its own; but, since it was not, its Personality, considered as united to
the second Person in the Godhead, is contained therein, though its
properties are infinitely distinct from it.

3. These two natures are distinct; united but not confounded. This is
asserted, in opposition to an old exploded heresy, which was maintained
by some, who, to avoid the error of Nestorius, and his followers, went
into the other extreme,[121] and asserted, that the divine and human
nature of Christ were confounded, or blended together, after the
similitude of things that are mixed together in a natural or artificial
way, whereby the composition is of a different nature from the parts of
which it is compounded, by which means they debase his Godhead, and
advance his manhood; or rather, instead of supposing him to be both God
and man, they do, in effect, say, he is neither God nor man. The main
foundation, as I apprehend, of this absurd and blasphemous notion, was,
that they could not conceive how he could have a divine and human
understanding and will, without asserting, with Nestorius, that there
were two persons in the Mediator, whereby they split against one rock,
while endeavouring to avoid another. And to fence against both extremes,
the fathers, in the council of Chalcedon, explained the doctrine in
words to this purpose: That the two natures of Christ were indivisibly
and inseparably united, without supposing that one was changed into the
other, or confounded with it.

Therefore we must consider, that though these two natures are united,
yet each of them retains its respective properties, as much as the soul
and body of man do, though united together, which is the best similitude
by which this can be illustrated, though I do not suppose that, in all
respects, it answers it. Thus, in one nature, Christ had all the fulness
of the Godhead, and in nothing common with us; nothing finite, derived,
or dependent, or any other way defective. In his other nature, he was
made in all things like unto us, sin only excepted: in this nature, he
was born in time, and did not exist from all eternity, and increased in
knowledge, and other endowments, proper thereunto. In one nature, he had
a comprehensive knowledge of all things; in the other, he knew nothing
but by communication, or derivation, and with those other limitations
that finite wisdom is subject to. In one nature he had an infinite
sovereign will; in the other, he had such a will as the creature has,
which though it was not opposite to his divine will, yet its conformity
thereunto was of the same kind with that which is in perfect creatures;
so that though we do not say that his human will was the same with his
divine, as to the essential properties thereof; yet it may be said to be
the same, in a moral sense, as conformed thereunto, in like manner, as
the will of man is said to be subjected to the will of God.

Had this been duly considered, persons would not have been so ready to
give into an error so dangerous and blasphemous, as that which we are
opposing. And we have sufficient ground, from scripture, to distinguish
between his divine and human understanding and will, inasmuch as it is
said, in one place, speaking of his divine understanding, _Lord, thou
knowest all things_, John xxi. 17. and of his human, _Of that day and
hour knoweth no man; no, not the Son_, Mark xiii. 32. and so of his
will, it is sometimes represented as truly divine, in the same sense as
the Father’s, as when it is said, _As the Father raiseth up the dead,
and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom he will_, John v.
21. and elsewhere, _If we ask any thing according to his will he heareth
us_, 1 John v. 14. and, _Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast
out_, John vi. 37. And, in other places, he is represented as having an
human will, essentially distinct from the will of God; as when he says,
_Not my will, but thine, be done_, Luke xxii. 42.

4. The nature that was assumed by the Son of God, is farther described,
as truly and properly human. It was not an angelic nature; as the
apostle says, _He took not on him the nature of angels_, inasmuch as he
did not design to redeem the angels that fell, but he _took on him_ the
nature _of the seed of Abraham_, Heb. ii. 16. And, this nature is
farther described, as consisting of a true body, and a reasonable soul.

(1.) Christ is described as having a true body. This is maintained
against those who, in an early age of the church,[122] denied that he
had a real human nature. These, it is true, do not deny his deity; but
they suppose, that it was impossible for God to be united to human
flesh, and therefore that he appeared only in the likeness thereof; as
some heathen writers represent their gods, as appearing in human forms,
that they might converse with men. Thus they suppose, that the Godhead
of Christ appeared in an human form, without a real human nature, in
which sense they understand that scripture, _He took upon him the form
of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men_, Phil. ii. 7. as
though, in that place, the similitude of a man were opposed to real
humanity; or, at least, they suppose, that he had no other human nature
when he dwelt on earth, than what he had, when he appeared to the
church, under the Old Testament-dispensation, _viz._ to Abraham, Moses,
Joshua, and several others, in which they conclude, that there was only
the likeness of a human body, or an aerial one, which, according to some
common modes of speaking, is called a spirit. To give countenance to
this, they bring some other scriptures, as when it is said, after his
resurrection, that _he appeared in another form to two disciples, as
they walked into the country_, Mark xvi. 12. so when he appeared to
Mary, it was in such a form, as that _she knew not that it was Jesus,
but supposed him to be the gardener_, John xx. 14, 15. and especially
when it is said, in another scripture, Luke xxiv. 21. when his two
disciples at Emmaus _knew him, he vanished out of their sight_;[123]
which they understand of his vanishing, in the same sense, as, according
to the popular way of speaking, a spectrum is said to do.

But this opinion is so absurd, as well as contrary to scripture, that it
only shews how far the wild and extravagant fancies of men may run, who
are so hardy, as to set aside plain scriptures, and take up with some
few passages thereof, without considering their scope and design, or
their harmony with other scriptures. And, indeed, there is scarce any
thing said concerning him in the New Testament, but what confutes it;
where we have an account of him, as being born, passing through all the
ages of life, conversing familiarly with his people, eating and drinking
with them, and, at last, dying on the cross, which put this matter out
of all manner of dispute; as also when he distinguishes himself from a
spirit, when the disciples were terrified upon his standing unexpectedly
in the midst of them, supposing that he had been a spirit, he satisfies
them that they were mistaken, by saying, _Behold my hands and my feet,
that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and
bones, as ye see me have_, Luke xxiv. 29.

As for those scriptures in the Old Testament, which speak of his
appearing in a human form, assumed for that purpose; whether there was,
in every one of those instances, a real human body that appeared,
though, in some of them, it is beyond dispute that there was, I will not
pretend to determine; yet it must be considered, that this is never
styled his incarnation, or becoming man, but it was only an emblem, or
prelibation thereof; and when it is said, in the scripture before
mentioned, that he was made in the _likeness of men_, it does not from
hence follow, that he was not, after his incarnation, a real man, for
the _likeness of man_ is oftentimes so understood in scripture; as when
it is said, on occasion of the birth of Seth, that _Adam begat a son in
his own likeness_, Gen. v. 3. And as to that other scripture, in which
Christ is said to appear in different forms, it is not to be supposed
that there was a change in his human nature, but only a change in his
countenance, or external mein; or he appeared with other kind of
garments, which rendered him not immediately known by them. And when, in
the other scripture, it is said, he _vanished out of their sight_,
nothing is intended thereby, but an instantaneous withdrawing of himself
from them, which, it may be might contain something miraculous.

(2.) Christ is farther described, as having taken to himself a
reasonable soul, to which his body was united. This is maintained
against the Arians, who deny that he had an human soul, concluding that
the divine nature, such an one as they will allow him to have, was, as
it were, a soul to his body; which is founded partly on their
misunderstanding the sense of those scriptures, in which it is said,
_The Word was made flesh_, John i. 14. and _God was manifest in the
flesh_, 1 Tim. iii. 16. and, _Forasmuch as the children are partakers of
flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same_, Heb.
ii. 14. and, _Of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came_, &c. Rom.
ix. 5. But the principal argument, by which this opinion is supported,
is, because they suppose, that, if he had an human soul, distinct from
his divine nature, he must have had two understandings and wills, to
wit, a divine and an human, and then it would have been possible for him
to have had contrary ideas in his mind, and determinations in his will,
as man, to what he had as God, which would infer a sort of confusion of
thought, and irregularity of actions: but to this it may be answered,

_1st_, As to the former, relating to his assuming flesh, it is a very
common thing, in scripture, by a _synecdoche_, of the part for the
whole, for _flesh_ to signify the whole man, consisting of soul and
body, of which we have many instances in scripture; as when it is said,
_All flesh had corrupted his way_, Gen. vi. 12. that is, all men had
corrupted their way; and the prophet speaking concerning the vanity of
man, as mortal, says, _All flesh is grass_, Isa. xl. 6.

_2dly_, As to the other branch of their argument; we allow that Christ,
as Man, had a distinct understanding and will, from what he had as God,
and that his human understanding was not equally perfect with his
divine, neither had his human will the sovereignty and glory of his
divine will. And, if it should be also allowed, that if his human
understanding and will had not always been under the influence and
direction of his divine, he might have had contrary ideas, and
determinations, as man, to what he had as God; yet we cannot allow that
the divine nature would so far suspend its direction and influence, as
that his human understanding should have contradictory ideas to his
divine, so that this inconvenience should ensue, which would occasion a
confusion and disorder in his actions, or methods of human conduct. It
was no disparagement to him, nor hindrance to his work, to suppose that
his human soul was subject to some natural imperfections, which were
inconsistent with the infinite perfection of his deity; however, it is
sufficient to assert, that, as Man, he knew every thing, which he was
obliged to perform, in a way of obedience, and consented to, and
delighted in every thing that was agreeable to his divine will, which
would render his obedience compleat; though we suppose, that the nature,
in which he performed it, was less perfect than that to which it was
united; therefore this method of reasoning is not conclusive, and we
must suppose, that he had a human soul, distinct from his divine nature.
This is evident, because he could not perform obedience in the divine
nature, his human soul being the only subject thereof, and it is proper
to the deity to be dispassionate; therefore those sinless passions which
he was subject to, were seated in his soul, as united to the body; and
that he had such passions, is very plain from scripture; for he says,
_My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death_, Matt. xxvi. 38. And
there are various other passions besides sorrow, which he was subject
to, which, though free from sin, were altogether inconsistent with the
infinite perfection of the divine nature.

9. This human nature is said to have been conceived by the power of the
Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and born of her, yet without
sin. Here we may observe,

(1.) That there was something in the formation of Christ’s human nature,
in which he resembled the rest of mankind, in that he was not produced,
and brought into a state of manhood in an instant, or created out of the
dust of the ground, as Adam was, but was born, or as the apostle
expresses it, _made of a woman_, Gal. iv. 4. to denote his being formed
out of her substance; and accordingly he began his state of humiliation
in infancy, that he might, in all respects, be made like unto those whom
he came to redeem. Herein the promise made to our first parents,
relating to his being _the seed of the woman_, Gen. iii. 15. was not
only fulfilled; but another express prediction, by the prophet Isaiah,
who says, _Unto us a Child is born_, Isa. ix. 6.

(2.) There was something peculiar and extraordinary in his formation, as
he was an extraordinary Person, and to be engaged in a work peculiar to
himself; so he is said to have been born of a Virgin, not because, as
some suppose, that that is a state of greater sanctity, than any other
condition of life, but, as was before observed[124], that he might be
exempted from the guilt of Adam’s first sin, which he would have been
liable to, though sanctified from the womb, had his human nature been
formed in an ordinary way. It was certainly necessary that his human
nature, which was, in its first formation, united to his divine Person,
should be perfectly sinless; since it would have been a reproach cast on
the Son of God, to have it said concerning him, that he was, in the
nature which he assumed, estranged to, and separate from God, as all
mankind are, who are born in an ordinary way. And this was also
necessary for his accomplishing the work of our redemption, since as the
apostle says, _Such an High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless,
undefiled, and separate from sinners_, Heb. vii. 26. And, in order to
his being born of a Virgin, there was an extraordinary instance of the
power of God; and therefore it is said, _The Holy Ghost shall come upon
thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee_, Luke i. 35.

His being born of a Virgin, was an accomplishment of that prediction
which we read of in Isa. vii. 14. _The Lord himself shall give you a
sign; Behold, a Virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call
his name Immanuel_. This text being so convincing a proof of
Christianity, and, as such, referred to in the New Testament, Matt. i.
22, 23. the Jews, and many of the modern Deists, have endeavoured to
weaken the force thereof, which renders it necessary for us to
illustrate and explain it, agreeably to the scope and design of the
prophecy, contained in the context; which we shall endeavour to do, in
the following Paraphrase. Says God to the prophet, “Go to Ahaz, and bid
him not be faint-hearted, by reason of the threatened invasion by the
confederate kings of Israel and Syria; but let him ask a sign for the
confirmation of his faith, that I may hereby assure him, that they shall
not be able to do him any hurt: but I know, before-hand, his unbelief,
and the sullenness of his temper, that he will refuse to ask a sign;
therefore, when thou goest to meet him, take thy young son Shear-jashub
in thine hand, or in thine arms, from whom thou mayest take occasion to
deliver part of the message which I send thee with to him; tell him,
that though he refuse to ask a sign, _nevertheless_[125], _the Lord
shall give thee a sign_, to his people, whom thou shalt command to hear
this message, as well as Ahaz, they being equally concerned herein;
therefore let them know, that, though their obstinate and wicked king
calls a compliance with my command a _tempting_ me, and therefore will
not ask a sign, I will not give him any other sign, than what the whole
house of Israel shall behold, in future ages, which, though it cannot be
properly called a prognostic sign, yet it will be, when it comes to
pass, a _rememorative sign_[126], and that shall be a glorious one; for,
_Behold a Virgin_[127] _shall conceive, and bear a Son, and thou shalt
call his name Immanuel_. When this wonderful thing happens, a thing new
and unheard of, which shall be _created in the earth, that a woman
should compass a man_, as it is said elsewhere, Jer. xxxi. 22. then the
house of David shall understand the reason why I have not suffered these
two kings to destroy Judah, so that it should be _broken, that it be not
a people_, as _Ephraim shall, within threescore and five years_, [ver.
8.] for then the Messiah could not come of the house of David; and what
he shall do for them, when he comes, is the ground and reason of all the
temporal deliverances that I work for them, and particularly of this
from the intended invasion of these two confederate kings. Tell them,
moreover, that as this shall be a _rememorative sign_, so I will give
them to understand, at present, that they shall be delivered in a little
time; for before this Child, which thou hast here brought with thee,
_shall know to refuse the evil, and chuse the good_, or shall know the
difference between moral good and evil, that is, in two or three years
time, _The land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her
kings_; or those two kings, which thou dreadest, shall be driven, by the
king of Assyria, out of their own land. And inasmuch as my people may be
afraid, that, before these two years are expired, they shall be brought
into such straights, through famine, or scarcity of provisions, which
generally attend sieges, that they shall want the necessaries of life;
let them know that this child, meaning Shear-jashub, shall not want
_butter and honey_, that is, the best and most proper food for it, _that
he may know_, or rather, _until_[128] _he know to refuse the evil, and
chuse the good_, that is, till these two kings, Rezin and Pekah, be
utterly destroyed.”

Thus having considered our Saviour’s being born of a Virgin, there is
one thing more that is to be observed under this head, namely, that he
was of her substance, which is particularly mentioned in this answer,
with a design to fence against an ancient heresy, maintained by the
Gnostics in the second century, and hath been defended by others, in
later ages, who supposed, that our Saviour did not derive his human
nature from the Virgin Mary, but that it was formed in heaven, and sent
down from thence; and that the Virgin’s womb is only to be considered as
the first seat of its residence in this lower world, which they found on
those scriptures which speak of _his coming down from heaven_, John iii.
13, 14. which they understand concerning his human nature; whereas,
nothing is intended thereby but the manifestative presence of his divine
nature, in which respect God is, in other scriptures, said to _come
down_ into this lower world, Gen. xi. 5, 7. And another scripture, which
they bring to the same purpose, is that, in which, they suppose, he
denies his relation to his mother, when he says, _Who is my mother? and
who are my brethren? Whosoever shall do the will of my Father, which is
in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother_, Mat. xi. 48,
50. in which he does not deny his natural relation to them, but designs
to shew, that his regard to persons in the exercise of his public
ministry, was principally founded on their doing the will of his Father.
And whereas they farther suppose, that if his human nature had, in any
respect, been derived from the substance of the Virgin, either she must
be concluded immaculate, as the Papists do, or else he must have been
born a sinner; this hath been already proved to be no just consequence,
inasmuch as the formation of his human nature, though it were of the
substance of the Virgin, was in an extraordinary and miraculous way,
whereby he was exempted from the guilt of original sin.

There is another opinion maintained by some of the school-men, which,
though it be not generally received, seems, to me, not altogether
improbable, namely, that Christ’s human body, though formed in the womb
of the virgin, and a part of her substance, yet, as to the manner of its
formation, it differed from that of all other human bodies, inasmuch as
the matter, of which they consist, receives its form in a gradual way,
and they cannot properly speaking be styled human bodies, till organized
and fitted to have their souls united to them; whereas these suppose
that the body of Christ, in its first formation, was rendered fit to
receive the soul, which was, in an instant united to it; and both soul
and body, at the same time, without having any separate subsistence,
were united to the divine nature. This account of the formation of
Christ’s human body, though I think it most adapted to the union of his
soul and body with the divine nature, in the very instant of its
formation, and therefore cannot but conclude it a more probable
conjecture than what is generally received, yet I do not lay it down as
a necessary article of faith; nor would I, from hence, be supposed to
deny that the body of Christ grew in the womb like other human bodies,
after the soul is united to them; nor would I set aside the account the
scripture gives of the virgin’s _accomplishing_ the full number of
_days, in which she should be delivered_, Luke ii. 6. Gal. iv. 4. Thus
we have considered our Saviour, as having a true body and a reasonable
soul, and both united to the divine nature, whereby he is denominated
God incarnate, in this answer.

6. Our Mediator is farther said to have been incarnate, in the fulness
of time; and it is added, he shall continue to be both God and man for
ever.

(1.) Let us consider what is meant by Christ’s becoming man in the
fulness of time. The human nature could not be united to the divine from
all eternity; since it is inconsistent with its being a created nature,
that it should exist from eternity; notwithstanding he might, had it
been so determined, have, assumed this nature in the beginning of time,
or immediately after the fall of man, who then stood in need of a
Mediator; but God, in his sovereign and wise providence, ordered it
otherwise, namely, that there should be a considerable distance of time
between the fall of man and Christ’s incarnation, in order to his
recovery, which is called, in scripture, the _fulness of time_, Gal. iv.
4. that is, the time foretold by the prophets, and particularly Daniel,
Dan. ix. 24, 25. whose prediction had an additional circumstance of time
annexed to it, which gave occasion to the Jews to expect his coming at
the same time that he was incarnate.

That there was an universal expectation of the Messiah at this time,
appears from the disposition of many among them to adhere to any one,
especially if he pretended himself to be a prophet, or that he would
make some change in their civil affairs; and the Jewish historian[129]
tells us of many tumults and seditions that were in that age. Some of
their ring-leaders he styles magicians; and persons pretending to be
prophets, though, indeed, he does not expressly say that they assume the
character of Messiah, yet he observes, that the time in which this was
done, gave occasion hereunto[130]; by which he means that it being at
that time that the Jews expected that the Messiah, their king, should
come, they thought it a fit opportunity to make these efforts, to shake
off the Roman yoke; and they were so far from concealing the expectation
they had thereof, that it was well known by the heathen, who were not
without jealousies concerning them, with respect to this matter; so that
some celebrated writers among them observe, that it was generally
received throughout the east, according to some ancient predictions,
that, at that time, the Jews should obtain the empire;[131] and there
are several expressions, in scripture, which intimate as much: thus
Gamaliel speaks of one Theudas, who _boasted himself to be somebody_, by
which, it is probable, he means the Messiah, _to whom a number of men,
about four hundred, joined themselves, and were slain_, Acts v. 36, 37.
which some think to be the same person that Josephus mentions, the name
being the same; though others are rather inclined to think that it was
another pretender to this character, from some critical remarks they
make on the circumstance of time referred to by Gamaliel, being
different from that which is mentioned by Josephus.[132] However, this
does not affect our argument; for it is plain, from hence, that, about
that time, the Jews were disposed to join themselves to any one who
endeavoured to persuade them that he was the Messiah.

And this farther appears, from what our Saviour says, _All that ever
came before me, are thieves and robbers_, John x. 8. by which,
doubtless, he means, several that pretended to be the Messiah, in that
age, before he came; and it is said elsewhere, Luke xix. 11. a little
before our Saviour’s crucifixion, that _they_, that is, the Jews,
generally _thought that the kingdom of God_, and consequently the
Messiah, whom they expected, _should immediately appear_; and he also
foretels, that between this and the destruction of Jerusalem, that is,
before that age was at an end, _many false Christs, should arise_, and
warns his followers not to adhere to them, Mat. xxiv. 24-26.

Moreover, had not the Jews expected that the Messiah would appear at
that time, they would never have sent in so formal a manner, as they are
said to have done, to enquire, _Whether John the Baptist_, when he
exercised his public ministry amongst them, _was he_? John i. 19-21.
And, when he had convinced them that he was not the Messiah, but that
our Saviour would soon appear publicly amongst them, who had the only
right to this character, he found it no difficult matter to persuade
them to believe it; and accordingly Jerusalem and all Judea, that is,
the people almost universally attended on his ministry, and were
baptized, making a profession of this faith, and of their expectation
of, and willingness to adhere to him; and it was the report, that the
wise men, who came from the east, had received from the Jews, who were
conversant with them, that this was the time that the Messiah should
appear, that brought them to Jerusalem, from their respective countries,
otherwise that preternatural meteor, or star, which they saw, could not
have given them a sufficient intimation concerning this matter, so as to
induce them to come and pay their homage to him; and when they came, and
enquired of Herod, _Where is he that is born king of the Jews_? how
surprizing soever it might be to that proud tyrant, to think that there
was one born, who, as he supposed, would stand in competition with him
for the crown, yet it was no unexpected thing to the Sanhedrim, whose
opinion in this matter he demanded, in an hypocritical manner; therefore
they say, he was _to be born in Bethlehem_, according to the prediction
of the prophet Micah; whereas, if they had not known that this was the
time in which he was to be born, they would have replied, that it was an
unseasonable question, and a vain thing, to ask where a person was to be
born, whose birth was not expected in that age; and they might easily
have satisfied Herod, and removed the foundation of his jealousy and
trouble, and thereby have prevented that inhuman barbarity committed on
the infants of Bethlehem, if they had told him that the time spoken of
by the prophet Daniel, in which the Messiah was to be born, was not yet
come: but they knew otherwise; and in this respect, Christ might be said
to be born _in the fulness of time_. That which we shall farther
observe, concerning it, is,

_1st_, That it was at that time when God had sufficiently tried the
faith of the Old Testament-church, in waiting for his coming, and
thereby glorified his sovereignty, who hath the times and seasons of his
bestowing all blessings in his own power.

_2dly_, It was at that time when the measure of the iniquity of the
world was abundantly filled, whereby his people might observe the
deplorable state into which sin had brought mankind, and the utter
impossibility of our recovery without a Mediator, and that the light of
nature could not discover any method by which the redemption and
salvation of man might be brought about.

_3dly_, It was at that time that the Jewish church was at the lowest
ebb, and therefore the most seasonable time, and they were laid under
the highest obligations to adore and magnify him: their political state
was broken, the sceptre departed from Judah, and they were brought under
the Roman yoke, which sat very uneasy upon them; neither could they ever
expect to make that figure in the world as they once had done, therefore
now was the time for the Messiah to come, and erect his kingdom. And,
besides this, they were given up to a very great degree of judicial
blindness and hardness, and were disposed to make void the law of God by
their traditions; so that religion, among them, was at a very low ebb;
therefore it was the fittest time for God to display his grace, in
reviving his work, and preventing his cause and interest from wholly
sinking in the world. This was the time in which the Son of God became
Man.

(2.) Christ shall continue to be God and Man for ever, or the union of
these two natures is indissoluble: as to his divine nature, he is
necessarily eternal and unchangeable; and the human nature shall
continue for ever united to it, as the result of the divine purpose, in
which God intends that some ends, glorious to himself, honourable to the
Mediator, and advantageous to his people, should be attained thereby.
For,

_1st_, If he had had a design to lay aside his human nature, he would
have done it when he finished his work of obedience and sufferings
therein, and thereby had so far answered the end of his incarnation,
that nothing more was necessary for the purchase of redemption: but when
he rose from the dead, as a Conqueror over death and hell, and was
declared to have accomplished the work he came into the world about, it
is certain he did not lay it aside, but ascended visibly into heaven,
and shall come again, in a visible manner, in that same nature, to judge
the world at the last day.

_2dly_, The eternity of Christ’s human nature appears from the eternity
of his mediatorial kingdom, of which more under a following answer, when
we come to speak concerning the glory of Christ’s kingly office. It
appears, also, from the eternity of his intercession, which, as the
apostle expresses it, _He ever liveth to make_, Heb. vii. 25. for his
people: thus he does, by appearing in the human nature in the presence
of God, in their behalf; therefore he must for ever have an human
nature.

_3dly_, His saints shall abide for ever in heaven, and, as the apostle
says, _Shall ever be with the Lord_, 1 Thess. iv. 17. and their
happiness shall continue both as to soul and body; and, with respect to
their bodies, it is said, they shall be _fashioned like unto Christ’s
glorious body_, Phil. iii. 21. therefore his glorious body, or his human
nature, shall continue for ever united to his divine Person.

_4thly_, His retaining his human nature for ever, seems necessary, as it
redounds to the glory of God: it is an eternal monument of his love to
mankind, and an external means to draw forth their love to him, who
procured those mansions of glory, which they shall for ever be possessed
of, by what he did and suffered for them therein.

Footnote 113:

  _See Page 379._ Vol. I.

Footnote 114:

  _See Quest._ xliv.

Footnote 115:

  _See Vol. I. Page 243._

Footnote 116:

  _See Quest._ ix, x, xi.

Footnote 117:

  _Vide the note, Vol. I. Page 279._

Footnote 118:

  _For this reason, the Sabellians are often called, by ancient writers,
  Patripassians._

Footnote 119:

  _See the same scriptures, and others to the like purpose, before
  cited, for the proof of Christ’s proper deity, under Quest._ ix. x.
  xi. _Vol. I. Page 302, to 319, and also what has been said concerning
  his Sonship, as implying him to be God-man Mediator. Vol. I. Page 274,
  279, &c._

Footnote 120:

  _Nestorius was Bishop of Constantinople, in the reign of Theodosius,
  the younger, A. D. 428. who very warmly maintained, that the Virgin
  Mary was not the mother of that Person that was God, but of a distinct
  human Person, called Christ, which was censured and condemned by the
  council at Ephesus, A. D. 431._

Footnote 121:

  _These are called Eutychians, from Eutyches, an abbot of
  Constantinople, who, when he had gained a great deal of reputation, in
  disputing against Nestorius, in the council at Ephesus, a few years
  after, viz. A. D. 448. propagated his opinion, which was condemned, as
  heretical, in the council at Chalcedon, A. D. 451._

Footnote 122:

  _This absurd opinion, subversive of Christianity, was propagated by
  several among the Gnosticks, in the second century, who, for this
  reason, were called Docetæ._

Footnote 123:

  αφαντος εγενετο.

Footnote 124:

  _See Page 112 ante._

Footnote 125:

  _So the Hebrew word ought to be rendered, rather than_ therefore; _for
  so it is understood in other scriptures, particularly in Jer._ xxx.
  _16._

Footnote 126:

  _This is a just distinction relating to signs mentioned in scripture;
  in which, sometimes a sign did not take place till the thing
  signified, or brought to remembrance thereby, had been accomplished.
  See Exod._ iii. _12. 1 Sam._ ii. _34. Isa._ xxxvii. _30. Jer._ xliv.
  _29, 30. as Bishop Kidder well observes. See Demonstrat. of the
  Messias, Part II. page 105, in Fol._

Footnote 127:

  _The Hebrew word_ עלמה _is truly rendered_ a Virgin, _as it is
  translated by the LXX._ [η παρθενος] _who well understand the sense of
  it, in this and other places, where we meet with it; as also doth the
  Chaldee Paraphrast thus understand it, and the Syriac, Arabic, and
  vulgar Latin versions: and this sense agrees with the grammatical
  construction of the word, which is derived from_ עלם abscondit, _and
  it alludes to the custom used among the Jews of keeping their virgins
  concealed till they were married; therefore as a learned writer well
  observes_, עלמה Notat statum solitarium domi delitescentium ideoq;
  cælebum & virginum; _and in those two places, in which it is objected
  by the Jews, that the word does not signify_ a virgin, _but a_ young
  woman, _namely, Prov._ xxx. _19 and Cant._ vi. _8. In the former, as
  one observes_, Promptissimum est intelligere vincula amoris quibus
  virgo incipit adstringi futuro sponso suo; _and therefore it may be
  understood of a virgin, in the literal sense of the word. Vid. Cocc.
  Lexic. in Voc. The LXX. indeed, render it_, ανδρος εν νεοτητι, _and
  the vulgar Latin version_, Viri in adolescentia; _but the Chaldee
  Paraphrast renders it_, Viri in virgine. _And as for the later
  scripture, in which it is said, there are_ threescore queens, and
  fourscore concubines, and virgins without number, _it is plain, the
  word_ virgins _is not opposed to_ young women, _for such were many of
  them that are called_ queens and concubines, _but to persons
  defloured; therefore we may conclude, that the word always signifies a
  virgin, and therefore is rightly translated in the text, under our
  present consideration_.

Footnote 128:

  _So the word is properly rendered by the Chaldee Paraphrast._

Footnote 129:

  _See Joseph. Antiq. Lib. XVIII. cap. 1. & Lib. XX. cap. 2. & de Bell.
  Jud. Lib. II. cap. 6._

Footnote 130:

  Βασιλειαν ο καιρος, ανεπεισθε.

Footnote 131:

  _Vid. Sueton in Vespas. Percrebuerat oriente toto, ventus & constans
  opinio, esse in fatis; ut eo tempore Judea, profecti, rerum
  potirentur; & Tacit. Histor. Lib. V. Pluribus persuasio inerat,
  antiquis sacerdotum literis contineri, eo ipso tempore fore ut
  valesceret, Oriens, profectiq; Judea rerum potirentur._

Footnote 132:

  _See Lightfoot’s works, Vol. I. Pag. 765, 766._



                      Quest. XXXVIII., XXXIX., XL.


    QUEST. XXXVIII. _Why was it requisite that the Mediator should be
    God?_

    ANSW. It was requisite that the Mediator should be God, that he
    might sustain and keep the human nature from sinking under the
    infinite wrath of God, and the power of death, give worth and
    efficacy to his sufferings, obedience, and intercession; and so
    satisfy God’s justice, procure his favour, purchase a peculiar
    people, give his Spirit to them, conquer all their enemies, and
    bring them to everlasting salvation.

    QUEST. XXXIX. _Why was it requisite that the Mediator should be
    Man?_

    ANSW. It was requisite that the Mediator should be Man, that he
    might advance our nature, perform obedience to the law, suffer, and
    make intercession for us in our nature, have a fellow-feeling of our
    infirmities, that we might receive the adoption of sons, and have
    comfort and access with boldness unto the throne of grace.

    QUEST. XL. _Why was it requisite that the Mediator should be God and
    Man in one Person?_

    ANSW. It was requisite that the Mediator, who was to reconcile God
    and Man, should himself be both God and Man, and this in one Person,
    that the proper works of each nature might be accepted of God for
    us, and relied on by us, as the works of the whole Person.

Our Mediator having been considered as God and Man, in one person, we
have a farther account of the necessity of being so. And,

I. It was necessary that he should be a divine Person, for several
reasons here assigned, with others that may be added. As,

1. If he had not been God, he could not have come into the world, or
been incarnate, and have had the guilt of our sins laid on him, with his
own consent; for he could not have been a party in the everlasting
covenant, in which this matter was stipulated between the Father and
him; and, had he not consented to be charged with the guilt of our sin,
he could not have been punished for it, inasmuch as God cannot punish an
innocent person; and, if such an one be charged with this guilt, and
consequently rendered the object of vindictive justice, as our Saviour
is said to have been, in scripture, it must be with his own consent. Now
the human nature could not consent to its own formation, and therefore
it could not consent to bear our iniquities; since to consent supposes
the person to be existent, which Christ, had he been only Man, would not
have been before his incarnation, and therefore he could not have come
into the world as a Surety for us, and so would not have been fit, in
this respect, to have discharged the principal part of the work, which
he engaged in as Mediator.

2. There is another thing, mentioned in this answer, which rendered it
requisite that the Mediator should be God, namely, that he might sustain
and keep the human nature from sinking under the infinite wrath of God,
and the power of death. It must be allowed, that the weight of the wrath
of God, due to our sin, was so great, that no mere creature could, by
his own strength, have subsisted under it. We will not deny, that a mere
creature, supposing him only innocent, but not united to a divine
Person, might have been borne up, under the greatest burthen laid on
him, by the extraordinary assistance of God, with whom all things are
possible; nor that God’s giving a promise that he should not fail, or be
discouraged, is such a security, as would effectually keep it from
sinking; yet when we consider the human nature, as united to the divine,
this is an additional security, that he should not sink under the
infinite weight of the wrath of God, that lay upon him; for then it
would have been said, that he, who is a divine Person, miscarried in an
important work, which he undertook to perform in his human nature, which
would have been a dishonour to him: so far this argument hath its proper
force. But,

3. There is another reason, which more fully proves the necessity of the
Mediator’s being a Divine Person, _viz._ that this might give worth and
efficacy to his sufferings, obedience, and intercession, that so what he
did might have a tendency to answer the valuable ends designed thereby,
namely, the satisfying the justice of God, procuring his favour, and
purchasing a peculiar people to himself. Had he been only man, what he
did and suffered, might indeed have been sinless, and perfect in its
kind; nevertheless, it could not be of infinite value, for a finite
creature, as such, cannot pay an infinite price, and thereby answer the
demands of justice. Had nothing been demanded of him but a debt of
obedience, which he was obliged to perform for himself, as a creature,
it would not, indeed, have been necessary that it should be of infinite
worth and value, any more than that obedience, that was due from our
first parents, while in a state of innocency: But when this is
considered as a price of redemption paid for us, and as designed to
procure a right to the favour of God, and eternal life, this must be of
such a value, that the glory of the justice of God might be secured,
which nothing less than an infinite price could do; and the law of God
must not only be fulfilled, but magnified, and made honourable; and
therefore the obedience, which was required, must not only be sinless,
but have in it an infinite worth and value, that hereby, when in a way
of intercession, it is pleaded before God, it might be effectual to
answer the ends designed thereby; but this it could not have been, had
he not been an infinite Person, namely, God as well as Man.

4. Another reason assigned for this, is, that he might give his Spirit
to his people. It is necessary that redemption should be applied, as
well as purchased; and that the same Person, as a peculiar branch of
glory due to him, should perform the one as well as the other; and, in
the application of redemption, it was necessary that the Spirit should
be glorified, that hereby he might appear to be a divine Person; and, as
he acts herein in subserviency to the Mediator’s glory, as has been
before observed[133], he is said to be sent by him, which he could not
have been, had not Christ had a divine nature, in which respect he was
equal with him; nor could he be said to give that which the Spirit
works, as he promised to do, when he told his disciples, _If I depart, I
will send him unto you_, John xvi. 7.

5. It was necessary that Christ should be God, that he might conquer all
our enemies, and so remove every thing out of the way that tends to
oppose his name, interest, and glory; these are sin, Satan, the world,
and death. Sin, which is opposite to the holiness of God, is that which
spirits, excites, and gives being to all opposition there is against
him, either in earth or hell, and endeavours to eclipse his glory,
controul his sovereignty, and reflect dishonour on all his perfections.
This must be subdued by Christ, so _that it may no longer have dominion_
over his people, Rom. vi. 14. and, in order hereunto, its condemning
power must be taken away, by his making satisfaction for it, as our
great High Priest; and also its enslaving power subdued by the efficacy
of his grace, in the internal work of sanctification.

And, upon his having obtained this victory over sin, Satan is also
conquered when his prisoners are brought from under his power; and he
finds himself for ever disappointed, and not able to detain those, who
were, at first, led captive by him, nor to defeat the purpose of God
relating to the salvation of his elect, or to boast as though he had
wrested the sceptre out of his hand, or robbed him of one branch of his
glory.

Moreover, the world, which is reckoned among the number of God’s
enemies, must be conquered inasmuch as it opposes his name and interest
in an objective way, from whence corrupt nature takes occasion either to
abuse the various gifts and dispensations of providence, or by
contracting an intimacy with those who are enemies to God and religion,
to become more like them, as the apostle says, _The friendship of the
world is enmity with God_, James iv. 4. Now Christ must be God, that he
may discover its snares, and enable his people to improve the good
things of providence to his glory, and over-rule the evil things thereof
for their good.

And as for death, which is reckoned among Christ’s and his people’s
enemies, which the apostle calls, _The last enemy that is to be
destroyed_, 1 Cor. xv. 26. this is suffered to detain the bodies of
believers, as its prisoners, till Christ’s second coming; but it must be
destroyed, that so they may be made partakers of complete redemption;
and this is also a part of the Mediator’s work, as he raises up his
people at the last day. And all these victories over sin, Satan, the
world, and death, as they require infinite power, so it is necessary
that he, who obtains them, should be a divine Person.

6. It is necessary that the Mediator should be God, that he might bring
his people to everlasting salvation, that is, first fit them for, lead
them in the way to Heaven, and then receive them to it at last; for this
reason, he is styled, _The author and Finisher of our Faith_, Heb. xii.
2. and it is said, that as _he began the good work, so he performs it_,
Phil. i. 6. or carries it on to perfection. Grace is Christ’s gift and
work; as he purchased it by his blood, while on earth; it is necessary
that he should apply it by his power; even as Zerubbabel, who was a type
of him, after he had laid the foundation-stone of the temple, at last,
_brought forth the head-stone thereof, with shoutings, crying, Grace,
grace, unto it_, Zech. iv. 7. so Christ works all our works for us, and
in us, till he brings them to perfection, and _presents his people unto
himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such
thing, but that it should be holy, and without blemish_, Eph. v. 27. and
this is certainly a divine work, and consequently he, who performs it,
must be a divine Person. And to this we may add,

7. It was necessary that our Mediator should be God, inasmuch as the
everlasting happiness of his people consists in the enjoyment of him. He
is not only the Author of their complete blessedness, but, as we may
express it, the matter of it; they are made happy, not only by him, but
in him; accordingly heaven is described as a state, in which they
_behold his glory_, John xvii. 24. and _see him as he is_, 1 John iii.
2. therefore, since he is the Fountain of blessedness, it is requisite
that he should be God, as well as Man.

II. It was requisite that the Mediator should be Man. When we speak of
the necessity of Christ’s incarnation, we are not to understand hereby,
that this was absolutely necessary, without supposing the divine will,
or purpose, to redeem man; for since our redemption was not in itself
necessary, but was only so, as the result of God’s purpose relating
thereunto; so Christ’s incarnation was necessary, as a means to
accomplish it. This is what divines generally call a conditional
necessity[134]; so that since Christ was ordained to be a Mediator
between God and man, it was requisite that he should become Man: The
reason assigned for it is, that he might perform obedience to the law.
That obedience to the law was required, in order to his making
satisfaction for sin, we shall have occasion to consider, when we speak
of his Priestly office; therefore all that need be observed under this
head, is, that this obedience could not be performed by him in the
divine nature, in which respect he cannot be under any obligation to
perform that which belongs only to those who are creatures, and as such
subjects; therefore, if he be made under the law, he must have a nature
fitted and disposed to yield obedience.

Some have enquired, whether it was possible for Christ to have answered
this end, by taking any other nature into union with his divine Person;
or, whether this might have been brought about by his taking on him the
nature of angels? I shall not enter so far into this subject, as to
determine whether God might, had he pleased, have accepted of obedience
in any other nature, fitted for that purpose; but we have ground, from
scripture, to conclude, that this was the only way that God had ordained
for the redemption of man; and therefore, though Christ might have
performed obedience in some other finite nature, or might have taken the
nature of angels, this would not, in all respects, have answered those
many great ends, which were designed by his incarnation. And therefore,
since this was the way in which God ordained that man should be
redeemed, it was necessary that he should take the human nature into
union with his divine; and inasmuch as he was to yield obedience to the
same law, that we had violated, it was necessary that he should be _made
of a woman_, as the apostle expresses it, Gal. iv. 4. God had ordained,
as an expedient most conducive for his own glory, that he, who was to be
our Redeemer, should run the same race with us; and also, that he should
suffer what was due to us, as the consequence of our rebellion against
him, that so, as _the Captain of our salvation, he should be made
perfect through sufferings_, Heb. ii. 10. And inasmuch as sufferings
were due to us in our bodies, it was necessary, God having so ordained
it, that he should suffer in his body, as well as in his soul; and as
death entered into the world by sin, so God ordained it, that we should
be redeemed from the power of the grave, by one, who died for us; in
which respects, it was necessary that he should be man.

There are also other ends mentioned in this answer, which render this
necessary, namely, that he might advance our nature. It was a very great
honour which that particular nature, which he assumed, was advanced
unto, in its being taken into union with his divine Person. Though it
had no intrinsic dignity, or glory, above what other intelligent,
finite, sinless beings are capable of; yet it had a greater relative
glory than any other creature had, or can have, which may be illustrated
by a similitude taken from the body of man, how mean soever it is in
itself, yet, when considered in its relation to the soul, that adds a
degree of excellency to it, in a relative sense, greater than what
belongs to any creature, destitute of understanding; so the human nature
of Christ, though it had not in itself a glory greater than what another
finite creature might have been advanced to; yet, when considered as
united to the divine nature, its glory, in a relative sense may be said
to be infinite.

It follows from hence, that since Christ’s being truly and properly man,
was a particular instance, in him, of the advancement of our nature, to
a greater degree of honour, than what has been conferred on any other
creature, this lays the highest obligation on us to admire and adore
him; and should be an inducement to us, not to debase that nature which
God has, in this respect, delighted to honour, by the commission of
those sins, which are the greatest reproach unto it.

Another consequence of Christ’s incarnation, whereby it farther appears
that it was requisite that he should be man, is that, in our nature, he
might make intercession for us. For the understanding of which, let it
be considered, that the divine nature cannot properly speaking, be said
to make intercession, since this includes in it an act of worship, and
argues the Person, who intercedes, to be dependent, and indigent, which
is inconsistent with the self-sufficiency and independency of the
Godhead; therefore, had he been only God, he could not have made
intercession for us, and consequently this is the necessary result of
his incarnation.

_Object. 1._ It may be objected hereunto, that _the Spirit_ is said to
_make intercession for the Saints, according to the will of God_, Rom.
viii. 27. whereas he has no human nature to make intercession in;
therefore Christ might have made intercession for us, though he had not
been incarnate.

_Answ._ When the Spirit is said to make intercession for us, this is not
to be understood of his appearing in the presence of God, and so
offering prayers, or supplications to him in our behalf; but it only
intends his enabling us to pray for ourselves, which is an effect of his
power, working this grace in us; therefore the apostle, speaking
concerning the same thing, says, elsewhere, _God hath sent the Spirit of
his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father_, Gal. iv. 6. that is,
enabling us to cry, _Abba, Father_: Such an intercession as this, is not
unbecoming a divine Person; and this is what is plainly the sense of
those scriptures, in which the Spirit is said to intercede for us. As
for Christ’s intercession, it consists, indeed, in his praying for
us,[135] rather than enabling us to pray; therefore it was requisite
that he should be Man, in order thereunto.

_Object. 2._ It is generally supposed, that Christ made intercession for
his people before his incarnation: Thus we cannot but conclude, that he
is intended by _the angel of the Lord_, who is represented as pleading
for Israel; _O Lord of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on
Jerusalem, and upon the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had
indignation these three-score and ten years?_ Zech. i. 12. and also as
pleading in their behalf against the accusations of Satan, _The Lord
rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord, which hath chosen Jerusalem, rebuke
thee: Is not this a brand which is plucked out of the fire?_ chap. iii.
2. If therefore he made intercession at that time, when he had no human
nature, his incarnation was not necessary thereunto.

_Answ._ Though we allow that Christ is often represented, in the Old
Testament, as interceding for his people; yet these expressions are
either proleptical, and do not denote, so much, what Christ then did, as
what he would do, after he had assumed our nature; or they imply, that
the salvation of the church, under that dispensation, was owing to the
intercession that Christ would make after his incarnation, as well as to
that satisfaction which he would give to the justice of God in our
nature; so that Christ, in those scriptures, is represented as procuring
those blessings for his people, by what he would, in reality, do after
his incarnation, the virtue whereof is supposed to be extended to them
at that time: He did not therefore _formally_, but _virtually_,
intercede for them; and consequently it does not prove that his
incarnation was not necessary for his making that intercession, which he
ever lives to do in the behalf of his church.

It is farther observed, that it was requisite that our Mediator should
be Man, that he might have a fellow-feeling of our infirmities: Thus the
apostle says, _He was touched with the feeling of our infirmities_,
having been, _in all points_; in his human nature, _tempted like as we
are, yet without sin_, Heb. iv. 15. As God, it is true, he has a
perfect, namely, a divine knowledge of our infirmities, but not an
experimental knowledge thereof; and therefore, in this respect, had he
not been Man, he could not have been said to sympathize with us herein;
and therefore his compassion towards us, has this additional motive,
taken from his incarnation: It was in this respect that he had the
passions of the human nature, and thereby is induced, from what he once
experienced, to help our infirmities, as being such as he himself
condescended to bear.

And to this it may be added, as a farther consequence of his
incarnation, that we are made partakers of the adoption of sons, and
have comfort and access with boldness, to the throne of grace. This the
apostle also gives us occasion to infer, from his being made of a woman,
and made under the law, not only that _he might redeem them that were
under the law_, but _that we might receive the adoption of sons_, Gal.
iv. 5. and encourages us, from hence, to _come boldly to the throne of
grace_, Heb. iv. 16. As Christ’s Sonship, as Mediator, includes his
incarnation, and was the ground and reason of the throne of grace being
erected, to which we are invited to come; so, he being, in the same
respect, constituted Heir of all things, believers who are the sons of
God, in a lower sense, are notwithstanding, styled, _Heirs of God, and
joint heirs with Christ_, Rom. viii. 17. He is the Head and Lord of this
great family, who purchased an inheritance for them, and they the
members thereof, who, in the virtue of his purchase, have a right to it;
therefore his incarnation, which was necessary hereunto, was the great
foundation of our obtaining the privilege of God’s adopted children, and
of our access by him to the Father. We first come by faith to him, who,
if we allude to Elihu’s words, _was formed out of the clay_, and
therefore _his terror shall not make us afraid, neither shall his hand
be heavy upon us_, Job xxxiii. 6. and through him, we come to God, as
our reconciled Father.

III. It was requisite that the Mediator should be God and man, in one
Person. Had his human nature been a distinct human Person, the work of
our redemption would have been brought about by two persons, which would
each of them have had the character of Mediator, unless two persons
could be so united, as to constitute but one, which is no better than a
contradiction. And it is farther observed, in the answer under our
present consideration, that there were works to be performed, proper to
each nature: in the human nature he was to perform every thing that
implied subjection, obedience, or suffering; and though none of these
could be performed by him, in his divine nature, yet an infinite worth,
value, and dignity, was to be added thereunto, which was not so much the
result of any thing done by him in that nature, as of the union of the
human nature with it; upon which account, the obedience he performed,
had, in a relative sense, the same value, as though it had been
performed in his divine nature; and, upon this account, it is said, that
_God purchased the church with his own blood_, Acts xx. 28.

And to this we may add, that as each nature was distinct, and their
properties not in the least confounded, as was before observed; so we
often read, in scripture, of distinct properties attributed to the same
person, which are opposed to each other, namely, mortality and
immortality, weakness and omnipotency, dependence and independence, &c.
which could not be, with any propriety of speaking, applied to him, had
he not been God and man, in the same person. This is generally styled by
divines, _a communication of properties_,[136] concerning which we must
observe, that the properties of one nature are not predicated of the
other; as the Lutherans suppose, when they conclude, that the human
nature of Christ is omnipresent, upon which their doctrine of
_consubstantiation_ is founded; but we assert, that the properties of
one nature are predicated of the same person, to whom the other nature
also belongs; so that when we say the Person, that was God, obeyed and
suffered; or the Person, that was man, paid an infinite price to the
justice of God, we are far from asserting, that the Godhead of Christ
obeyed, or the manhood merited;[137] and this is the necessary result of
his two natures being united in one Person. There are two things
observed, in illustrating this matter.

1. That the works of each nature must be accepted of God for us, as the
works of the whole Person, or of the same Person; therefore, if the
nature that obeyed and suffered had been an human person, his obedience
and sufferings could not have been of infinite value, or accepted by God
as a sufficient price of redemption; for they could not have had this
value reflected on them, had they not been the works of a divine Person:
and those rays of divine glory, that shined forth in his human nature,
could have no immediate relation to it, had it been a distinct Person
from that of his Godhead.

2. It is farther observed, that those works, which were performed by him
in each nature, are to be relied on by us, as the works of the whole
Person: this reliance contains in it an instance of adoration, and
supposes the Person, who performs them, to be God, which he was not in
his human nature; therefore we are to adore our Mediator, and rely on
the works performed by him, in his human nature, as he is God and man in
one Person. As we have sufficient ground, from scripture to conclude,
that the Mediator is the Object of divine adoration; so we are to depend
on him, as a divine Person, for salvation; and our worship herein does
not terminate on his human nature, but on his deity: but, if his human
nature had been a distinct human person we could not be said to adore
him that died for us, and rose again; so that, upon all these accounts,
it is necessary that he should be not only God and man, but that these
two natures should be united in one Person.

Having considered our Mediator as God and man, in one Person, we are now
to speak of him as having those glorious titles and characters
attributed to him, expressive of his mediatorial work and dignity;
accordingly, he is variously denominated as such in scripture: sometimes
he is called, _Lord_, Phil, iv. 5. at other times, _Jesus_, Matt. i. 21.
and elsewhere, _The Lord Jesus_, Acts ix. 17. and also, _The Lord
Christ_, Col. iii. 24. and, in other places, _The Lord Jesus Christ_,
chap. i. 2. He is called _Lord_, to denote the infinite dignity of his
Person, as God equal with the Father; which name is given him in the New
Testament, in the same sense, in which he is called _Jehovah_ in the
Old, as has been observed under a foregoing answer,[138] and to denote
his divine sovereignty, as the Governor of the world, and the church,
and particularly as executing his kingly office as Mediator; and, in the
two following answers, he is described by his mediatorial characters,
_Jesus_, and _Christ_.

Footnote 133:

  _See_ Vol. I. _Page 291, 292._

Footnote 134:

  _It is otherwise styled_, Necessitas consequentiæ.

Footnote 135:

  And in presenting his glorious body with the marks of suffering.

Footnote 136:

  _See Vol. I. page 261._

Footnote 137:

  _This is generally styled, by divines_, Communicatio idiomatum in
  concreto, non in abstracto.

Footnote 138:

  _See Vol. I. page 296, 306._



                           Quest. XLI., XLII.


    QUEST. XLI. _Why was our Mediator called Jesus?_

    ANSW. Our Mediator was called Jesus, because he saveth his people
    from their sins.

    QUEST. XLII. _Why was our Mediator called Christ?_

    ANSW. Our Mediator was called Christ, because he was anointed with
    the Holy Ghost above measure, and so set apart, and fully furnished
    with all authority and ability, to execute the offices of Prophet,
    Priest, and King of his church, in the estate both of his
    humiliation and exaltation.

I. Our Mediator is very often called _Jesus_ in the New Testament, which
name signifies _a Saviour_, as it is particularly intimated by the
angel, who gave direction, that he should be so called, before his
birth, Matt. i. 21. and he is not only styled our Saviour, but _our
Salvation_, in the abstract: thus the prophet, foretelling his
incarnation, says, _Behold, thy Salvation cometh; his reward is with
him, and his work before him_, Isa. lxii. 11. and, when Simeon _held him
in his arms, he blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy
servant depart in peace, according to thy word, for mine eyes have seen
thy salvation_, Luke ii. 28-30. He is a Saviour, as he brings about
salvation for us, and we attain it by him; and he may be styled our
Salvation, as our eternal blessedness consists in the enjoyment of him.
Salvation contains in it a preserving and delivering us from all evil,
which some call the negative idea thereof, and a conferring on us the
greatest good, which is the positive idea of it. In saving us from evil,
he is sometimes said to _deliver us from this present evil world_, Gal.
i. 4. and elsewhere we are said _to be saved from wrath through him_,
Rom. v. 9. and, as all the deliverance we experience, or hope for, is
included in the word _Salvation_, so are all the spiritual blessings
wherewith we are blessed, in this, or a better world; and, upon this
account, he, who is the purchaser and author thereof, is called Jesus.

1. Since Christ is called Jesus, let us be exhorted to take heed that we
do not entertain any unworthy thoughts of him, or that salvation which
he hath procured, by supposing it indefinite, or indeterminate, or that
he did not come into the world to save a certain number, who shall
eventually obtain this blessing; but that he is the Redeemer, and
consequently the Saviour of many that shall finally perish, which is
little better than a contradiction. And let us not suppose, that it is
in the power of man to make his salvation of none effect; for whatever
difficulties there may be in the way, he will certainly overcome them,
otherwise he would be called Jesus, or a Saviour to no purpose; and
therefore they, who suppose him to be the Saviour of all mankind upon
this uncertain condition, that they improve their natural powers, or the
liberty of their will, so as to render his purpose, relating to their
salvation, effectual, which otherwise it would not be, do not give him
the glory which belongs to him, as called Jesus.

2. Let us take heed that we do not extenuate his salvation to our own
discouragement, as though he were not able to save, to the uttermost all
that come unto God by him, or did not come into the world to save the
chief of sinners; or we had certain ground to conclude our case to be so
deplorable, as that we are out of the reach of his salvation.

3. Let none presume, without ground, that he is their Saviour, or that
they have an interest in him as such, while in an unconverted state; or
vainly conclude, that they shall be saved by him, without faith in, or
subjection to him.

4. Let this name Jesus tend to excite in us the greatest thankfulness,
especially if we have experienced the beginning of the work of
salvation; and let such encourage themselves to hope, that having begun
the good work in them, he will finish it, when he shall appear, a second
time, without sin, unto salvation.

II. Our Mediator is called Christ, or, as it is generally expressed in
the Old Testament, the Messiah, which signifies a person anointed: thus
it is said, _We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the
Christ_, John i. 41. or, as it is in the margin, the _anointed_. And, as
anointing was made use of under the ceremonial law, in the public
inauguration and investiture of prophets, priests, and kings, in their
respective offices, they are, for that reason, called _God’s anointed:_
thus it is said, concerning the prophets, _Touch not mine anointed and
do my prophets no harm_, Psal. cv. 15. Kings are likewise so styled, as
Samuel says, _Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him_, 1 Sam. xvi. 6.
These were often anointed, though not always;[139] but the priests were
always anointed, when they first entered on their office; and the high
priest is described by this character, as he upon _whose head the
anointing oil was poured;_ so we read of _the precious ointment upon the
head that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard, that went down to
the skirts of his garments_, Psal. cxxxiii. 2. This was not an
insignificant ceremony, or merely political, in which respect it is
used, in our day, in the inauguration of kings; but it was an ordinance
to signify God’s designation of them, to the office which they were to
execute, in which they were to expect, and depend upon him for those
qualifications that were necessary thereunto; but it was more especially
designed to typify the solemn inauguration and investiture of our
Saviour, in the offices of Prophet, Priest, and King of his church; and,
in allusion hereunto, he is called, _the Messiah_, or _the Christ_. His
anointing was not external, or visible, with material oil; but, in a
spiritual sense, it signified his receiving a commission from the Father
to execute the offices of Prophet, Priest, and King: upon which account,
he is styled, God’s _holy child Jesus, whom he had anointed_, Acts iv.
27. And this unction, as it was of a spiritual nature, so it was
attended with greater circumstances of glory; and the offices he was
appointed to execute, were more spiritual, extensive, and advantageous,
than theirs, who were types thereof: thus the Psalmist says of him,
_God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness, above thy
fellows_, Psal. xlv. 7. accordingly he was anointed to execute his
prophetical office, _to preach the gospel to the poor_, Luke iv. 18. and
his priestly, so the prophet Daniel speaks of him, as _finishing
transgression, making an end of sin, bringing in an everlasting
righteousness_, Dan. ix. 24. which he did as a Priest; and then he
speaks of anointing him, who was most holy, as infinitely excelling all
those who were anointed with holy oil. He is also said to be anointed to
execute his kingly office; and, with respect thereunto, is called the
Lord’s anointed; and God says, concerning him, _I have set_, or as it is
in the margin, _anointed, my king upon my holy hill of Sion_, Psal. ii.
2. Now there are three things which are more especially intended in this
unction, which are particularly mentioned in this answer.

1. His being set apart, or separated from the rest of mankind, as the
only Person who was designed to execute the offices, together with his
public investiture therein. For the right understanding of which, let it
be considered, that there was an eternal designation of him by the
Father thereunto: thus the apostle speaks of him, as one _who was
fore-ordained before the foundation of the world_, 1 Pet. i. 20. And
some think, that this is intended by that expression of the Psalmist, _I
will declare the decree; the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son,
this day have I begotten thee_, Psal. ii. 7. and that this is also
intended by _his being set up from everlasting_, Prov. viii. 23. This we
may call his eternal inauguration, which was the foundation, ground, and
reason of his incarnation, or of that inauguration, or investiture,
which was visible to men in time, which is the second thing to be
considered, in his being set apart to execute these offices.

When he came into the world, there was a glorious declaration given,
both to angels and men, that he was the Person whom God had conferred
this honour upon, and accordingly he received glory from them, as
Mediator, by a divine warrant; so some understand that scripture, _When
he bringeth in the first-begotten into the world, he saith, and let all
the angels of God worship him_, Heb. i. 6. And elsewhere we read, Luke
ii. 10, 11. of the angels being sent as heralds, to make proclamation of
this matter to men, at his first coming into the world. And, when he
entered on his public ministry, there was a divine declaration given, as
a farther visible confirmation hereof, immediately after his baptism,
when _the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God
descending like a dove, and lighting upon him, and lo, a voice from
heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased_,
Matt. iii. 16, 17. and John the Baptist was immediately raised up, as a
prophet, to signify this to the world, which he did at that time, when
our Saviour first entered on his public ministry, and speaks of him, as
_preferred before himself_, not only as having a more excellent nature,
but as being set apart to an higher office, than that which he was
called to; and accordingly he styles him, _The Lamb of God_, intimating,
that God had set him apart, as the great Sacrifice that was to be
offered for sin, John i. 29, 30. and, soon after this, he gives another
testimony hereunto, together with a glorious, yet just, character of the
Person, who was invested with this authority, when he says, concerning
him, _A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven_: q.
d. “I have not received this honour of being the Christ, and doing the
works which he does, but it is given him from heaven: I am not the
_bridegroom_ of the church, but _his friend_, who _rejoice greatly,
because of his voice; what he hath seen and heard, that he testified_;
and God hath sent him, _whose word he speaketh; for God giveth not the
Spirit by measure unto him; the Father loveth the Son, and hath given
all things into his hand_, John iii. 27-35. therefore he is set apart,
by him, to perform the work of a Mediator, which belongeth not unto me.”

2. Christ was furnished with authority, or had a commission given him,
to perform the work he was engaged in, as Mediator. This was absolutely
necessary, since, as the apostle says, concerning the priesthood in
general, that _no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is
called of God_, and authorized by him to perform it, _as was Aaron; so
also Christ glorified not himself, but he that said unto him, Thou art
my Son, to-day have I begotten thee_; and, _Thou art a Priest for ever,
after the order of Melchisedec_, Heb. v. 4-6. As it was reckoned an
intrusion, and no other than an instance of profaneness, for any one to
exercise a sacred office, without a divine warrant, it was necessary
that our Saviour should be furnished therewith: the work he was to
perform was glorious, the consequences thereof of the highest
importance, and his services would not have been accepted, or availed to
answer the great ends thereof, had he not received a commission from the
Father. And that he came into the world with this commission and
authority, derived from him, he constantly asserts and proves, he
asserts it, when speaking concerning himself, that _God the Father had
sealed him_, John vi. 27. and elsewhere says, _I have power to lay down
my life, and to take it again; this commandment have I received of my
Father_, John x. 18. and he not only asserts, but proves it; every
miracle that he wrought being a confirmation thereof, in which respect a
divine testimony was affixed to his commission: thus he says, _The works
that I do, in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me_, ver. 25. and
elsewhere, when he asserts his authority, and proves, that _the words
which he spake, he spake not of himself_; he adds, _the Father that
dwelleth in me, he doth the works_, John xiv. 10, 11. He appeals to
those miraculous works, which were performed either by himself, or by
the Father, which he might well do, because the Father and he had the
same divine power, and thereby intimates, that the commission, which he
received from the Father, was attested in this extraordinary manner.

3. Our Saviour’s unction included in it an ability to execute those
offices, which he was engaged in, as Mediator. We have before observed,
that when persons, under the ceremonial law, were anointed to execute
the offices either of prophet, priest, or king; this was not only an
ordinance, to signify that they had a divine warrant to execute them,
but they were hereby given to expect those qualifications that were
necessary to the discharge thereof. God never calls to an office, but he
qualifies for it: thus our Saviour was furnished with ability, as well
as authority; this was more especially applicable to his human nature,
in which he was to obey and suffer; as to his divine nature, that could
not be the subject of a derived power, or qualifications conferred upon
it. Now this ability, with which our Saviour was furnished, as man, was
that which rendered him fit to perform the work which he came into the
world about. As a Prophet, he was qualified to preach the gospel with
greater wisdom and authority than all others, who were ever engaged in
this work: his very enemies confessed, that _never man spake like him_,
John vii. 46. and he had continual assistance from God, which preserved
him from all mistakes; so that what he delivered was infallibly true,
and, as such to be depended on: he was also furnished with zeal for the
glory of God, yet such as was tempered with sympathy, meekness, and
compassion towards his people; and an holy courage, resolution, and
fortitude, which preserved him from fainting, or being discouraged under
all his sufferings; and a constant disposition and inclination to refer
all to the glory of the Father, and not to assume any branch of divine
honour to his human nature; and, by this means, the whole discharge of
his ministry was acceptable, both to God and man.

Thus concerning the reasons why our Saviour is called Christ. And this
leads us to consider the offices which he was anointed to execute, upon
the account whereof he is styled, the Prophet, Priest, and King of his
church. Here we shall premise some things in general concerning these
three offices; and then speak to each of them, as contained in the
following answers.

1. Concerning the number of the offices, which he executes; they are
_three_. Some have enquired, whether there are not more than three
executed by him, inasmuch as there are several characters and relations,
which Christ is described by, and is said to stand in, to his people,
besides those of Prophet, Priest, and King: thus he is styled, _The Head
of the body, the church_, Col. i. 18. and _an Husband_, to it, Isa. liv.
5. and _a Bridegroom_, John iii. 29. and elsewhere he is said to perform
the office of a _Shepherd_: thus he styles himself, _The good Shepherd_,
John x. 14. and he is called, _The Captain of our salvation_, Heb. ii.
10. and many other characters of the like nature are given him, from
whence some have taken occasion to think, that several of them contain
ideas, distinct from those of a Prophet, Priest, and King, and therefore
that there are more offices than these executed by him: but all that
need be said to this, is, that these, and other characters and
relations, which are ascribed to Christ in scripture, are all included
in, or reducible to one or other of these three offices; therefore we
have no reason to conclude, that he executes any other offices, distinct
from them, as Mediator.

2. The condition of fallen man, and the way in which God designed to
bring him to salvation, which was adapted thereunto, renders it
necessary that Christ should execute these three offices. Accordingly,
we are all of us, by nature, ignorant of, and prejudiced against divine
truth, as the apostle observes, _The natural man receiveth not the
things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither
can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned_, 1 Cor. ii.
14. therefore it is necessary that Christ should execute the office of a
Prophet, to lead us into all truth, and give this spiritual discerning
thereof.

Moreover, we are all _guilty before God_, Rom. iii. 19. and can by no
means make atonement, give satisfaction to his justice, or procure a
pardon; nor can we plead any thing done by us, as a ground thereof;
therefore we need that Christ should execute the office of a Priest, and
so first make atonement, and then intercession, for us.

And as to the way in which God brings his people to salvation, this
requires Christ’s executing his threefold office. Salvation must be
purchased, proclaimed, and applied; the first of these respects Christ’s
Priestly office; the second, his Prophetical; and the third, his Kingly;
accordingly he is said to be _made of God unto us wisdom, righteousness,
sanctification, and redemption_, 1 Cor. i. 30. and elsewhere he styles
himself, _The Way, the Truth, and the Life_, John xiv. 6.

Moreover, in the execution of these offices, and bringing us thereby to
salvation, he deals with God and man in different respects; with God,
more especially, as a Priest, in satisfying his justice, and procuring
his favour: thus the high priest under the law, who was a type of
Christ’s Priestly office, is said to be _ordained for men in things
pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for
sins_, Heb. v. 1. even so Christ, our great High Priest, by offering
himself a sacrifice, performed that part of his ministry which pertained
to God, in the behalf of men; and he also deals with God, by appearing
in his presence, continually making intercession for them; and, on the
other hand, he deals with men, as designing to bring them to God, which
he does more especially as a Prophet and King.

3. These three offices, which Christ executes, are distinct, and
therefore not to be confounded. This we maintain against Socinus, and
his followers: they speak, indeed, of Christ, as a Prophet, Priest, and
King, which they are obliged to do, because the words are so frequently
mentioned in scripture; yet the sense they give of them, amounts to
little more than an acknowledgment of his Prophetical office: and even
this, as they explain it, contains in it nothing more than what other
prophets, that went before him, either were, or might have been,
qualified to perform; for any one, who is under divine inspiration, may
infallibly declare the will of God, and give forth those laws, by which
God has ordained that his church should be governed; and our Saviour,
according to them, does little more than this. They speak of him,
indeed, as a Priest, but not as making satisfaction for our sins to the
justice of God, nor by interceding in the virtue thereof, but only by
putting up prayers and supplications to him on our behalf; which differs
very little from those prayers and supplications that were put up by
other prophets in behalf of the people.

Again, they speak of him as a King, but not as subduing our wills, or
conquering our enemies, by almighty power; or, if they allow that he
subdues us to himself, as a King, yet, in their farther explaining
thereof, they mean nothing else by it, but his gaining us over to his
side by arguments, freeing us from our ignorance, and over-coming our
prejudices against truth, by a clear revelation of it; or, if they speak
of his conquering our enemies, they intend nothing else by it, but his
guarding and defending his people, by furnishing them with arguments to
resist their subtle attempts against them, all which things are
reducible to his Prophetical office; so that, though they speak of him
as executing three offices, it is no more than if they should assert,
that he executes but one; and the most they intend by all this, is, that
he is a teacher, sent from God, and consequently not much superior in
excellency to Moses, who was a prophet, raised up from among his
brethren, and had the honourable character given him, that he was
_faithful in all his house_; whereas, the apostle proves, by what he
says of our Lord Jesus, that he was _counted worthy of more glory_, as
_he who hath builded the house, hath more honour than the house_; and
farther styles him a divine Person, when he says, he that _built all
things is God_, Heb. iii. 2, 3.

4. These three offices, which Christ executes, are not to be divided,
especially when they are executed in such a way, as is effectual to the
salvation of those who are concerned herein. He may, indeed, in an
objective way, reveal the will of God, or give laws to his church, as a
Prophet, without working savingly upon the understanding: he may also
execute his kingly office, as a judge, in pouring the vials of his wrath
on his enemies, without subduing the stubbornness of their wills, or
bringing them to the obedience of faith: nevertheless, we must conclude,
that, wheresoever he executes one of these offices in a saving way, he
executes them all. In this respect, though the offices be distinguished,
yet in the execution of them, they are not divided: thus whosoever is so
taught by him, as a Prophet, as to be made wise to salvation, is
redeemed by his blood, as a Priest, overcome by his power as a King, and
brought into subjection to his will in all things; so all for whom, as a
priest, he has purchased peace, to them he will, in his own time,
proclaim it, as a Prophet, and enable them to believe in him, by making
them willing in the day of his power.

5. He executes these offices in a twofold state; first, of humiliation,
and then of exaltation, with different circumstances agreeable
thereunto; which twofold state will be considered in some following
answers. What we shall observe, at present, concerning it is, that that
part of Christ’s priestly office, in which he made atonement for sin,
was executed on earth in his state of humiliation: whereas the other
part thereof, consisting in his intercession, together with some
branches of his prophetical and kingly office, were executed both in
earth and heaven, though in a different manner, agreeable to those
circumstances of glory in which he was, and is.

Footnote 139:

  _Prophets were, indeed, oftentimes set apart for that office, without
  anointing; but it seems probable, from the command of God to Elijah,
  to anoint Elisha to be a prophet in his room, that when they were
  called, in an extraordinary manner, to be public prophets, and in that
  respect, as it is said concerning the prophet Jeremiah,_ [chap. i.
  10.] Set over nations and kingdoms, _then they were not only
  sanctified and ordained hereunto, but the ceremony of anointing was
  used, especially when some other prophet was appointed to instal them
  in this office. And as for kings, though they were not always
  anointed, yet this ceremony was generally used, as is observed by some
  Jewish writers, when the kingdom was rent out of the hand of one, and
  another was, by immediate divine direction, substituted to reign in
  his stead: thus, when the kingdom was taken from Saul, David was
  anointed; and it was also used in other instances, though the crown
  was inherited by lineal descent, when any other made pretensions to
  it. Thus David commanded Solomon to be anointed, because Adonijah
  pretended to it,_ [1 Kings i. 34.] _And Joash was anointed, though he
  had a right to the crown, as descended from Ahaziah, who was king
  before him, because the crown had, for some time, been usurped by
  Athaliah,_ [2 Kings xi. 12.] _In these, and such like cases, kings
  were installed in their office by unction, though, in other instances,
  it was not universally practised._



                             Quest. XLIII.


    QUEST. XLIII. _How doth Christ execute the office of a Prophet?_

    ANSW. Christ executeth the office of a Prophet, in his revealing to
    the church, in all ages, by his Spirit and word, in divers ways of
    administration, the whole will of God, in all things concerning
    their edification and salvation.

That which may be first observed, before we consider the parts of
Christ’s prophetical office, and the manner of his executing it, is the
order in which it is mentioned, as set before his priestly and kingly
offices, which may give us occasion to enquire whether it be executed
before them.

1. If we consider the natural order of his executing his three offices,
or the dependence of the execution of them, one on the other, then it
must be observed, that he first executes his priestly office, and,
pursuant hereunto, his prophetical and kingly; for sinners must first be
redeemed by his blood, before they can be brought to a saving knowledge
of him, or an entire subjection to him; therefore he first deals with
God as a Priest, in our behalf, and thereby prepares the way of
salvation, and lays the foundation thereof, in his oblation and
intercession, and then, as a Prophet and King, he deals with men, and
thereby brings them to God. In this respect, therefore, if these three
offices were to be laid down in their natural order, we must say, that
Christ executes the office of a Priest, Prophet, and King.

2. If we consider the order in which our Saviour executed these offices,
in the exercise of his public ministry, we may say, he first produced
his commission, or proclaimed the end of his coming into the world, and
proved himself to be the Messiah, and so discovered himself to his
people, as the great Prophet of his church; and, after that, he laid
down his life, as a sacrifice for sin, as a Priest, and then he
conquered his enemies, spoiled principalities and powers, and exerted
the exceeding greatness of his power, in the application of redemption,
as a King. It is in this respect that the offices of Christ are
generally treated of, in the same method in which they are here laid
down; so that his prophetical office is first mentioned, which is what
we are now to consider. And,

I. We shall shew how Christ is described, in scripture, as the Prophet
of his church. There are many expressions whereby his prophetical office
is set forth: Thus he is styled, _a Teacher come from God_, John iii. 2.
and he calls himself our _Master_, Matt. xxiii. 8. or the Lord of our
faith, and, as such, is distinguished from all other teachers, some of
which affected very much to be called Rabbi, and would persuade the
world, by an implicit faith, to believe whatever they said: But our
Saviour advises his disciples to refuse that title; for, says he, _One
is your master, even Christ_.

Again, he is called, _a law-giver_, Mat. xxxiii. 22. or, the one and
only lawgiver; and, it is added, that he differs from all other
law-givers, in that he is _able to save, and to destroy_, James iv. 12.
he is also called, _The Angel_, or _Messenger of the covenant_, who
reveals the covenant of grace to us; and brings these glad tidings, that
is, in him, reconciling the world to himself.

He is also called, _The apostle_, as well as the high Priest, _of our
profession_, Heb. iii. 1. as he was first sent of God to publish peace,
before he appointed others, who are called apostles, or inferior
ministers to him, to pursue the same design. He is also styled, _A
witness to the people_, their _leader_ and _commander_, Isa. lv. 4. and
he is farther described, as a _faithful witness_, Rev. i. 5.

And he is set forth by several metaphorical expressions, which denote
the execution of this office, _viz._ _The light which shineth in
darkness_, John i. 5. Thus the prophet Isaiah describes him, when he
says, _Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is
risen upon thee_, Isa. lx. 1. He is likewise compared to the sun, the
fountain of light, and so called, _The Sun of righteousness_, that was
_to arise with healing in his wings_, Mal. iv. 2. and, _The bright and
morning star_, Rev. xxii. 16. by which, and many other expressions to
the same purpose, this prophetical office of Christ is set forth in
scripture.

II. We shall now consider what Christ does in the execution of his
prophetical office, as he is said to reveal the will of God to his
church. And,

1. How he was qualified for this work, which supposes him to have a
perfect knowledge of the divine will. We have before observed, that the
Socinians, agreeably to the low thoughts they have of him, as a mere
creature, suppose, that he was unacquainted with the will of God till he
entered on his public ministry; and, in order to his being instructed
therein, that he was, soon after his baptism, taken into heaven, and
there learned, from the Father, what he was to impart to mankind, which
they suppose to be the meaning of those scriptures, that speak of him,
as _coming down from heaven_, or _coming forth from the Father_, into
the world, John vi. 38. compared with chap. xvi. 28. and his _speaking
as the Father had taught him_, or _what he had seen with his Father_,
chap. viii. 28, 38. But, since we have shewn the absurdity of this
opinion elsewhere, when speaking in defence of our Saviour’s deity[140],
and have considered that those scriptures, which mention his coming down
from heaven, plainly refer to his incarnation, and that the mode of
expression is the same, as when God is said, in other scriptures, to
come down into this lower world, by his manifestative presence here,
which is not inconsistent with his omnipresence; therefore I shall only
add, at present, that those scriptures, which speak of Christ’s being
taught the things which he was to impart to the church, as they do not
overthrow the omniscience of his divine nature; so they give no
countenance to this supposition, that his human nature was taken up into
heaven to be taught the will of God. In this nature, indeed, he needed
instruction, and had no knowledge but what he received by communication;
and it is plainly said of him, that he _increased in wisdom_, as he
advanced in age: But the knowledge which he had, as man, which was
sufficient to furnish him for the execution of this office, proceeded
from a two-fold cause, namely, the union of that nature with his divine
Person, the result whereof was, his having all those perfections that
belong to it, of which the knowledge of divine things is one; for it
would have been a dishonour to him, as God, to be united to a nature
that had the least blemish or defect, or was unqualified to perform the
work which he was therein to engage in. And, besides this, our Saviour
had an unction from the Holy Ghost, which, as has been already observed,
implies not only his receiving a commission, but, together therewith,
all necessary qualifications to discharge the work he was engaged in,
which include in them his knowing the whole will of God; as it is said,
_God gave not the Spirit by measure unto him_, John iii. 34. that is, he
gave it in a greater measure to him, than he ever did to any other, as
the work, that he was to engage in, required it.

2. Let us now consider what is the will of God, which Christ reveals.
This includes in it every thing that relates to our salvation, or that
is necessary to be known and believed by us, in order thereunto, viz.
that God had an eternal design to glorify his grace, in the recovery of
a part of mankind from that guilt and misery, in which they were
involved, and putting them into the possession of compleat blessedness;
and that, in order hereunto, each of the Persons in the Godhead designed
to demonstrate their distinct Personal glory, that, in this respect,
they might receive adoration and praise from men; the Father, as sending
our Saviour, to be a Redeemer; the Son, as taking that character and
work upon him; and the Spirit, as applying the redemption purchased by
him.

Moreover, he was to make a public proclamation that salvation was
attainable; and that the way to attain it, was by sinners coming to him
as a Mediator, by whom they might have access to the Father; and to
invite them to come to him by faith; as he often does in the gospel. He
was also to let them know, that this faith is the gift of God, and in
what way they may expect to attain it, to wit, in a constant attendance
on the ordinances of his own appointment; and, to encourage them
hereunto, that there are many great and precious promises, which are all
put into his hand, to apply and make good to his people. These, and many
other things, which contain in them the sum and substance of the gospel,
are what we understand by the will of God, which Christ communicates, as
a Prophet, to his church. As it may be observed, that these doctrines
are such as are matter of pure revelation, which could not have been
known without it, as well as of the highest importance, and therefore
worthy to be made known by so excellent a Person. And this leads us to
consider,

III. The persons to whom Christ reveals the will of God, namely, the
church; to them the lively oracles of God are committed; and they are
built on the foundations of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ
himself being the chief Corner-stone. As for the world, which is
sometimes opposed to the church, it is said, that, _by wisdom it knew
not God_, 1 Cor. i. 21. that is, not in such a way as he is revealed in
the gospel; but the church, which Christ loved, and for which he gave
himself, is said to be _sanctified by the word_, Eph. v. 26. and _to
them it is given, to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven; but to
others it is not given_, Matt. xiii. 11. so that the church is the seat,
and the object of the execution of Christ’s prophetical, as well as of
his other offices; _They are taught by him as the truth is in Jesus_,
Eph. iv. 21.

IV. We are now to consider the way and means by which Christ reveals the
will of God to the church; there are two ways by which this is done.

1. Objectively, which is an external method of instruction, the effect
and consequence whereof is our hearing of him by the hearing of the ear,
or as the apostle calls it, our _having the form of knowledge, and of
the truth in the law_, Rom. ii. 20. This instruction Christ is said to
give by the word: And this he did; first, by publishing the glad tidings
of salvation in his own Person, which he mentions, as one great end for
which he was sent into the world, as he says, _I must preach the kingdom
of God, for therefore am I sent_, Luke iv. 43. and accordingly he styles
himself, _The Light of the world_, John viii. 12. and it is said, that
_he was anointed to preach good things unto the meek, sent to bind up
the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening
of the prison to them that are bound_, Isa. lxi. 1. and when he is
represented, as complying with the call of God, and _delighting to do
his will_, he adds, _I have preached righteousness in the great
congregation; lo, I have not refrained my lips, O Lord, thou knowest, I
have not hid thy righteousness within my heart, I have declared thy
faithfulness and thy salvation; I have not concealed thy
loving-kindness, and thy truth, from the great congregation_, Psal. xl.
9, 10. And as Christ preached the gospel in his own Person, so, when he
left the world, he gave commission to others to preach it, and his
Spirit to instruct them what they should deliver, by whose inspiration
his word was committed to writing, which is the fountain of all truth;
and, by this means, the church attains, as at this day, the knowledge
thereof.

2. Our Saviour reveals the will of God to his people, in a subjective
way, which is internal, whereby he deals with their hearts, which he
disposes and fits to receive the truth: Hereby he opens the eyes of the
understanding, to see a beauty and glory in the gospel, and inclines all
the powers and faculties of the soul to be conformed to it; and this he
does more especially in those in whom he executes his prophetical office
effectually, unto salvation. This is styled, in this answer, Christ’s
executing his prophetical office by his Spirit, as distinguished from
the execution thereof by his word. We read sometimes of the Spirit’s
teaching us, in scripture as our Saviour tells his disciples, that He,
viz. the Spirit, _would guide them into all truth_, John xvi. 13. and of
believers _having their souls purified, in obeying the truth, through
the Spirit_, 1 Pet. i. 22. and at other times of Christ’s teaching by
his Spirit. Now there is no essential difference between Christ’s
teaching as God, and the Spirit’s teaching, since the divine glory of
the Son and Spirit, to which this effect is attributed, is the same: But
Christ’s teaching by his Spirit, only denotes, as was before observed
under a foregoing answer, the subserviency of the Spirit’s acting
herein, to Christ’s executing this branch of his prophetical office,
whereby he demonstrates his personal glory[141].

V. We are now to consider the various ages in which Christ is said to
execute this office. That he did this after his incarnation; first, in
his own Person, and then, by taking care that his gospel should be
preached in all succeeding ages, until his second coming, has been
already considered. We may also observe, that Christ executed his
prophetical office before his incarnation: Thus it is said, that, _by
his Spirit, he preached unto the spirits in prison_, that is, to the
world before the flood, who are represented in the words immediately
following, as _disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited
in the days of Noah, while the ark was preparing_, 1 Pet. iii. 19, 20.
so that Noah who was a prophet, was his inferior minister, raised up,
and spirited by him, to preach to the world, which upon that account, is
called Christ’s preaching, and accordingly herein he executed his
prophetical office. And he is also said to have given the law from mount
Sinai, as the apostle’s words seem to intimate, when he says, _Whose
voice shook the earth_, Heb. xii. 26. to wit, mount Sinai, which
trembled when he gave the law from thence; and that this refers to our
Saviour, appears from the words immediately foregoing, wherein it is
said, _See that ye refuse not him that speaketh_, namely, Christ; _for
if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth_, to wit, from
mount Sinai, or when he spake on earth, _much more shall not we escape
if we turn away from him, that speaketh from heaven; whose voice then
shook the earth_, &c. ver. 25.

Moreover, that he executed his prophetical office before his
incarnation, and thereby led his church into the knowledge of divine
truth, is evident, from the account we have, in scripture, of his
appearing to them in the form of a man, or an angel, which he more
frequently did, before the word of God was committed to writing, and
afterwards occasionally in following ages: Thus he appeared to Moses in
the burning bush, and sent him into Egypt to demand liberty for Israel,
and afterwards he led them through the red sea, as appearing in the
pillar of the cloud and fire; and he is described, as _the angel which
was with Moses in the church in the wilderness which spake to him in
mount Sinai, and with our fathers, who received the lively oracles_,
Acts vii. 38. which is a farther proof of what was before mentioned,
that he gave the law from thence; and while they travelled through the
wilderness, he _led them about_, or went before them, in the pillar of
cloud, and _instructed them_, Deut. xxxii. 10. so that all the knowledge
of divine things, which they attained to, was the result of the
execution of his prophetical office unto them. And when at any time they
opposed Moses, his under-minister, he appeared in Person and vindicated
him; as in that particular instance, occasioned by Aaron’s and Miriam’s
speaking against him, wherein it is said, _The Lord came down in a
pillar of a cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and said, If
there be a prophet among you, I, the Lord, will make myself known unto
him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream; my servant Moses is
not so, who is faithful in all mine house_, Numb. xii. 5-7. which is a
farther intimation, that Christ then executed his prophetical office, by
inspiring the prophets, who were raised up at that time.[142]

To conclude this head, we may observe the difference between Christ’s
executing his Prophetical office, before and after his incarnation. In
the former of these, as was but now hinted, he occasionally assumed the
likeness of the human nature, that he might the better converse with
man, but was not really incarnate; in the latter, he delivered the mind
and will of God, as dwelling in our nature. Before this, he discovered
what was necessary to be known by the church at that time, and gave them
those promises which related to the work of our redemption, to be
performed by him: but, in the present execution of his Prophetical
office, he opens a more glorious scene, and represents all those
promises, as having their accomplishment in him, and displays the divine
perfections, in bringing about our salvation, in their greatest beauty
and lustre.

Footnote 140:

  See Vol. I. Page 347-350.

Footnote 141:

  See Vol. I. Page 291, 292.

Footnote 142:

  _The force of this argument, and the application of these and several
  other scriptures to Christ, depend upon this supposition, which, we
  take for granted, and, were it needful, might easily be proved, that
  whenever a divine person is said, in scripture, to appear in the form
  of an angel, or to appear in a cloud as a symbol, or emblem of his
  presence, this is always meant of our Saviour._ But compare Watts’s
  Works, 5 vol. 381, and Edwards’s Works, 4 vol. 491.



                              Quest. XLIV.


    QUEST. XLIV. _How doth Christ execute the office of a Priest?_

    ANSW. Christ executeth the office of a Priest, in his once offering
    himself a sacrifice, without spot, to God, to be a reconciliation
    for the sins of his people, and in making continual intercession for
    them.

In considering Christ’s Priestly office, as described in this answer, we
may observe the two great branches thereof, namely, the offering himself
a sacrifice; and making intercession. There are several scriptures which
expressly mention both of them: thus he is said, _through the eternal
Spirit, to have offered himself without spot, to God_, Heb. ix. 14. and
then described as having _entered into heaven, now to appear in the
presence of God for us_, ver. 24. and elsewhere the apostle speaks of
him, as _having an unchangeable priesthood, and being able to save them
to the uttermost that come unto God by him_, and that this is founded on
his offering up himself, and making intercession for them, chap. vii.
24, 25, 27. In considering this, we may observe,

I. The reason of his being styled a Priest, which denomination was taken
from those who exercised the priestly office under the ceremonial law,
who were types of him, as such: accordingly we may consider; that the
office of the priesthood was executed by sundry persons, appointed to
this service. A priest was a public minister, who was to serve at the
altar, _to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins_, Heb. v. 1. That
these were offered in all the ages of the church, after the fall of man,
appears, from the sacrifice that Abel offered, which the apostle calls
an _excellent one_, and, upon this occasion, says, that _he obtained
witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts_, Heb. xi. 4.
and therefore it follows, that it was instituted by him: yet it does not
appear that there was, in that early age of the church, a set of men
solemnly and publickly invested in this office: but the heads of
families are generally supposed to have been the public ministers in
holy things, and particularly priests, though they do not appear to have
been then so styled; and thus it continued till about the time that God
brought Israel out of Egypt, when, by his appointment, all the
first-born of the children of Israel were consecrated to him; and these
officiated as priests, during that small interval of time, till the
priesthood was settled in the tribe of Levi, upon which occasion God
says, _I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel,
instead of all the first-born, because all the first-born are mine; for
on the day that I smote all the first-born, in the land of Egypt, I
hallowed unto me all the first-born in Israel_, Numb. iii. 12, 13. And,
when God gave the ceremonial law from mount Sinai, he appointed that
tribe to minister as priests in holy things. Of these some had one part
of the ministry of the sanctuary committed to them, and others another;
particularly the priesthood, or the charge of offering gifts and
sacrifices, was more, especially committed to the family of Aaron, of
which the eldest son, in their respective generations, was generally
advanced to the high priesthood, and other descendants from him were
common priests, who acted under, or were assistants to him in all the
parts of his ministry, excepting that which respected his entering into
the holy of holies. These were invested in their respective offices by
unction, though the high priest’s office and unction had some things
peculiar in it, in which it exceeded theirs; and they were all types of
Christ’s priesthood, though the high priest was so in an eminent degree;
which leads us to consider,

II. The Priesthood of Christ, as typified under the ceremonial law, and
that either by the service which was commonly performed by the high
priest, and other priests under him, or as it was typified by
Melchizedec, who is occasionally mentioned in scripture, as shadowing
forth Christ’s Priesthood in some particular instances, which were not
contained in other types thereof.

1. We shall speak concerning the priests under the law, as types of
Christ’s Priesthood, and particularly shew wherein their priesthood
agrees with, or differs from his.

(1.) Wherein they agree.

_1st, Every high priest was taken from among men_, as the apostle
observes, Heb. v. 1. _and was ordained for men in things pertaining to
God_. And, to this we may add, that he was taken from among his
brethren, and so must be a member of that church, in whose name he
administered, and of which he was the head, by the dignity of his
office. In this, he was a lively type of Christ, who, in order to his
being an High Priest, became man, that he might perform this ministry
for men in things pertaining to God. It is true, the validity of his
office, or the efficacy thereof to answer its designed end, arose from
the dignity of his Person, as God; yet the matter thereof, or the
ministry he performed, required that he should be taken from among men,
and have all the essential properties of the human nature; so that, as
the high priest was taken out of the church, or from among his brethren,
and, by office, was the head thereof, Christ was a member of the church,
and, as such, complied with those ordinances which God had instituted
therein, and from the dignity of his Person and office, was the Head
thereof: as a Member of it, he was exposed to the same temptations and
miseries as they are, and so is able to sympathize with, and succour
them under all their temptations, Heb. iv. 15. compared with chap. v. 2.
and as the Head thereof, he manages all affairs relating to it, and
expects that all his people should be entirely subjected to him.

_2dly_, The matter of the priest’s office, or the things that were
offered by him, were, as was before observed, gifts and sacrifices
offered for the remission of sins; which blessing could not be attained
without shedding of blood, as the apostle observes, _without shedding of
blood there is no remission_, chap. ix. 22. Thus Christ was to redeem
his people, and procure forgiveness of sins, and make atonement for them
by sacrifice, or by the shedding of blood.

_3dly_, After the high priest had offered sacrifices, there was another
part of that ministry, which was peculiar to himself, in which he was an
eminent type of Christ, which he performed but once a year, to wit, on
the great day of expiation, when he went into the holiest of all within
the vail, with blood and incense; the blood he sprinkled on the
mercy-seat over the ark, and caused the smoke of the incense to ascend
and cover the mercy-seat, and from thence he received an intimation from
God, that the sacrifices, which he had offered for the people, were
accepted, after which he went out, and blessed them, in the name of the
Lord; in all which, he was a lively type of Christ’s executing his
Priestly office, chap. ix. 3, 7. compared with Lev. xvi. 14. who first
offered an acceptable sacrifice for us on earth, and then entered into
heaven, (which was typified by the priest’s entering into the holy of
holies) to present his sacrifice before God, and to make intercession
for us; and, as the consequence hereof, he blesses his people, in
turning them from all their iniquities, and in conferring all the other
fruits and effects of his sacrifice upon them. Thus Christ’s Priesthood
was shadowed forth by that ministry, which was performed by the priests
under the ceremonial law; nevertheless,

(2.) There were many things in which they differed; as,

_1st_, The priests under the law were mere men; but Christ, though truly
man, was more than a man. Though he was made, in all the essential
properties of the human nature, like unto us; yet he had a divine
nature, in which he was equal with God; and therefore his ministry could
not but be infinitely more valuable, than that of any others, who were
types of him.

_2dly_, The priests under the law were of the tribe of Levi, and
therefore theirs is called, by the apostle, _The Levitical priesthood_,
Heb. vii. 11. But our Saviour, as Man, was of the tribe of Judah, and
therefore did not derive his priesthood from them by descent, as they
did from one another, chap. vii. 13, 14.

_3dly_, The sacrifices which were offered by the priests under the law,
were no other than the blood of beasts, appointed for that purpose; but
Christ offered his own blood, chap. ix. 12,14.

_4thly_, The priests under the law were sinners; accordingly Aaron was
obliged _first_ to offer up _sacrifice for his own sins, and then for
the peoples’_, chap. vii. 27. but Christ needed not to do this, for _he
was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners_, ver. 26.

_5thly_, The sacrifices offered by the priests under the law, could not
expiate, or _take away sins_, chap. x. 4. but Christ, by the offering
that he has made, has _for ever perfected them that are sanctified_, or
made a full atonement for all sin. Now since it is said, that it was
impossible for sin to be expiated by the sacrifices under the law, we
are to enquire in what sense atonement was, or could not be made
thereby: if the sin was of such a nature, or that it was punishable by
human judicature, the making atonement by sacrifice, in many instances,
put a stop to the prosecution, and took away the guilt, which the person
had contracted, as to any farther proceedings of men against him; for
this was an ordinance appointed by God, in which the offender had an
external and visible recourse to the blood of Jesus, signified by the
blood which he offered; and this is supposed to have been accompanied
with repentance for the sin committed, which gave satisfaction to the
church, as to what concerned this matter, as offensive to them; and they
could demand no more of the offender, in order to their declaring, that,
so far as they were judges, his guilt was expiated, by that which was
signified by the sacrifice which he brought, which was offered for him,
and therefore the crime that he committed was pardoned.

It is true, there were some crimes that were to be punished with death;
and, in this case, the church was not to receive satisfaction by
sacrifice, nor were proceedings against the guilty person to be stopped
by this means: and, among other crimes, that of wilful murder was one
which admitted of no sacrifice; so, I think, the meaning of what the
Psalmist says, is to be understood, _Thou desirest not sacrifice, else
would I give it_, Psal. li. 16. as implying, that the guilt of blood was
such, that he had hereby forfeited his life, which, though no subject
had power enough to take away, yet God might, for this, have set his
face against him, and have cut him off, in a visible manner, from among
his people, as he often did, when crimes were not punished in a legal
way. This punishment God graciously remitted, when he told him, by
Nathan, that _he had put away his sin, he should not die_, 2 Sam. xii.
13. and David, when he testifies his repentance, in this Psalm, would
have offered sacrifice, but he finds that none was ordained for the sin
he had committed. In other cases, indeed, the church was satisfied,
excommunication, or some other punishment, prevented, and the offender
taken into favour, by his offering sacrifice, in which respect, this
service is called making atonement for him: but, in other respects, it
was impossible to expiate sin thereby, so as to procure justification in
the sight of God; for they could not expiate it, as to what concerns the
conscience, as it is said, that _the sacrifices could not make him, that
did the service, perfect, as pertaining to the conscience_, Heb. ix. 9.
so that, that guilt of sin, which burdens the consciences of men, as
having more immediately to do with God, was taken away only by Christ’s
sacrifice; in which respect, the efficacy hereof far exceeds all the
ends and designs of the sacrifices, which were offered under the law.
And this farther appears, inasmuch as these sacrifices were to be
repeated, there being a continual remembrance of sin; for this supposes,
that sin was not hereby wholly expiated in the sight of God: and, in
this, they also differ from the sacrifice Christ offered, inasmuch as
that, being effectual to take away sin, was offered but once, chap. x.
10, 14.

_6thly_, The priests under the law were mortal, and therefore the
priesthood was successive; but Christ, as he was not from them by a
lineal descent so he had no successor in his priesthood. In this, the
apostle opposes him to them, when he says, _They truly were many,
because they were not suffered to continue, by reason of death; but this
man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood_, chap.
vii. 23.

Again, as the priesthood ceased, in particular persons, by death, so the
high priesthood was sometimes taken away from those that were advanced
unto it, for some instances of maladministration: thus the high
priesthood, for some time, descended in the line of Eleazar, the elder
branch of Aaron’s family; and afterwards, during the reign of the
judges, it was transferred to the younger branch of his family, namely,
the descendants from Ithamar, in which line it was when Eli was high
priest; and afterwards, when his sons, by their vile behaviour,
forfeited their right to the high priesthood, and God threatened that he
would take it away from his family, 1 Sam. ii. 30. compared with ver.
35. and 1 Kings ii. 35. (which was accomplished when Abiathar, in the
beginning of Solomon’s reign, was thrust from the priesthood) it again
descended in Zadock, to the elder branch of Aaron’s family.

Again the priesthood itself was not designed to continue for ever, but
only during that dispensation; after which, there was to be no altar,
priests, nor sacrifice: But Christ’s priesthood, as it was unalienable,
so it could never be forfeited by male-administration, or descend to any
other; therefore he is said to be a _Priest for ever_, which seems to be
the meaning of that scripture, in which his priesthood is considered, as
different from the Levitical priesthood, as _those priests were made
without an oath; but this with an oath, by him that said unto him, The
Lord sware, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever_, chap. vii.
21. which oath not only signifies the establishing of him in his
priesthood, but it secured to him that he should never fall from it.

There are other things in which Christ’s priesthood differs from that of
the priests under the law, in that _they entered into the holy places
made with hands, but Christ into heaven it self_, chap. ix. 7. compared
with ver. 24. and then it was only the high priest that was to enter
into the holy of holies: But, as the apostle observes, that under the
gospel, in the virtue of Christ’s sacrifice, all believer’s are admitted
into the holiest of all, that is, they have access through faith, into
the presence of God, by the blood of Jesus.

And lastly, under the law, there was a certain order of men that were
priests, and yet all the people were not so; but, under the
gospel-dispensation, believers are styled, an _holy_ and _a royal
priesthood_, and _the sacrifices they offer up, are spiritual
sacrifices, acceptable to God, by Jesus Christ_, 1 Pet. ii. 5, 9. And
this leads us,

2. To consider Christ’s priesthood, as typified by Melchizedek,
concerning whom it is said, in Gen. xiv. 18, 19, 20. that Melchizedek,
_king of Salem, brought forth bread and wine to Abraham, returning from
the slaughter of the kings; and he was priest of the most high God, and
he blessed him_, &c. And this is referred to, as tending to set forth
Christ’s priesthood, in Psal. cx. 4. _The Lord hath sworn and will not
repent; thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek_; and
the apostle, in Heb. vii. refers to these scriptures, which are the only
places of the Old Testament where this is mentioned, and applies them to
Christ’s priesthood as containing many things which were not typified by
the Aaronical priesthood. And it may be observed, that when the apostle
enters on this subject, he premises this concerning it, that it
contained a very great difficulty, as he says, _Of whom_ [i. e.
_Melchizedek_] _we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered_,
Heb. v. 11. that is, hard to be explained, so as to be fully understood;
it will be no strange thing therefore if we cannot fully explain it, or
assert some things concerning it, which are only probable; and certainly
this observation of the apostle should induce us to treat on this
subject with the greatest humility and modesty. As to what we have to
say concerning it, I hope we shall advance nothing contrary to the
analogy of faith, how difficult soever some phrases, used in scripture,
relating thereunto, may seem to be: And the method in which we shall
proceed, shall be; _first_, to enquire who this Melchizedek was; and,
_secondly_, how we have herein an eminent type of Christ’s priesthood in
some things, in which it was not shadowed forth by the Aaronical
priesthood.

We shall now enquire who this Melchizedek probably was; and here we pass
by the conjecture of some who lived in an early age of Christianity,
whom Epiphanius mentions[143], who supposed that he was the Holy Ghost;
which appears to be a very absurd notion, inasmuch as we never read in
scripture, of the Holy Ghost’s appearing in the form of a man, nor of
his performing any of those offices which belong to the Mediator; and
therefore it is equally contrary, to the tenor of scripture, to call him
the priest of the most high God, as it is to call the Father so; and
thus Melchizedek is styled, in the scripture we are explaining. I shall
add no more, as to this ungrounded opinion; but proceed to consider that
which is more commonly acquiesced in, namely,

_First_, That he was a man: But when it is farther enquired, what man?
there are three different opinions relating hereunto.

(1.) The Jews generally conclude that he was Shem, the son of Noah, as
also do many other ancient and modern writers, who pay a deference to
their authority and reasoning[144]. The principal thing that induces
them to be of this opinion, is, because it appears, from
scripture-chronology, that Shem was living at that time, when Abraham
returned from the slaughter of the kings[145]. And they farther add,
that Shem, having received the patriarchal benediction from his father,
might truly be reckoned the greatest man in the church, and that both as
a priest and a king, as Melchizedek is described to be. But there are
two very considerable objections against this opinion, which have weight
enough in them, if not to overthrow it, at least to make it very
doubtful: namely,

_1st_, That Shem’s father, mother, and descent, together with the
beginning of his life, and afterwards the end thereof, were well known,
the year when he was born, and the time that he lived, being
particularly mentioned in scripture; and therefore the apostle could not
say concerning him, as he does concerning Melchizedek, that _he was
without father, without mother, without descent having neither beginning
of days, nor end of life_; meaning, as most expositors suppose, that he
was so, because these were not known, or mentioned in scripture.

_2dly_, It is very plain from scripture, that Shem’s place of abode was
not in the land of Canaan, and therefore he could not be said to be king
of Salem, that is as it is understood by the greatest number of
expositors, of Jerusalem; since this was the seat of the posterity of
Ham, one of Shem’s brethren; accordingly from Canaan, his son, that land
took its name. This evidently appears from what is said in Gen. x. 6-20.
where the Jebusite, Emorite, Hivite, and other inhabitants of the land
of Canaan, are said to be the descendants of Ham. For these reasons,
Melchizedek does not appear to have been Shem.

(2.) There is one learned writer, who conjectures that this Melchizedek
was Ham[146], which, indeed, agrees very well with the place of his
residence: But there are other things which render this opinion not in
the least probable; not only because the same thing may be observed of
Ham, as was before of Shem, that he could not be said to be without
father, without mother, without beginning of years, and end of life: But
it may farther be said concerning him, that he had not received the
patriarchal benediction from Noah, his posterity having had a curse
entailed upon them, as it is said, in Gen. ix. 25. _Cursed be Canaan_.
Therefore some question, whether Ham might be reckoned a member of the
church,[147] much more whether he deserved to be called a priest of the
most high God, and king of righteousness; though it is true, this
author[148] supposes, that Ham was not cursed by Noah, but only Canaan
his son, and his posterity; therefore he might have been an excellent
person, and deserved the character given of Melchizedek. But there are
very few who will be convinced by this method of reasoning; and
therefore we pass it over, and proceed to consider,

(3.) That the greatest part of divines suppose, that it is not only the
safest, but most probable way of solving this difficulty, to confess,
that it is impossible to determine who he was, and that the Holy Ghost
has purposely concealed this matter, from us, that he might be a more
eminent type of Christ; and therefore they suppose him to have been a
certain unknown king and priest residing at Jerusalem, at that time when
Abraham was met by him, and that this ought to put a full stop to all
farther enquiries about him: upon which account, it may well be said,
concerning him, that he was without father, without mother, _&c._ that
is, these were not known; and what does not appear to be, is sometimes
said, in scripture, not to be. Thus concerning their opinion, who
suppose that he was a man.

_Secondly_, There is another opinion concerning him, which though not so
commonly received as the first and third above mentioned, which though
probably it may not be without some difficulties attending it, yet it
very much deserves our consideration, namely, that Melchizedek was our
Lord Jesus Christ himself, assuming, at that time, the form of a man,
and personating a priest and a king, as he did on several occasions,
designing thereby to prefigure his future incarnation[149][150] And it
is argued in defence of this opinion,

_1st_, That when the apostle describes him as king of Salem, he does not
hereby intend Jerusalem, or that at that time, he resided there: But, as
he explains it, in the words immediately following, it implies, that he
was _king of peace_, as this word Salem signifies; and accordingly he is
set forth by two of those glorious titles, which are given him elsewhere
in scripture, namely, king of righteousness, as it is said concerning
him, that _a king shall rise and prosper, who is called, The Lord our
righteousness_, Jer. xxiii. 5, 6. and likewise, _The Prince of Peace_,
Isa. ix. 6. And that which makes this opinion more probable, is, that it
doth not appear that Jerusalem was called Salem, which is supposed to be
a contraction of the word Jerusalem, till some ages after this; for,
till David conquered it, it was commonly known by the name of Jebus, 1
Chron. xi. 4.

_2dly_, The apostle’s description of him, as being _without father,
without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor
end of life_, is rather applicable to a divine Person than a mere man.
And as for the sense, which is generally given of these words, namely,
that he was without father, _&c._ because no mention is made thereof in
scripture, _viz._ in those two scriptures in the Old Testament, in which
he is spoken of; this seems more strained and forced, than to understand
them according to the proper sense of the words; and, if, indeed, this
imports nothing else, but the silence of scripture, with relation
thereunto, there are many other persons who have as great a right to
this character as Melchizedek; as Job, Elijah, _&c._ whereas Melchizedek
is thus described, as distinguished from all others.

To this we may add, (which will farther strengthen this argument) what
the apostle says, that in this respect, he was _made like the Son of
God_, that is, as is generally supposed, a type of him. Now, if his
being without _father_, _mother_, _descent_, &c. in the common
acceptation of the words, be inconsistent with his being a type of
Christ to the church, in Abraham’s time, then certainly that cannot be
the sense thereof; for he was, without doubt, a type of his priestly,
and kingly office to him, and the church, in his days, as well as to
those who lived in following ages. Now, that he could not be a type
thereof to many, who lived in that age, is evident; for they, who lived
in the place where he was born and died, knew his father, mother,
descent, beginning, or end of life; therefore he was no type of Christ’s
eternal priesthood to them. And as for Abraham, though he might not know
his father, mother, or descent, or the exact time when he was born, and
so, in that respect he might, in part, he made like to the Son of God,
to him, as signifying, that his priestly office was not derived by
descent, as the Aaronical priesthood descended from parents to children:
yet he could not be a type of the everlasting duration of Christ’s
priestly office since he was then no more without end of days, in the
common sense in which that expression was taken, than Abraham, or any
other who lived with him, who could not be supposed to know the time, or
place, of their death. And, if, according to the common opinion,
Melchizedek is said to be without father, mother, descent, _&c._ because
there is no mention thereof in scripture, this could not be a type to
Abraham, or any other, before the word of God was committed to writing.

_3dly_, There is another thing, which may be observed in the apostle’s
description of him, Heb. viii. 8. when he says, that _he liveth_,[151]
and accordingly is opposed to those priests that _die_, by which he
seems to be described as immortal, and so opposed to mortal men. It is
not said, that he once lived, and that we have no mention made of the
time of his death, but _he liveth_, which some conclude to be an
ascription of that divine perfection to him, whereby he is styled the
living God, or, as it is said in one of the following verses, _He ever
liveth_, ver. 25. to denote his eternal priesthood; or, as he says
concerning himself elsewhere, _I am he that liveth, and was dead, and
behold I am alive for evermore_, Rev. i. 8.

_4thly_, That which still makes this opinion more probable, is the
consideration of the place, where they, who defend the other side of the
question, suppose he lived, and the people to whom he ministered as a
priest, which seems not agreeable to the character given him, as the
greatest priest on earth. The inhabitants of Jerusalem, at that time,
were idolaters, or at least, they had no relation to the church of God,
which was then seated in Abraham’s family; for, when Abraham sojourned
in Gerar, not many miles distant from it, in the south-west border of
the land of Canaan, he gives this description of it, that he thought
surely the fear of God was not in this place; and it can hardly be
supposed that Jebus, or Jerusalem, was much better. If the Canaanites
had been members of the true church, Abraham would not have lived as a
stranger and sojourner amongst them, not desirous to converse with them.
Since therefore Jerusalem, or Salem, was inhabited by those who were not
worshippers of the true God, how could Melchizedek be said to be their
priest, or a minister in holy things to them? for, though an holy man
may be a king over a wicked people, such an one cannot well be said to
be a priest to those, who desire not to be found in the exercise of
God’s true worship.

_5thly_, It seems farther probable, that Melchisedek was not a priest,
or king, whose usual place of residence was Jerusalem, where he
administered and reigned, inasmuch as we do not read that Abraham, at
any other time, conversed, or joined with him in worship, though the
place where he sojourned was but a few miles distant from it, which we
can hardly suppose that he would have neglected to do, or that we should
have had no account of any intercourse between these two men, (who must
be reckoned the greatest and best that lived on earth) besides that
mentioned in the scripture we are now considering.

_6thly_, This may be farther argued, from what the apostle says, that
Melchisedek blessed Abraham, and infers, from thence, that he was
superior to him, inasmuch as _the less is blessed of the better_, Heb.
vii. 7. There are but two senses in which a person is said to bless
another; the one is, by praying for a blessing on him, or as God’s
messenger, signifying, that he would bless him; and the other is, by
conferring blessedness upon him, or making him blessed. Now, if
Melchisedek had only blessed Abraham, in the former of these senses,
which he might have done, had he been a mere man, the apostle could not
have inferred from hence, his superiority to Abraham; for the lowest of
men may in this sense, bless the greatest, that is, pray for a blessing
on them, and God might employ such to declare to others that they are
blessed; yet it would not follow, from hence, that they are, in this
respect, greater than them. Melchisedek blessed Abraham, and therefore,
as the apostle infers, was greater than him, and consequently he blessed
him, by making him blessed, or conferring some of those blessings, which
he has to bestow, as a divine Person, the Fountain of blessedness.

These are the most material arguments which are brought in defence of
this opinion; from whence it seems probable, that our Saviour on this
occasion assumed the form of a Man, as he often did, and appeared to
Abraham with the mien and likeness of a King and Priest; as he is said
elsewhere to appear to Joshua, in the form of a warrior, with his sword
drawn in his hand, and soon discovered to him who he was; so we may
suppose, that at this time, he appeared to Abraham as a King, and a
Priest, and discovered to him who he was, and the right he had to the
spoils he had gained, of which he accepted the tithes, partly, to
signify that this was to be the way in which the priesthood was to be
supported in future ages; but principally to give herein a type of that
divine homage, which we owe to him, as the Priest and King of his
people. I will not be too tenacious of this side of the question, but,
to me, it seems the more probable, especially if what is objected
against it does not weaken the force of the arguments brought to support
it; which is now to be considered.

_Object. 1._ The place of Melchisedek’s residence is said to be Salem,
or Jerusalem, in the land of Canaan, where he was a king and priest. Now
this could not be said of our Lord Jesus Christ; for, as his kingdom was
not of this world, so he never resided, or fixed his abode in any part
of it before his incarnation. It is true, he sometimes appeared then in
the form of a Man, or an Angel, that he might occasionally converse with
his people; yet he never continued long, or dwelt amongst them, till he
was made flesh; whereas, Melchizedek seems to be described as an
inhabitant of the land of Canaan, dwelling in Salem, therefore it cannot
he meant of him.

_Answ._ This objection takes some things for granted, that will not
readily be allowed, by those who entertain the contrary way of thinking,
_viz._ that Salem is the name of a place, and that there he resided;
whereas it may be replied to this, that it is rather a character of his
person; for, if Tzedek be a character of his person, as signifying
righteousness, why should it be denied that Salem, from the Hebrew word
Shalom, is also a glorious character, belonging to his person?
especially considering the apostle explains both of them in this sense,
when he says, that these words, by interpretation, are, _King of
righteousness, and King of peace_, Heb. vii. 2. and, if this be true,
there is no force in the other part of the objection, taken from his
residing in any particular place before his incarnation.

_Object. 2._ It is farther objected, that our Saviour is said to be a
Priest, _after the order of Melchisedek_, chap. vii. 17. and it is also
added, that _after the similitude of Melchisedek there ariseth another
Priest_, ver. 15. meaning our Saviour; therefore he cannot be the same
person with Melchisedek.

_Answ._ This objection is much more material than any other, which is
brought against this opinion, which, I am apt to think, determines the
sentiments of many, who give into the commonly received opinion
concerning him: But, as it ought to be considered, whether the
arguments, in defence of the other side of the question, be conclusive;
so it may be replied to it; that Christ might be called a Priest, after
the order of Melchisedek, though he were the person intended by him, if
we take the words in this sense; _viz._ that, by his appearing in the
form of a Priest and a King to Abraham, he afforded a type, or figure,
of what he would really be, and do, after his incarnation, and herein
gave a specimen of his Priestly and Kingly office, which he would
afterwards execute. And this might as well be said to be a type hereof,
as any of his appearances, in the form of a man, were typical of his
incarnation, which divines generally call a prelibation thereof, which
differs very little from the sense of the word _type_.

As to what is said concerning another Priest, arising _after the
similitude of Melchisedek_, though it may be reckoned a strong objection
against our argument; yet let it be considered, that after the
similitude of Melchisedek, imports the same thing as after the order of
Melchisedek; and so it signifies, that there is a similitude, or
likeness, between what he then appeared to be, and what he really was,
after his incarnation. And as for his being called _another Priest_,
that does not imply that he was a Priest different from Melchisedek, but
from the priests under the law; for the apostle, as appears by the
context, is comparing Christ’s Priesthood with the Aaronical; and
therefore, when he executed his Priestly office, after his incarnation,
he might well be styled _another Priest_, that is, a Priest not
descending from Aaron, but the anti-type of Melchisedek, as prefigured
by this remarkable occurrence.

Thus concerning that difficult question, who Melchisedek was? All that I
shall add is, whether it were Christ himself, or some other person, yet
it is evident that there was herein a very eminent type of Christ’s
Kingly and Priestly office; and more especially of his Priestly, as
containing in it several things that were not shadowed forth by the
Aaronical priesthood; particularly, though the Aaronical priesthood
contained a type of Christ’s making atonement, by shedding his blood;
yet there was nothing in it that typified the glory of his Person, his
immortality and sinless perfection, the eternal duration of his
Priesthood, or his being immediately raised up by God, for that end; nor
was there herein a type of the Kingly and Priestly office of Christ, as
belonging to the same Person, since the priests under the law were not
kings, nor the kings priests.

Moreover, Melchisedek’s being represented as _without father, without
mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of
life_, plainly signifies, that the execution of his priestly office
depended immediately on God, who raised him up, as an extraordinary
Person, for this end, as well as that he remains a Priest for ever; so
that, if we take both these types together, we have a very plain and
clear representation of Christ’s Priestly office. And this leads us to
consider,

III. The necessity of Christ’s executing this part of his Priestly
office, which consists in his making satisfaction to divine justice.
This is generally denied by those who oppose his divinity; and
particularly the Socinians, who maintain, that God pardons sin without
satisfaction.[152] And others, who do not altogether deny the
satisfaction of Christ, suppose, that God might have pardoned sin
without it; but that it was more expedient to make a demand of it, than
not, inasmuch as his honour, as the Governor of the world, is secured
thereby, and therefore that his demanding satisfaction, is the result of
his will; and accordingly, that he might have required and accepted of a
satisfaction, less valuable than what was given him by our Saviour: This
opinion is equally to be opposed with the former, as derogatory to the
glory of the divine perfections.

Now, when we assert the necessity of satisfaction, we mean, that God
could not, in consistency with his holiness and justice, pardon sin
without it; and that no satisfaction, short of that which Christ gave,
is sufficient to answer the end designed thereby, or worthy to be
accepted by God, as a price of redemption.

And, when we assert that satisfaction was necessary, we would be
understood as intending it in the same sense, as forgiveness of sin, or
salvation is so; the necessity hereof being conditional, or founded on
this supposition, that God designed to save sinners. This, indeed, he
might have refused to have done, and then there would have been no room
for satisfaction to be given to his justice: But, since God designed to
be reconciled to his people, and to bring them to glory, we cannot but
assert the necessity of satisfaction in order thereunto; and, to prove
this, let it be considered,

1. That the necessity hereof appears from the holiness of God; and
accordingly,

(1.) Inasmuch as he is infinitely perfect, he cannot but will and love
that which is most agreeable to his nature, and which contains the
brightest display of his image, which consists in righteousness and true
holiness, as it is said, _The righteous Lord loveth righteousness_,
Psal. xi. 7. And it follows, from hence,

(2.) That he cannot but hate, and have an infinite aversion to, whatever
is contrary hereunto; for, if his love of holiness be founded in the
perfection of his nature, then his hatred of sin, which is opposite to
it, must be founded therein: Thus it is said, _Thou art of purer eyes
than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity_, Hab. i. 13. and
elsewhere, _Thou hatest all workers of iniquity_, Psal. v. 5. Now God’s
hating sin, consists in his infinite opposition to it, and so it is
natural to him, or in his will, to punish it; and consequent thereunto,
in his actual punishing of it. If the first of these be necessary, the
others must be so likewise; or, if he be an holy God, he cannot but
determine to punish sin, and afterwards put his determination in
execution.

(3.) It is fit he should manifest his hatred of sin, otherwise he could
not be glorified by his creatures, as an holy God; for he cannot have
the glory of any attribute ascribed to him, unless there be a visible
display thereof; therefore it is necessary to demonstrate his hatred of
sin, by punishing it; and, hence an obligation arises from a necessity
of nature, and not barely from an act of his will, to bring to condign
punishment all sin, even that which he designs to pardon: But this could
not have been done without a demand of satisfaction to be given, by a
surety, in the sinner’s behalf, which plainly evinces the necessity of
satisfaction, which was the thing to be proved.

2. This farther appears, from the punishment threatened by the law of
God, which is also necessary. For the understanding of which, let it be
considered,

(1.) That God cannot but give a law to intelligent creatures, who, as
such, are the subjects of moral government, and therefore under a
natural obligation to yield obedience to him: But this they could not
do, if the law were not given and promulgated.

(2.) It was necessary for God to annex a threatning to his law, in which
respect punishment would be due to those who violate it, whereby
obedience might be enforced, and that fear, which is excited by it,
would be an additional motive hereunto; otherwise the sinner would be
ready to conclude, that he might go on in his rebellion against God with
impunity.

(3.) If this law be violated, as it is by sin, the truth of God, as the
result of the threatning annexed to it, obliges him to punish it, either
in our own persons, or in the person of our Surety, that so the honour
of his law might be secured, which he is obliged to vindicate, as it
contains a bright display of the glory of his perfections.

3. If God could, consistently with his own perfections, pardon sin
without satisfaction, he would not have sent his well-beloved Son to
suffer for it. This plainly appears from his wisdom and goodness. It is
not consistent with the glory of his wisdom, for him to bring about a
thing with so much difficulty, and with such displays of his vindictive
justice, in punishing one who never offended him, if he could have
answered the great end hereof on easier terms or have brought about the
work of our salvation without it; neither does it consist with his
goodness to inflict punishment, where it is not absolutely necessary,
since, agreeably to this perfection, he delights rather to extend
compassion, than to display his vindictive justice, if it might be
avoided. Accordingly he is described, in scripture, (speaking after the
manner of men) as punishing sin with a kind of regret, or reluctancy,
Hosea. xi. 8. Thus it is said to _be his strange work_, Isa. xxviii. 21.
and that _he doth not afflict wilingly, nor grieve the children of men_,
Lam. iii. 33. but on the other hand, _delighteth in mercy_, Micah vii.
18. Therefore if he could, consistently with his perfections, have
pardoned sin without satisfaction, he could not have commanded the sword
of his vindictive justice to _awake against the man that is his fellow_,
Zech. xiii. 7. as an expedient to bring about an end, that might have
been attained without it.

Moreover, if God could have pardoned sin without satisfaction, then his
giving his own Son to perform it for us, would not have been such a
wonderful instance of divine grace, as it is represented to be in
scripture; for it could not have been the only expedient to bring about
our salvation, if satisfaction were not absolutely necessary
thereunto.[153]

IV. We are now to consider what kind of satisfaction God demanded, for
the expiating of sin. There are many who do not pretend, in all
respects, to deny the necessity of satisfaction; but, when they explain
what they mean by it, it amounts to little more than a denial thereof:
Thus the heathen, who had learned, by tradition that sacrifices were to
be offered, to make atonement for sin, concluded that these were
sufficient to satisfy for it, and thereby to deliver from the guilt
thereof. And some of the Jews, in a degenerate age of the church, seemed
to have nothing else in view, and to have no regard to the spiritual
meaning thereof, or their reference to Christ’s satisfaction, as types
of it, when they rested in them, as supposing, that the multitude of
their sacrifices were sufficient to satisfy for those vile abominations,
which they were guilty of; upon which occasion, God expresses the
greatest dislike thereof, when he says, _To what purpose is the
multitude of your sacrifices unto me? I am full of the burnt-offerings
of rams, and the fat of fed beasts, and I delight not in the blood of
bullocks or of lambs or of he-goats_, Isa. i. 11. And elsewhere he tells
them, _I spake not to your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I
brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt-offerings or
sacrifices_, Jer. vii. 22. He does not mean that these were not
instituted by him; but it is as though he had said, I did not hereby
intend that they should be reckoned a sufficient price to satisfy my
justice for sin. And, to fence against this supposition, the apostle
says, that _it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats
should take away sins_, Heb. x. 4. for they were far from being a
sufficient price to satisfy God.

Moreover, the Papists speak much of human satisfactions, consisting in
various penances, fastings, leading a mortified life, parting with their
estates, and submitting to voluntary poverty, with a design to make
atonement for sin. The main foundation of this opinion, is their
supposing, that, whatever satisfaction God demands for sin, it is the
result of his will, and therefore he might accept of the smallest
instance of obedience and suffering, as sufficient to compensate for it,
because he has deemed it so; and therefore they distinguish between
giving satisfaction to God and to his justice. God, say they, may accept
of, or be satisfied with the smallest price, instead of that which is
most valuable; whereas nothing can, properly speaking, be said to
satisfy justice, but that which has in it a value in proportion to what
is purchased thereby. As to the former branch of this distinction, we
deny that God can accept of any thing as a price of redemption, but what
has a tendency to secure the glory of his perfections, and that, nothing
less than an infinite price, can do, and therefore the distinction is
vain, and nothing to their purpose; or, if they suppose that God can be
satisfied with what justice does not conclude sufficient, then it is
blasphemous, and derogatory to the divine perfections. Therefore we can
allow of no satisfaction, but what tends to set forth the glory, and
fulfil the demands of divine justice;[154] accordingly, we are to
consider, that the satisfaction which was demanded by the justice of
God, for the expiation of sin, must contain in it two things; namely,

1. It must be of infinite value, otherwise it would not be sufficient to
compensate for the injuries offered to the divine name by sin, which is
objectively infinite, and therefore deserves a punishment proportioned
to it, and consequently the price demanded to satisfy for it, must be of
equal value. The justice of God would cast the utmost contempt on any
thing that falls short hereof: thus the prophet represents one, as
making a very large overture, which one would think sufficient, if a
finite price were so, when he speaks, in a beautiful climax, or
gradation, of coming before the Lord _with burnt-offerings_, and these
well chosen, _calves of a year old_, and a multitude of them; _Will the
Lord be pleased with thousands of rams_, a price which very few were
able to give, _or with ten thousands of rivers of oil_? in which he
offers more than it was possible to give; then he ascends yet higher,
and, if it were sufficient, would part with _his first-born for his
transgression, the fruit of his body, for the sin of his soul_; all
which is reckoned an inconsiderable price, not sufficient to procure the
thing designed thereby; and therefore he that offers it, is advised
instead of pretending to satisfy divine justice by a finite price, _to
walk humbly with his God_, Micah vi. 7, 8. and, whatever obedience he is
obliged to perform, not to have the vanity to think that this is a
sufficient price to answer that end.

2. Satisfaction must bear some similitude, or resemblance, as to the
matter of it, to that debt which was due from those for whom it was to
be given. Here we must consider what was the debt due from us, for which
a demand of satisfaction was made; this was twofold.

_1st_, A debt of perfect and sinless obedience, whereby the glory of
God’s sovereignty might be secured, and the honour of his law
maintained. This debt it was morally impossible for man to pay, after
his fall; for it implies a contradiction to say that a fallen creature
can yield sinless obedience; nevertheless, it was demanded of us, though
fallen; for the obligation could not be disannulled by our disability to
perform it.

_2dly_, There was a debt of punishment, which we were liable to, in
proportion to the demerit of sin, as the result of the condemning
sentence of the law, which threatened death for every transgression and
disobedience. Now, to be satisfaction to the justice of God, it must
have these ingredients in it.

As to the infinite value of the price that was given, this is contested
by none, but those who deny the divinity of Christ; and these arguments
that have been brought in defence of that doctrine; and others, by which
we have proved the necessity that our Mediator should be God, render it
less needful for us, at present, to enlarge on this subject.[160] But
there are many, who do not deny the necessity of an infinite
satisfaction, who will not allow that it is necessary that there should
be a resemblance between the debt contracted, and satisfaction given;
and, by these, it is objected,

_Object. 1._ That the least instance of obedience, or one drop of
Christ’s blood, was a sufficient price to satisfy divine justice; in
defence of which they argue, that these must be supposed to have had in
them an infinite value; but nothing can be greater than what is
infinite, and therefore that one single act of obedience was sufficient
to redeem the whole world of fallen men, or the whole number of fallen
angels, if God had pleased to order it so.

_Answ._ Though we do not deny that the least instance of obedience, or
sufferings performed by our Saviour, would have been of infinite value,
inasmuch as we do not conclude the infinity of obedience to consist in a
multitude of acts, or in its being perfectly sinless; nor do we deem his
sufferings infinite, merely because they were exquisite, or greater than
what mankind are generally liable to in this world, but because they
were the obedience and sufferings of a divine Person; neither do we
deny, that, according to the same method of reasoning, the least act of
obedience and suffering, performed by him, would have been infinite.
Nevertheless, it does not follow from hence, that this would have been a
sufficient price of redemption; for the sufficiency of the price does
not only rise from the infinite value thereof, but from God’s will to
accept of it; and he could not be willing to accept of any price, but
what had a tendency to illustrate and set forth the glory of his
holiness, as a sin-hating God, and of his sovereignty in the government
of the world, in such a way, that the most fit means might be used to
prevent the commission of it, and of his truth, in fulfilling the
threatnings denounced, which man was exposed to, by his violating the
law. Now these ends could not be answered by one single instance of
obedience, or suffering, and therefore God could not deem them
sufficient; and it is plain that he did not, for, if he had, he would
not have delivered our Saviour to suffer all that he did; concerning
whom it is said, _He spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us
all_, Rom. viii. 32.

Moreover, it was necessary that redemption should be brought about in
such a way, as would lay the sinner under the highest obligation to
admire the love, both of the Father and the Son. Now, if Christ had
performed only one act of obedience, or suffered in the least degree,
this instance of condescension, though infinite, would not have had so
great a tendency to answer this end; nor could it have been said, as it
is, with a great emphasis of expression, that _God commendeth his love
towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us_, Rom.
v. 8.

_Object. 2._ It is objected, by others, that Christ’s active obedience
was no part of the satisfaction which he gave for us, inasmuch as this
was a debt due from him for himself, his human nature (in which alone he
could yield obedience) being under a natural obligation to perform it;
therefore he could not be said to pay that debt for us, which was due
for himself. As for his passive obedience, that, indeed, might be
performed for us, because, being an innocent person, he was not under
any obligation to suffer, but by his own consent; but this cannot be
said of his active obedience. And it is farther objected, that if he had
performed active obedience for us, this would have exempted us from an
obligation to yield obedience ourselves, and consequently this doctrine
leads to licentiousness.

_Answ._ We allow that Christ as Man, was obliged to perform obedience,
as a debt due from him, as a creature, and consequently, now he is in
heaven, he is under the same obligation; though this has no reference to
the work of our redemption, which was finished before he went thither:
nevertheless, the obedience he performed before his death, might be
deemed a part of that satisfaction which he gave to the justice of God
for us; for,

(1.) His being under the law, was the result of his own voluntary
consent, inasmuch as his incarnation, which was necessary, to his
becoming a subject, was the result of the consent of his divine will.
Now, if he came into the world, and thereby put himself into a capacity
of yielding obedience by his own consent, which no other person ever
did, then his obedience, which was the consequence hereof, might be said
to be voluntary, and so deemed a part of the satisfaction which he gave
to the justice of God in our behalf.

(2.) Though we do not deny that Christ’s active obedience was a debt due
to God for himself, yet it does not follow, from hence, that it may not
be imputed to us, nor accepted for us; even as that perfect obedience
which was to have been performed by Adam, according to the tenor of the
first covenant, though it were to have been imputed to all his
posterity, was, nevertheless, primarily due from him for himself.

(3.) As to that part of the objection, in which it is supposed, that
Christ’s obedience for us, would exempt us from an obligation to yield
obedience, this is generally brought, by those who desire to render this
doctrine odious, and take no notice of what we say in explaining our
sense thereof. Therefore, in answer to it, let it be considered, that,
when we say Christ obeyed for us, we do not suppose, that he designed
hereby to exempt us from any obligation to yield obedience to God’s
commanding will, but only to exempt us from performing it with the same
view that he did. We are not hereby excused from yielding obedience to
God, as a Sovereign, but from doing it with a view of meriting hereby,
or making atonement for our defect of obedience, which was the result of
our fallen state; and therefore we are to say, _When we have done all,
we are unprofitable servants; we have done that which was our duty to
do_, Luke xvii. 10. without considering it as that righteousness, by
which we are to be justified in the sight of God. We understand our
obligation to yield active obedience, in the same sense, as we are
obliged patiently to suffer whatever afflictions God is pleased to lay
on us, from which we are not exempted by Christ’s sufferings: the only
difference between them is, that his sufferings were penal and
satisfactory; he suffered for us, that hereby he might purchase for us
eternal life, which is not the end of a believer’s suffering; therefore,
why may it not be allowed, that Christ might perform obedience for us,
and we, at the same time, not be excused from it?

_Object. 3._ As to what concerns the sufferings of Christ, it is
objected, by others, that the whole of his passive obedience was not
demanded as a price of redemption for us but only what he endured upon
the cross, which was the greatest and most formidable part of his
sufferings; and particularly those which he endured from the _sixth to
the ninth hour_, while there was _darkness over all the land_, in which
his soul was afflicted in an extraordinary manner, which occasioned him
to cry, (Matt. xxvii. 45, 46.) _My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken
me?_[161] As for his other sufferings, endured in the whole course of
his life, these are allowed to have been a convincing evidence of his
love to us, and designed, as an example, to induce us to bear
afflictions with patience; but that it was only his sufferings upon the
cross that were satisfactory, and that was the altar on which he offered
himself for us; which appears from those scriptures which speak of our
redemption and justification, as the effect of his crucifixion and
death, rather than of his sufferings in life.

_Answ._ To this it may be replied, that, though redemption and salvation
be often attributed, in scripture, to Christ’s death, or to his shedding
his blood upon the cross for us, yet there is, in all of them, a
figurative way of speaking, in which, by a Synecdoche, a part is taken
for the whole; therefore his sufferings in his life, though not
particularly mentioned therein, are not excluded. There is one
scripture, in which, by the same figurative way of speaking, our
justification is ascribed to Christ’s active obedience, when it is said,
_By the obedience of one shall many be made righteous_, Rom. v. 19. in
which, though his passive obedience be not mentioned, it is not
excluded; therefore, when we read of Christ’s sufferings on the cross,
as being a part of his satisfaction, we are not to suppose that his
sufferings in life are excluded. The apostle plainly intimates as much,
when he says, _He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even
the death of the cross_, Phil. ii. 8. he humbled himself not only in his
death, but in all the sufferings he endured unto it, in the whole course
of his life; therefore we must conclude, that what he endured in his
infancy, and that poverty, temptation, reproach, and contradiction of
sinners against himself, and all the other miseries which he underwent,
during the whole course of his life, which were a part of that curse
which was due to us for sin, were submitted to by him to expiate it, and
consequently were a part of that satisfaction.

As for the cross’s being styled, as it is by some ancient and modern
writers, the altar, on which Christ offered himself, we think that
little more than a strain of rhetoric; or, if it be designed to
illustrate the opinion we are now opposing, we deny that it ought to be
called the altar; for it is no where so styled in scripture, neither
have we ground to conclude, that the altar, upon which the sacrifices
under the law were offered, was a type of Christ’s cross in particular;
and, indeed, we have a better explication of the spiritual meaning
thereof, given by Christ himself, when he speaks of the _altar_, as
_sanctifying the gift_, Matt. xxiii. 19. alluding to what is said
concerning its being _most holy, and whatsoever touched it, shall be
holy_, Exod. xxix. 37. from whence it is inferred, that the altar was
more holy than the gift, which was laid upon it, and it signifies, that
the altar, on which Christ was offered, added an excellency to his
offering; whereas nothing could be said to do so, but his divine
nature’s being personally united to his human, which rendered it
infinitely valuable. This is therefore, the altar on which Christ was
offered; or, at least this is that which sanctified the offering, and
not the cross on which he suffered[162].

V. We shall now prove, that what Christ did and suffered, was with a
design to give satisfaction to the justice of God; and, that what he
offered, was a true and proper sacrifice for sin. All allow, that Christ
obeyed and suffered; and even the Socinians themselves will not deny
that Christ suffered for us, since this is so plainly contained in
scripture: But the main stress of the controversy lies in this; whether
Christ died merely for our good, namely, that we might be hereby induced
to believe the truth of the doctrines he delivered, as he confirmed
them, by shedding his blood, or that he might give us an example of
patience and holy fortitude under the various evils we are exposed to,
either in life or death? This is the sense in which they understand
Christ’s dying for us: But there is a great deal more intended hereby,
to wit, that he died in our room and stead, or that he bore that for us,
which the justice of God demanded as a debt first due from us, as an
expedient for his taking away the guilt of sin, and delivering us from
his wrath, which we were liable to. This will appear, if we consider,

1. That he is, for this reason, styled our Redeemer, as having purchased
us hereby, or delivered, us, in a judicial way, out of the hand of
vindictive justice, which is the most proper, if not the only sense of
the word _redemption_. The Socinians, indeed, speak of Christ as a
redeemer; but they understand the word in a metaphorical sense, as
importing his delivering us from some evils, that we were exposed to;
not by paying a price of redemption for us, but by revealing those laws,
or doctrines, which had a tendency to reform the world, or laying down
some rules to direct the conversation of mankind, and remove some
prejudices they had entertained; whereas we assert, that herein he dealt
with the justice of God, as offering himself a sacrifice for sin.

This appears from those scriptures that speak of his _soul_, as made an
_offering for sin_, Isa. liii. 10. or his being _set forth to be a
propitiation, to declare the righteousness of God for the remission of
sins_, Rom. iii. 25. in which respect, he answered the types thereof
under the law, in which atonement is said to be made by sacrifice,
which, being an act of worship, was performed to God alone, whereby sin
was typically expiated, and the sinner discharged from the guilt, which
he was liable to; and, in this respect Christ is said, as the Anti-type
thereof, to have _offered himself without spot to God_, when he shed his
blood for us, or to have _put away sin by the sacrifice of himself_,
Heb. ix. 26. and to have _given himself for us, an offering and a
sacrifice to God, for a sweet smelling savour_.

Moreover, what he did and suffered, is styled a _ransom_, or price of
redemption; and accordingly they, who were concerned therein, are said
to be _bought with a price_, 1 Cor. vi. 20. and he saith, concerning
himself, that _he came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and
to give his life a ransom for many_, Matt. xx. 28. We read, in
scripture, of a person’s paying a sum of money, as a _ransom for his
life_, when it was forfeited, by his having been the culpable occasion
of the death of another, Exod. xxi. 29, 30. and if such a consideration,
when exacted as a price of redemption, be styled a ransom, a person’s
laying down his life for another, may, with equal propriety, be so
called. And this Christ is said, in many scriptures, to have done for
us; upon which account he is styled our Redeemer.

_Object._ We oftentimes read, in scripture, of redemption, where there
is no price paid: Thus Israel is said to be _redeemed out of Egypt_,
Deut. vii. 8. _and Babylon_, Micah iv. 10. And elsewhere, speaking of
their deliverance out of captivity, God saith, _I will redeem thee out
of the hand of the terrible_, Jer. xv. 21. whereas there was no price of
redemption paid for their deliverance, either out of Egypt or Babylon,
but it was by the immediate power of God. So Jacob, when he speaks of
his deliverance from evil by the angel, styles this, his _redemption
from all evil_, Gen. xlviii. 16. Now, though we allow that the angel he
there speaks of, was our Lord Jesus Christ; yet the deliverance he
wrought for Jacob was not by paying a price for him, but by exerting his
divine power in order thereto.

Moreover, others are called redeemers, who have been God’s ministers in
delivering his people: Thus Moses is called a _ruler and deliverer by
the hands of the angel, which appeared to him in the bush_, Acts vii.
35. so our translators rendered it[163]: but it ought to be rendered a
_Redeemer_; therefore there may be redemption without satisfaction.

_Answ._ This objection, how plausible soever it may seem to be, is not
unanswerable; and the reply which may be given to it, is, that though
deliverance from evil may be styled _redemption_, as it is oftentimes in
scripture: the reason of its being so called, is, because of the
reference which it has to that ransom that Christ was, after his
incarnation, to pay for his people. This was the foundation of all that
discriminating grace that God, in former ages, extended to his people,
it was on the account hereof that he did not suffer them to perish in
Egypt, or Babylon, and accordingly their deliverance is called a
_redemption_, from thence; whereas, we never find that any deliverance,
which God wrought for his enemies, who have no concern in Christ’s
redemption, is so called.

And whereas Moses is styled, in that scripture but now referred to, a
_Redeemer_, the deliverance he wrought for them, as an instrument made
use of by the angel that appeared to him, may, without any impropriety
of expression, be called a redemption, and he a redeemer, inasmuch as
that deliverance that Christ wrought by him, was founded on the purchase
which he designed to pay, otherwise Moses, would not have been so
styled.

2. There are many scriptures that speak of Christ’s obedience and
sufferings, as being in our room and stead, whereby he performed what
was due from us to the justice of God which is the proper notion of
satisfaction. Thus we are to understand those expressions, in which he
is said to _die for us_, as the apostle says; _In due time Christ died
for the ungodly, and while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us_,
Rom. v. 6, 8. by which we are to understand, that he endured those
sufferings in life and death which we are liable to, with a design to
procure for us justification, reconciliation to God, and eternal
salvation, and herein he was substituted in our room and stead, as well
as died for our good.[164]

That Christ died, in this sense, for his people, farther appears, from
his being therein said to bear their sins, as the apostle expresses it,
_Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree_, 1 Pet. ii.
24. and elsewhere it is said, _He was wounded for our transgressions, he
was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon
him, and with his stripes we are healed_; and _the Lord hath laid on him
the iniquity of us all; He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, he was
cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgressions of my
people was he stricken_, Isa. liii. 5-8. all which expressions plainly
denote that he suffered that which was due to them, or that he died in
their room and stead.

And this he is farther said to do, in a sense, in which none but he ever
died for any other, and therefore much more must be understood by it,
than his dying for the good of mankind. The apostle speaking of this
matter, opposes Christ’s sufferings to his own, with respect to the end
and design thereof, when he saith; _Was Paul crucified for you_, 1 Cor.
i. 13. which is as though he should say, it is true, I have suffered
many things for the church’s advantage: yet it would be a vile thing for
you to entertain the least surmise, as though my suffering were endured
with the same view that Christ suffered; for he died as a sacrifice for
sin, that he might give a price of redemption to the justice of God,
which no one else ever did.

_Object. 1._ It is objected, to what hath been said in defence of
Christ’s dying in our room and stead, inasmuch as he bare our
iniquities, that these expressions denote nothing else but his taking
them away, which he might do, if he had not died in our room and stead.
Thus we have an explication of that scripture before mentioned, which
speaks of Christ’s bearing our iniquities, wherein it appears that
nothing is intended thereby but his taking away some afflictions we were
liable to; as it is said, upon the occasion of his _casting out devils,
and healing all that were sick_, that this was done _that it might be
fulfilled, which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took
our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses_, Mat. viii. 16, 17. which he
might be said to do, without his dying to satisfy the justice of God for
us in our room and stead.

_Answ._ There are two things to be considered in the death of Christ,
which, though distinct, are not to be separated; one is, his bearing
those griefs, sorrows, or punishments, that were due to us for sin; the
other is, his taking them away, as the effect and consequence of his
having born or answered for them; and the design of the prophet Isaiah,
in his liii. chapter, is to shew that Christ did both these, as appears
by several expressions therein; accordingly when he is said, in ver. 4.
_To have borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows_, both these senses
are to be applied to it; one of which is explained by the apostle, in 1
Pet. ii. 24. _Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the
tree_; and the evangelist, in the text under our present consideration
explains these words of the prophet in both senses, when he saith,
_Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses_, that is, he
submitted to give satisfaction for them, and, as the consequence
thereof, healed those diseases which we were liable to, as the fruit of
sin. The objection therefore taken from this scripture, against the
doctrine we are maintaining, is of no force; for though Christ took away
those miseries, which were the effects and consequences of sin, it doth
not follow that he did not do this, by making satisfaction for it.

_Object. 2._ There are other ends of Christ’s dying for us, mentioned in
scripture, where though the same mode of speaking be used, different
ends are said to be attained thereby, from that of his giving
satisfaction to the justice of God: Thus it is said, that _he gave
himself for our sins that he might deliver us from this present evil
world_, Gal. i. 4. _that he might purify unto himself a peculiar people,
zealous of good works_, Tit. ii. 14. and that he might hereby _leave us
an example that we should follow his steps_, 1. Pet ii. 21. and that he
might acquire to himself some additional circumstances of glory, thus it
is said, _He died, and rose and revived, that he might be Lord, both of
the dead and living_, Rom. xiv. 9. These, and such-like ends, are said
to be attained by Christ’s death, which do not argue that he died in our
stead, but only for our advantage.

And to this it may be added, that others are represented as suffering
for the church, as well as Christ, namely, for their good, where there
is no difference, in the mode of speaking, from that other scripture, in
which Christ is said to die for us. Thus the apostle saith, _I rejoice
in my sufferings for you_, Col. i. 24. and this he explains elsewhere,
when he speaks of his being afflicted for the church’s _consolation and
salvation_, 2 Cor. i. 6.

_Answ._ We do not deny but that there are other ends designed by
Christ’s sufferings and death, besides his giving satisfaction to divine
justice, which are the result and consequence thereof; therefore we must
consider him as dying in our stead, and then the fruits and effects,
which redound to our advantage; one is so far from being inconsistent
with the other, that it is necessary to it; and, in some of the
scriptures but now mentioned, both these ends are expressed, the former
being the ground and reason of the latter; as when it is said, _He gave
himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil
world_: the meaning is, he first made satisfaction for sin, and then, as
the consequence thereof, in the application of redemption, he designed
to deliver us from the evils we are exposed to in this world; and when,
in another scripture before-mentioned, the apostle speaks of _Christ’s
purifying unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works_, he
mentions this not as the chief, much less as the only design of his
giving himself for his people; but it is said, he did this first, _that
he might redeem them from all iniquity_, namely, by giving a
satisfaction to justice for them, and then, that having redeemed, he
might purify them to himself; and when it is said, that _he died, that
he might be Lord, both of the dead and living_, the meaning is, that he
might purchase that dominion which he hath over them as Mediator; or
that having satisfied divine justice for them, as a Priest, he might,
have dominion over them as a King; so that these two ends are not
inconsistent with each other, and therefore the latter doth not destroy
the former.

And as for that scripture, in which the apostle speaks of his sufferings
for the church, or for their _consolation and salvation_, we may
observe, that he doth not say that he suffered for them, much less, in
their room and stead, or as a propitiation to make reconciliation, that
hereby he might promote their consolation and salvation, as Christ did;
much less is it said of any besides him, that _he gave his life a ransom
for them_, which is an expression peculiar to himself, wherein his death
is represented as a price of redemption for them[165].

3. That Christ died in our room and stead, and consequently designed
hereby to give satisfaction to the justice of God for our sin, appears
from his death’s being typified by the sacrifices under the ceremonial
law, which, it is plain, were substituted in the room of the offender,
for whom they were offered. We read _of the priest’s laying his hand on
the head of the sacrifice, and confessing over it the iniquities_ of
those for whom it was offered, upon which occasion it is said to _have
born them_, Lev. xvi. 21, 22. And the consequence thereof was their
being discharged from the guilt which they had contracted, which is
called, making atonement for sin. Now that this was a type of Christ’s
making satisfaction for our sins, by his death, is evident, inasmuch as
the apostle having spoken concerning this ceremonial ordinance, applies
it to him, when he saith, that _Christ was once offered to bear the sins
of many_, Heb. ix. 28. And elsewhere, when referring to _the sacrifice
of the Lord’s passover_, as the paschal lamb was styled, Exod. xii. 27.
He says that _Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us_, 1 Cor. v. 7.
And, as such, he is said _to be made sin for us, who knew no sin, that
we might be made the righteousness of God in him_, 2 Cor. v. 21. And as
they who were ordained to perform this service, are called priests,
Christ, as typified thereby, is so styled.

I am sensible it will be objected, that the sacrifices under the
ceremonial law were not instituted with a design to typify Christ’s
death; which would hardly have been asserted by any, as being so
contrary to the sense of many scriptures, had it not been thought
necessary to support the cause they maintain. But, having said something
concerning this before, in considering the origin of the ceremonial
law[166], I shall only add, that it is very absurd to suppose that God
appointed sacrifices not as types of Christ, but to prevent their
following the custom of the Heathen, in sacrificing to their gods, and
that they did not take their rites of sacrificing from the Jews, but the
Jews from them; and God, foreseeing that they would be inclined to
follow their example herein, indulged them as to the matter, and only
made a change with respect to the object thereof, in ordaining, that,
instead of offering sacrifice to idols, they should offer it to him. But
this runs counter to all the methods of providence in the government of
the church, which have been so far from giving occasion to it to
symbolize with the religion of the Heathen, in their external rites of
worship, that God strictly forbade all commerce with them. Thus Abraham
was called out of Ur of the Chaldees, an idolatrous country, to live in
the land of Canaan, and there he was to be no other than a stranger, or
sojourner, that he might not, by too great familiarity with the
inhabitants thereof learn their ways. And afterwards the Jews were
prohibited from having any dealings with the Egyptians; not because
civil commerce was unlawful, but lest this should give occasion to them
to imitate them in their rites of worship; to prevent which, the
_multiplying horses_ was forbidden, Deut. xvii. 16. upon which occasion
the church saith, in Hos. xiv. 3. _We will not ride upon horses, neither
will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods_, that
is, we will not do any thing that may be a temptation to us to join with
the Egyptians, or other Heathen nations, in their idolatry; therefore
certainly God did not ordain sacrifices in compliance with the Heathen,
but to typify Christ’s death.

Thus we have endeavoured to prove that Christ gave satisfaction to the
justice of God for sin, as he was a true and proper sacrifice for it. I
might, for the farther strengthening of this argument, have proved, that
the end of Christ’s death, assigned by the Socinians, namely, that he
might make atonement for sin, can hardly be reckoned an expedient to
confirm any doctrine; for there are many instances of persons having
laid down their lives to confirm doctrines that have been false, and
nothing more is proved hereby, but that the person believes the doctrine
himself, or else is under the power of delusion or distraction; whereas
a person’s believing the doctrine he advances is no evidence of the
truth thereof: and as for our Saviour’s confirming his doctrines, that
was sufficiently done by the miracles which he wrought for that end. And
indeed, were this the only end of Christ’s dying, I cannot see how it
differs from the death of the apostles, and other martyrs, for the sake
of the gospel; whereas Christ laid down his life with other views, and
for higher ends, than any other person ever suffered.

And to this we may add, that if Christ died only to confirm his
doctrine, or, as it is farther alleged, by those whom we oppose, that
herein he might give us an example of submission to the divine will and
patience in suffering, this would have been no manner of advantage to
the Old Testament saints; for Christ could not be an example to them,
nor were the doctrines, which they pretend he suffered to confirm, such
as took place in their time. Therefore Christ was no Saviour to them,
neither could they reap any advantage by what he was to do and suffer;
nor could they have been represented as desiring and hoping for his
coming, or, as it is said of Abraham, _rejoicing to see his day_, John
viii. 56. and if we suppose that they were saved, it must have been
without faith in him. According to this method of reasoning, they not
only militate against Christ’s being a proper sacrifice; but render his
cross of none effect, at least to them that lived before his
incarnation; and his death, which was the greatest instance of love that
could be expressed to the children of men, not absolutely necessary to
their salvation.[167]

_Object._ Before we close this head, we shall consider an objection
generally brought against the doctrine of Christ’s satisfaction, namely,
that he did not undergo the punishment due for our sins, because he did
not suffer eternally; nor were his sufferings attended with that
despair, and some other circumstances of punishment, which sinners are
liable to in the other world.

_Answ._ To this it may be answered, that the infinite value of Christ’s
sufferings did compensate for their not being eternal. And, indeed, the
eternity of sufferings is the result of their not being satisfactory,
which cannot be applicable to those that Christ endured; and as for that
despair, attended with impatience, and other sins committed by those
that suffer eternal punishments, that arises from the eternal duration
of them, as well as from the corruption of nature, which refuses to
subscribe to the justice of God therein, while complaining of the
severity of his dispensations.

Thus we have considered Christ’s death, as a true and proper sacrifice
for sin. We might now take notice of an expression that is used in this
answer, which is taken from the words of the apostle, that _once offered
himself_, Heb. ix. 28. and that _without spot to God_, ver. 14. This
offering being sufficient to answer the end designed, there was no need
of repeating it, or of his doing any thing else with the same view; the
justice of God having declared itself fully satisfied when he was raised
from the dead. But having before considered the infinite value of what
he did and suffered, and its efficacy to bring about the work of our
redemption, whereby it appears to be more excellent than all the
sacrifices that were offered under the ceremonial law, I need not say
any more on that subject; and as we have also considered Christ as being
sinless, and therefore offering himself as a Lamb, without spot and
blemish, and how this was the necessary result of the extraordinary
formation and union of the human nature with his divine Person, and the
unction which he received from the Holy Ghost; I shall only observe, at
present, what is said concerning his offering himself to God. This he is
said to have done, in the scripture but now referred to, _through the
eternal Spirit_; which words are commonly understood of his eternal
Godhead, which added an infinite value to his sacrifice, or, like the
altar, sanctified the gift, which is certainly a great truth: But it
seems more agreeable, to the most known sense of the word _Spirit_, to
understand it concerning his presenting, or making a tender of the
service he performed by the hand of the eternal Spirit unto God, as an
acceptable sacrifice.

But the main difficulty to be accounted for, in this scripture, is, what
is objected by the Socinians, and others, who deny his deity, namely,
how he could be said to offer himself to God, since that is the same as
to say, that he offered himself to himself, he being, as we have before
proved, God equal with the Father. But there is no absurdity in this
assertion, if it be understood concerning the service performed by him
in his human nature, which, though it was rendered worthy to be offered,
by virtue of its union with his divine Person, this act of worship
terminated on the Godhead, or tended to the securing the glory of the
perfections of that divine nature, which is common to all the divine
Persons; and it is in this sense that some ancient writers are to be
understood, when they say, that Christ may be said to offer up himself
to himself, that is, the service performed in the human nature was the
thing offered, and the object hereof, to which all acts of worship are
referred, was the divine nature, which belongs to himself as well as the
Father.[168]

VI. We shall now consider the persons for whom, as a Priest, Christ
offered himself, and so enter on that subject, that is so much
controverted in this present age, namely, whether Christ died for all
men, or only for the elect, whom he designed hereby to redeem, and bring
to salvation; and here let it be premised.

I. That it is generally taken for granted, by those who maintain either
side of the question, that the saving effects of Christ’s death do not
redound to all men, or that Christ did not die, in this respect, for all
the world, since to assert this would be to argue that all men shall be
saved, which every one supposes contrary to the whole tenor of
scripture.

2. It is allowed, by those who deny the extent of Christ’s death to all
men, as to what concerns their salvation, that it may truly be said,
that there are some blessings redounding to the whole world, and more
especially to those who sit under the sound of the gospel, as the
consequence of Christ’s death; inasmuch as it is owing hereunto, that
the day of God’s patience is lengthened out, and the preaching of the
gospel continued to those who are favoured with it; and that this is
attended, in many, with restraining grace, and some instances of
external reformation, which (though it may not issue in their salvation)
has a tendency to prevent a multitude of sins, and a greater degree
condemnation, that would otherwise ensue. These may be called the
remote, or secondary ends of Christ’s death, which was principally and
immediately designed to redeem the elect, and to purchase all saving
blessings for them, which shall be applied in his own time and way:
Nevertheless others, as a consequence hereof, are made partakers of some
blessings of common providence, so far as they are subservient to the
salvation of those, for whom he gave himself a ransom.

3. It is allowed on both sides, and especially by all that own the
divinity and satisfaction of Christ, that his death was sufficient to
redeem the whole world, had God designed that it should be a price for
them, which is the result of the infinite value of it; therefore,

4. The main question before us is, whether God designed the salvation of
all mankind by the death of Christ, or whether he accepted it as a price
of redemption for all, so that it might be said that he redeemed some
who shall not be saved by him? This is affirmed by many, who maintain
universal redemption, which we must take leave to deny. And they farther
add, as an explication hereof, that Christ died that he might put all
men into a salvable state, or procure a possibility of salvation for
them; so that many might obtain it, by a right improvement of his death,
who shall fall short of it; and also that it is in their power to
frustrate the ends thereof, and so render it ineffectual. This we judge
not only to be an error, but such as is highly derogatory to the glory
of God; which we shall endeavour to make appear, and to establish the
contrary doctrine, namely, that Christ died to purchase salvation for
none but those who shall obtain it. This may be proved,

I. From those distinguishing characters that accompany salvation, which
are given to those for whom he died.

1. They are called his _sheep_, in John x. 11. _I am the good Shepherd,
the good Shepherd giveth his life for the sheep_. This metaphor must
certainly imply, that they, for whom Christ died, are distinguished from
the world, as the objects of his immediate care, and special gracious
providence: But, besides this, there are several things in the context,
which contain a farther description of these _sheep_, for whom he laid
down his life, which cannot be applied to the whole world: Thus it is
said, in ver. 14. _I know my sheep, and am known of them_, that is, with
a knowledge of affection, as the word _knowledge_ is often used in
scripture, when applied to Christ, or his people. Again, these sheep are
farther described, as those who shall certainly obtain salvation; as our
Saviour says concerning them, in ver. 27, 28. _My sheep hear my voice,
and I know them, and they follow me; and I give unto them eternal life,
and they shall never perish; neither shall any pluck them out of my
hand_: but this privilege, without doubt, belongs not to the whole
world.

They are also considered as believers, inasmuch as faith is the
necessary consequence of Christ’s redemption, and accordingly are
distinguished from the world, or that part thereof, which is left in
unbelief and impenitency: Thus Christ says, concerning those who
rejected his Person and gospel, in ver. 26. _Ye believe not, because ye
are not of my sheep_.

2. They for whom Christ died are called his _friends_, and, as such, the
objects of his highest love, in John xv. 13. _Greater love hath no man
than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends_, and they are
farther described, in the following words, as expressing their love to
him, by _doing whatsoever he commandeth them_; and, he calls them
friends, so they are distinguished from servants, or slaves, who, though
they may be made partakers of common favours, yet he imparts not his
secrets to them; but, with respect to these, he says, in ver. 15, 16.
_All things that I have heard of my Father, I have made known unto you_;
And they are farther distinguished from the world, inasmuch as they are
_chosen by Christ, and ordained that they should go and bring forth
fruit_; and there are several other privileges which accompany
salvation, that are said to belong to these friends of Christ, for whom
he died.

_Object._ It is objected, that what Christ here says, concerning his
friends, is particularly directed to his disciples, with whom at that
time he conversed and these he considers as persons who had made a right
improvement of his redeeming love; and therefore, that redemption which
the whole world might be made partakers of, if they would, these were
like to reap the happy fruits and effects of.

_Answ._ To this it may be replied, that whatever promises, or
privileges, Christ’s disciples were made partakers of, if these do not
immediately respect their character as ministers, but as Christians,
they are equally to be applied to all believers. Now, that what Christ
says to them, whom he calls his friends, is applicable to all believers,
appears from their being described as _abiding in him_, and _bringing
forth much fruit_, under the powerful influence of his grace, _without
whom they can do nothing_; and, when he speaks, in ver. 19, 26. of the
_world’s hating them, because they are not of the world_, and of _the
Comforter’s being sent to testify of him_, in order to the confirmation
of their faith, this belongs to all believers, as such; therefore they
are as much described as Christ’s friends, for whom he laid down his
life, as his disciples, to whom he more immediately directed his
discourse.

And as for the other part of the objection, namely, that these had made
a right improvement of Christ’s redemption: the reply that may be given
to it, is, that none but Christ’s friends can be said to have made a
right improvement of redemption, and therefore none but such have any
ground to conclude that Christ died for them: but this is not the temper
and character of the greater part of mankind, therefore Christ did not
die for the whole world: and it is very evident, from this character
which Christ gives of them, for whom he died, that either they are, or
shall be, of enemies, made friends to him.

3. They are called, _The Children of God that were scattered abroad_,
who should be _gathered together in one_, as the consequence of his
death, in John xi. 52. This gathering together in one, seems to import
the same thing, with what the apostle speaks of, as a display of the
grace of the gospel, and calls it, their _being gathered together in
Christ_ their Head, in Eph. i. 10. and one part of them he considers, as
being already _in heaven_, and the other part of them _on earth_, in
their way to it; and he speaks such things concerning them, in the
foregoing and following verses, as cannot be said of any but those that
shall be saved. Now, if Christ designed, by his death, to purchase this
special privilege for his children, certainly it cannot be supposed that
he died for the whole world; and elsewhere the apostle speaking, in Heb.
ii. 10. concerning _the Captain of our salvation’s being made perfect
through sufferings_ considers this as a means for _bringing many sons to
glory_, which is a peculiar privilege belonging to the heirs of
salvation, and not to the whole world.

_Object. 1._ It will be objected to this, that nothing can be proved
from the words of so vile a person as Caiaphas, who relates this matter;
and therefore, though it be contained in scripture, it does not prove
the truth of the doctrine, which is pretended to be established thereby.

_Answ._ Though Caiaphas was one of the vilest men on earth, and he
either did not believe this prophecy himself, or, if he did, he made a
very bad use of it, yet this does not invalidate the prediction: for
though wicked men may occasionally have some prophetic intimation
concerning future events, as Balaam had, the instrument, which the
Spirit of God makes use of in discovering them to mankind, does not
render them less certain, for the worst of men may be employed to impart
the greatest truths: therefore it is sufficient to our purpose, that it
is said, in the words immediately foregoing, that _being high priest
that year, he prophesied_, as it was no uncommon thing for the high
priest to have prophetic intimations from God, to deliver to his people,
whatever his personal character might be; so that we must consider this
as a divine oracle, and therefore infallibly true.

_Object. 2._ If it be allowed, that what is here predicted was true, yet
the subject-matter thereof respects the nation of the Jews, concerning
whom it cannot be said, that every individual was in a state of
salvation, and therefore it rather militates against, than proves the
doctrine of particular redemption.

_Answ._ It is evident, that when it is said that _Christ should die for
that nation_, the meaning is, the children of God in that nation; for
the children of God, that dwelt there, are opposed to his children that
were scattered abroad; and so the meaning is, Christ died that they
should not perish, who have the temper, and disposition of his children,
wherever the place of their residence be.

4. They for whom Christ died are called his _church_, whereof he is _the
Head_; and _the Body_, of whom _he is the Saviour_, in Eph. v. 23. and
these he is said _to have loved, and given himself for_, in ver. 25. Now
the church is distinguished from the world, as it is gathered out of it;
and the word _church_, in this place, is taken in a very different
sense, from that in which it is understood in many other scriptures. The
apostle does not mean barely a number of professing people, of which
some are sincere, and others may be hypocrites, or of which some shall
be saved, and others not; nor does he speak of those who are apparently
in the way of salvation, as making a visible profession of the Christian
religion: But it is taken for that church, which is elsewhere called
_the spouse of Christ_, and is united to him by faith, and that shall,
in the end, be eternally saved by him; this is very evident, for he
speaks of them, as _sanctified and cleansed with the washing of water by
the word_, in ver. 26. And, as to what concerns their future state, they
are such as shall be _presented to himself a glorious church, not having
spot or wrinkle, or any such thing_, in ver. 27. Now, since it was for
these that Christ died, it cannot be reasonably concluded that he died
equally and alike for all mankind.

And to this we may add, that they are called _his people_, whom he
designed _to save from their sins_, in Matt. i. 21. and also _a peculiar
people_, who are described by this character, by which they are known,
as being _zealous of good works_, in Tit. ii. 14. and, by his death,
they are said not only to be redeemed, so as to be put into the
possession of the external privileges of the gospel, but _redeemed from
all iniquity_, and purified unto himself; all which expressions
certainly denote those distinguishing blessings which Christ, by his
death, designed to purchase for those who are the objects thereof.

II. That Christ did not die equally, and alike for all mankind, appears
from his death’s being an instance of the highest love, and they, who
are concerned herein, are in a peculiar manner, obliged to bless him for
it as such. Thus the apostle joins both these together, when he says in
Gal. ii. 20. _He loved me, and gave himself for me_; and elsewhere it is
said, in Rev. i. 5. _He loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own
blood_; and herein it _is_ said, that _God commendeth his love towards
us_, in Rom. v. 8. as that which is without a parallel. And besides,
when he speaks of this love of Christ expressed herein, he seems to
distinguish it from that common love which is extended to all, when he
says, Christ died _for us_; and, that we may understand what he means
thereby, we must consider to whom it was that this epistle was directed,
namely, to such as were _beloved of God, called to be saints_, in chap.
i. 7. They are also described as such, who _were justified by Christ’s
blood_, and _who should be saved from wrath through him; reconciled to
God by the death of his Son, and who should be saved by his life_; and,
as such, who _joyed in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, and by him had
received the atonement_, in chap. 9-11. therefore surely they, who were
thus beloved by Christ, to whom he expressed his love by dying for them,
must be distinguished from the world. And our Saviour speaks of this, as
far exceeding all that love, which is in the breasts of men, to one
another, in John xv. 18. _Greater love hath no man than this, that a man
should lay down his life for his friends._ Therefore we have no reason
to suppose that he died equally and alike for all, for then there would
be an equal instance of love herein to the best and worst of men; Judas
would have been as much beloved as Peter; the Scribes and Pharisees,
Christ’s avowed enemies and persecutors, as much beloved as his
disciples and faithful followers, if there be nothing discriminating in
his dying love. Therefore we must conclude that he died to procure some
distinguishing blessings for a part of mankind, which all are not
partakers of.

And, as this love is so great and discriminating, it is the
subject-matter of the eternal praise of glorified saints: The _new song_
that is sung to him, in Rev. v. 9. contains in it a celebrating of his
glory, as having _redeemed them to God by his blood, out of every
kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation_, who were admitted into his
immediate presence, as the objects of his distinguishing love. And
certainly all this implies more than his purchasing the
gospel-dispensation, or the discovery of the way of salvation to
mankind, of whom the greatest part neglect, despise, and reap no saving
advantage thereby.

III. There are some circumstances attending the death of Christ, which
argue, that it was not designed for all the world: particularly, he died
as a Surety, or as one who undertook to pay that debt, which the justice
of God might have exacted of men in their own persons. This has already
been proved; and that which may be inferred from hence, is, that if
Christ, by dying, paid this debt, and when he rose from the dead,
receiving a discharge from the hand of justice, then God will not exact
the debt twice, so as to bring them under the condemning sentence of the
law, whom Christ, by his death, has delivered from it: this is certainly
a privilege that does not belong to the whole world, but to the
sanctified.

Moreover, some are not justified or discharged for the sake of a ransom
paid, and never shall be; therefore it may be concluded, that it was not
given for them.

IV. It farther appears, that Christ did not die equally and alike for
all men, in that he designed to purchase that dominion over, or
propriety in them, for whom he died, which would be the necessary result
hereof. As they are his trust and charge, given into his hand, to be
redeemed by his blood; (and, in that respect, he undertook to satisfy
the justice of God for them, which he has done hereby) so, as the result
hereof, he acquired a right to them, as Mediator, by redemption;
pursuant to the eternal covenant between the Father and him, he obtained
a right to bestow eternal life on all that were given to, and purchased
by him. This tends to set forth the Father’s glory, as he designed
hereby to recover and bring back fallen creatures to himself; and it
redounds to Christ’s glory, as Mediator; as herein he not only discovers
the infinite value of his obedience and sufferings, but all his redeemed
ones are rendered the monuments of his love and grace, and shall for
ever be employed in celebrating his praise: But certainly this is
inconsistent with his death’s being ineffectual to answer this end, and
consequently he died for none but those whom he will bring to glory,
which he could not be said to have done, had he laid down his life for
the whole world.

V. That Christ did not die, or pay a price of redemption for all the
world, farther appears, in that, salvation, whether begun, carried on,
or perfected, is represented, in scripture, as the application thereof;
and all those graces, which are wrought by the Spirit in believers, are
the necessary result and consequence thereof. This will appear, if we
consider, that when Christ speaks of his _Spirit_, as _sent to convince
of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and to guide_ his people _into all
truth_ he says, _He shall glorify me, for he shall receive of mine, and
shall shew it unto you_, John xvi. 14. the meaning of which is, that he
should apply what he had purchased, whereby his glory, as our Redeemer,
would be eminently illustrated; and elsewhere, when the apostle speaks
of the Spirit’s work of regeneration and sanctification, he considers it
as the result of Christ’s death, and accordingly it is said to be _shed
on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour_, Tit. iii. 6. And
when we read of his _redeeming them that were under the law_, their
receiving the _adoption of sons_, Gal. iv. 5. and all the privileges
contained in it, these are considered as the necessary consequences
thereof; and Christ’s being _not spared_, but _delivered up_ unto death
for those who are described as chosen, called, justified, and such as
shall be hereafter glorified, is assigned, as a convincing evidence,
that _God will with him freely give them all things_, Rom. viii. 32. Now
this cannot, with the least shadow of reason, be applied to the whole
world; therefore Christ did not die for, or redeem, all mankind.

That the application of redemption may farther appear to be of equal
extent with the purchase thereof, we shall endeavour to prove, that all
those graces, which believers are made partakers of here, as well as
complete salvation, which is the consummation thereof hereafter, are the
purchase of Christ’s death. And herein we principally oppose those who
defend the doctrine of universal redemption, in that open and
self-consistent way, which the Pelagians generally take, who suppose,
that faith and repentance, and all other graces, are entirely in our own
power; otherwise the conditionality of the gospel-covenant, as they
rightly observe, could never be defended, and they, for whom Christ
died, namely, all mankind, must necessarily repent and believe. Thus a
late writer[170] argues, in consistency with his own scheme; whereas
some others, who maintain the doctrine of universal redemption, and, at
the same time, that of efficacious grace, pluck down with one hand, what
they build up with the other. It is the former of these that we are now
principally to consider, when we speak of the graces of the Spirit, as
what are purchased by Christ’s blood; and, that this may appear, let it
be observed,

1. That complete salvation is styled, _The purchased possession_, Eph.
i. 14. and our _deliverance from the wrath to come_, is not only
inseparably connected with, but contained in it, and both these are
considered as purchased by the death of Christ, 1 Thess. i. 10. Rom. v.
9, 10. and the apostle elsewhere, speaking concerning the church, as
arrived to its state of perfection in heaven, and its being _without
spot or wrinkle or any such thing_, and _without blemish_, that is, when
its sanctification is brought to perfection, considers this, as the
accomplishment of that great end of Christ’s _giving himself for it_, or
laying down his life to purchase it, Eph. v. 25, 27.

2. It follows, from hence, that all that grace, whereby believers are
made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light,
which is the beginning of this salvation, is the purchase of Christ’s
blood. Accordingly God is said to have _blessed us with all spiritual
blessings in heavenly places_, (or, as it may be better rendered, in
what _concerns heavenly things_) _in Christ_, Eph. i. 3. that is, for
the sake of Christ’s death, which was the purchase thereof; therefore it
follows, that faith and repentance, and all other graces, which are
wrought in us in this world, are purchased thereby: Thus it is said,
_Unto you it is given in behalf of Christ to believe_, as well as to
exercise those graces, which are necessary in those who are called _to
suffer for his sake_, Phil. i. 29. and elsewhere God is said to have
_exalted Christ to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance_, as
well as _forgiveness of sins_, Acts v. 31. And, since his exaltation
includes in it his resurrection from the dead, it plainly argues, that
he died to give repentance, and consequently that this grace was
purchased by him; and when our Saviour speaks of _sending_ the Spirit,
_the Comforter to convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of
judgment_, which comprizes in it that internal work of grace that is
wrought by him, he considers this as the consequence of his leaving the
world, after he had finished the work of redemption by his death, and so
purchased this privilege for them, John xvi. 7, 8.

VI. That Christ did not die for all mankind, appears from his not
interceding for them, as he saith, _I pray not for the world, but for
them which thou hast given me, for they are thine_; and not for his
disciples alone, _but for them also which should believe on him through
their word_, John xvii. 9, 20. This farther appears from a believer’s
freedom from condemnation being founded on Christ’s _intercession_, as
well as his _death_ and _resurrection_, Rom. viii. 34. and his being, at
the same time, styled an _Advocate with the Father_, and _a propitiation
for our sins_, 1 John ii. 1, 2.

And this may be farther argued from the nature of Christ’s intercession,
which (as will be considered in its proper place[171]) is his presenting
himself, in the merit of his death, in the behalf of those for whom he
suffered; as also from his being _always heard_ in that which he pleads
for, John xi. 42. which argues that they shall be saved, otherwise it
could not be supposed that he intercedes for their salvation: but this
he cannot be said to do for all mankind, as appears by the event, in
that all shall not be saved.

_Object._ To this it is objected that Christ prayed for his enemies, as
it was foretold concerning him, by the prophet, who saith, _He made
intercession for the transgressors_, Isa. liii. 12. and this was
accomplished at his crucifixion, when he saith, _Father, forgive them,
for they know not what they do_, Luke xxiii. 34. That which Christ here
prayed for, was forgiveness, which is a privilege connected with
salvation; and this he did in the behalf of the multitude that crucified
him: but it cannot reasonably be supposed, that all these were saved:
therefore if Christ’s death and intercession respects the same persons,
and necessarily infers their salvation, then it would follow, that this
rude and inhuman multitude were all saved, which they, who deny
universal redemption do not suppose.

_Answ._ Some, in answer to this objection, suppose, that there is a
foundation for a distinction between those supplications, which Christ,
in his human nature, put up to God, as being bound, by the moral law, in
common with all mankind, to pray for his enemies; and his Mediatorial
prayer or intercession. In the former of these respects, he prayed for
them; which prayer, though it argued the greatness of his affection for
them, yet it did not necessarily infer their salvation; in like manner,
as Stephen, when dying, is represented as praying for those who stoned
him, when he saith, _Lord, lay not this sin to their charge_, Acts vii.
80. or, as our Saviour prays for himself in the garden, _O, my Father,
if it be possible, let this cup pass from me_, Matt. xxvi. 39. whereby
he signifies the formidableness of the death he was to undergo, and that
his human nature could not but dread such a degree of suffering: this
they suppose to be different from his Mediatorial intercession for his
people, in which he represents the merit of his death, as what would
effectually procure the blessings purchased thereby; in this latter
sense, he could not be said to pray for any of those who crucified him,
who are excluded from salvation.

But, since this reply to the objection hath some difficulties attending
it, which render it less satisfactory, especially because it supposes
that he was not heard in that which he prayed for, when he desired that
God would _forgive them_, I would rather chuse to take another method in
answering it; namely, that when Christ prays that God would _forgive
them_, he means that God would not immediately pour forth the vials of
his wrath upon that wicked generation, as their crime deserved, but that
they might still continue to be a people favoured with the means of
grace; this he prays for, and herein was answered; and his intercession
for them, though it had not an immediate respect to the salvation of all
of them, had, notwithstanding, a subserviency to the gathering in of his
elect amongst them, whose salvation was principally intended by this
intercession, as it was for them that he shed his blood; and accordingly
I apprehend, that this desire that God would _forgive them_, implies the
same thing as Moses’s request, in the behalf of Israel, did, when he
saith, _Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people, as thou
hast forgiven this people from Egypt, until now_, Numb. xiv. 19. where
to pardon intends nothing else but God’s not punishing them as their sin
deserved, in an immediate, and exemplary way and manner.

VII. The doctrine of universal redemption hath some absurd consequences
attending it, not consistent with the divine perfections; as,

1. It would give occasion for Christ to be called the Saviour of those
who shall not be eventually saved by him, the Redeemer of many, who are
held in chains by the justice of God, and receive no saving benefit by
his redemption, or for him to be said to express the highest instance of
love, in dying for those who shall for ever be the objects of his
hatred, which implies a contradiction; and what is this but to say, that
he delivers those from _the wrath to come_, 1 Thess. i. 10. who are, and
shall be for ever, children of wrath? therefore we must either assert
universal salvation, or deny universal redemption.

2. It will also follow from hence, that he satisfied the justice of God
for all the sins of all men; for to lay down a price of redemption, is
to discharge the whole debt, otherwise it would be to no purpose. Now,
if he satisfied for all the sins of every man, he did this that no sin
should be their ruin, and consequently he died to take away the guilt of
final impenitency in those who shall perish; and therefore they have, by
virtue hereof, a right to salvation, which they shall not obtain: it
follows then, that since he did not die for all the sins of all men, he
did not, by his death, redeem all men.

3. If Christ died for all men, he intended hereby their salvation, or
that they should live: but it is certain he did not intend the salvation
of all men; for then his design must be frustrated with respect to a
part of them, for whom he died, which contains a reflection on his
wisdom, as not adapting the means to the end. Moreover, this supposes
that Christ’s attaining the end he designed by his death, depends on the
will of man, and consequently it subjects him to disappointment, and
renders God’s eternal purpose dependent on man’s conduct.

4. Since God designed, by the death of Christ, to bring to himself a
revenue of glory, in proportion to the infinite value thereof, and
Christ, our great Mediator, was, as the prophet saith, to have _a
portion with the great_, and to _divide the spoil with the strong_, as
the consequence of his _pouring out his soul unto death_, Isa. liii. 12.
it follows from thence, that if all are not saved, for whom Christ died,
then the Father and the Son would lose that glory which they designed to
attain hereby, as the work would be left incomplete; and a great part of
mankind cannot take occasion from Christ’s redeeming them, to adore and
magnify that grace, which is displayed therein, since it is not
eventually conducive to their salvation.

Having endeavoured to prove the doctrine of particular redemption; we
shall now consider the arguments generally brought by those who defend
the contrary scheme, who suppose, that God designed, as the consequence
of Christ’s death, to save all mankind, upon condition of their
repenting and believing, according to the tenor of the gospel-covenant,
which is substituted in the room of that which was violated by man’s
apostacy from God, whereby sincere obedience comes in the room of that
perfect obedience, which was the condition of the first covenant. This
they call man’s being brought into a salvable state by Christ’s death;
so that Christ rendered salvation possible; whereas faith, repentance,
and sincere obedience, render it certain. And, so far as this concerns
the design of God, in sending Christ to redeem the world, they suppose
that God determined hereby to put man into such a state, that all may be
saved, if they will.

And, as to what concerns the event, to wit, man’s complying with the
condition, they that defend universal redemption are divided in their
sentiments about it; some supposing that Christ purchased faith and
repentance for a certain number of mankind, namely, those who shall
repent and believe, and pursuant thereunto, will work those graces in
them; whereas others, who had not these graces purchased for them, shall
perish, though Christ has redeemed them. These suppose, that redemption
is both universal and particular, in different respects; _universal_, in
that all who sit under the sound of the gospel, have a conditional grant
of grace contained therein, whereby they are put into a salvable state,
or possibility of attaining salvation; and _particular_, with respect to
those who shall repent and believe, and so attain salvation; in which
sense they apply that scripture, in which God is said to be _the Saviour
of all men, especially of those that believe_, 1 Tim. iv. 10. This some
call a middle way, between the Pelagian and Calvinistic methods of
reasoning about this subject; but it appears to be inconsistent with
itself, inasmuch as they, who give into this hypothesis, are forced
sometimes to decline what they have been contending for on one side,
when pressed with some arguments brought in defence of the other;
therefore we shall pass this over, and consider the self-consistent
scheme, in which universal redemption is maintained,

The sum of all their arguments, who defend it in the Pelagian way,
amounts to this, _viz._ that Christ died not to purchase salvation
absolutely for any, but to make way for God’s entering into a new or
gospel covenant with men, in which salvation is promised, on condition
of faith, repentance, and sincere obedience, which they suppose to be in
the power of those who have the gospel. And, that the heathen may not be
excluded, though it cannot be styled a gospel-covenant to them, there
are abatements made, as to what concerns faith, founded on divine
revelation, and the only condition that entitles them to salvation is
their yielding sincere obedience to the law of nature, in proportion to
their light.

They farther add, that this gospel-covenant must be conditional,
otherwise it could not be called a _covenant_, as wanting an essential
ingredient contained in every covenant; and these conditions must be in
our own power, otherwise the overture of salvation, depending on the
performance thereof, would be illusory; and it could not be called a
covenant of grace, inasmuch as there can be no grace, or favour, in
promising a blessing upon impossible conditions; neither could this
gospel-covenant be styled a better covenant than that which God entered
into with our first parents, in which the conditions were in their own
power; nor could it be an expedient to repair the ruins of the fall, or
bring man, in any sense, into a salvable state. So that, according to
this representation of the doctrine of particular redemption, there are
not only many absurd consequences attending it, which detract from the
glory of the gospel, but it is contrary to the holiness, wisdom,
justice, and goodness of God, and so derogates as much from the divine
perfections, as any thing that is argued in defence of universal
redemption can be pretended to do. And, to sum up the whole argument,
there is an appeal to scripture, as that which gives countenance to it
in a multitude of instances. This is the substance of all that is said
in defence of this doctrine; and, in opposition to it, We shall take
leave to observe,

(1.) That it is taken for granted, but not sufficiently proved, that
Christ died to purchase the covenant of grace; whereas, if the
difference between the covenant of redemption, and the covenant of
grace, be only circumstantial, as has been before observed,[172] then
the death of Christ is included among the conditions of this covenant;
and if so, the covenant itself could not be the purchase thereof: but,
if by Christ’s purchasing the covenant of grace, they only meant his
purchasing the graces given in the covenant, we are far from denying it,
though they generally do. That therefore which we are principally to
oppose, is their sense of the conditionality of the covenant of grace,
and its being essential to a covenant to be conditional, namely, to
depend on uncertain conditions, in our power to perform, it being as
they suppose, left to the freedom of our own will to comply with or
reject them, and thereby to establish or disannul this covenant: but
having elsewhere proved that the word _covenant_ is often used in
scripture, without the idea of a condition annexed to it,[173] and also
considered in what respects those ideas, contained in a conditional
covenant between man and man, are to be excluded, when we speak of a
covenant between God and man;[174] and having also, in maintaining the
doctrine of election, endeavoured to defend the absoluteness of God’s
will, and shewed in what sense we are to understand those scriptures
that are laid down in a conditional form,[175] which may, with a little
variation, be applied to our present argument; we shall, to avoid the
repetition of things before insisted on, add nothing farther in answer
to this part of the argument, we are now considering, but only that it
implies God to be, in many respects, like ourselves, and supposes that
it is in our power to frustrate, and render the death of Christ, which
was the highest display of divine grace, ineffectual, and so prevent his
having that glory, which he designed to bring to his own name thereby.

(2.) As to what is farther argued, concerning the covenant of grace
being a better covenant than that which God made with man in innocency,
and therefore that the conditions thereof must be in our own power,
otherwise God, by insisting on the performance of what is impossible,
subverts the design of the gospel, and the covenant hereupon ceases to
be a covenant of grace; it may be replied that though we freely own that
the covenant of grace is, in many respects, better than that which God
entered into with man in innocency, and that it would not be so were it
impossible for those, who are concerned therein, to attain the blessings
promised to the heirs of salvation; yet we cannot allow that it must
necessarily be conditional, in the sense in which some understand the
word, much less that the conditions thereof are in our own power, or
else the design of the gospel must be concluded to be subverted.

Therefore we may take leave to observe, that when God is said to require
faith, and all other graces in this covenant-dispensation, and has
connected them with salvation, this does not overthrow the grace of the
covenant, but rather establish it; for grace and salvation are not only
purchased for, but promised and secured to all who are redeemed, by the
faithfulness of God, and the intercession of Christ and shall certainly
be applied to them; and whereas, the graces of the Spirit are not in our
own power, this is so far from overthrowing the design of the gospel,
that it tends to advance the glory thereof, as God hereby takes occasion
to set forth the exceeding riches of his grace, in making his people
meet for, and bringing them, at last, to glory. And, though it be not
possible for all to attain salvation, this should he no discouragement
to any one to attend on those means of grace, under which we are to hope
for the saving effects of Christ’s death, whereby we may conclude that
eternal life is purchased for us, and we shall at last be brought to it.

(3.) As to what is farther alleged, concerning the covenant of grace, as
designed to repair the ruins of the fall, or God’s intending hereby to
bring man into a salvable state; we are never told, in scripture, that
what was lost by our first apostasy from God, is to be compensated by
the extent of grace and salvation to all mankind; and it is not the
design of the gospel to discover this to the world, but that the
exceeding riches of divine grace should be _made known to the vessels of
mercy, before prepared unto glory_, Rom. ix. 23. This is, as some
express it, the plank that remains after the ship-wreck,[176] or the
great foundation of our hope, and possibility of escaping everlasting
destruction; and it is a much better ground of security, than to lay the
whole stress of our salvation on the best improvements of corrupt
nature, or those endeavours which we are to use, to improve the liberty
of our will, in order to our escaping ruin, without dependance on the
divine assistance; which is the method that they take to attain
salvation, who thus defend the doctrine of universal redemption.

(4.) As for our being brought into a salvable state by the death of
Christ; the gospel no where gives all mankind ground to expect
salvation, but only those who have the marks and characters of Christ’s
redeemed ones; and these are not brought by his death unto a mere
possibility of attaining it, but the scripture represents them as having
the _earnest, or first fruits_ thereof, and speaks of _Christ in them_,
as _the hope of glory_, Eph. i. 14. Rom. viii. 23. They are also said to
be _reconciled to God by the death of his Son_, chap. v. 10. which is
more than their having a bare possibility of salvation, as the result
and consequence thereof.

(5.) That which is next to be considered, is, what concerns the doctrine
of particular redemption, as being derogatory to the divine perfections,
together with many absurd consequences, which are supposed to attend it.
It is very common, in all methods of reasoning, and particularly in
defending or opposing the doctrine of universal redemption, for persons
to endeavour to make it appear, that the contrary scheme of doctrine is
chargeable with absurdities; and, as we have taken the same method in
opposing universal redemption, it may reasonably be expected, that the
doctrine of particular redemption should have many absurd consequences
charged upon it; to which we shall endeavour to reply, that thereby it
may be discerned whether the charge be just or no. And,

1. The doctrine of particular redemption is supposed to be inconsistent
with the goodness of God, as it renders salvation impossible to the
greatest part of mankind, and their state irretrievable by any means
that can be used, and so has a tendency to lead them to despair. But to
this it may be replied,

_1st_, That it must be owned, that they, for whom Christ did not die,
cannot be saved; and therefore, had God described any persons by name,
or given some visible character, by which it might be certainly
concluded that they were not redeemed, it would follow from thence, that
their state would be desperate. But this is not his usual method of
dealing with mankind: he might, indeed, have done it, and then such
would have been thereby excluded from, and not encouraged to attend on
the means of grace; but he has, in wisdom and sovereignty, concealed the
event of things, with respect hereunto, from the world; and therefore
there is a vast difference between men’s concluding that a part of the
world are excluded from this privilege; and that they themselves are
included in that number: the latter of which we have no warrant to say,
concerning ourselves, or any others, especially so long as we are under
the means of grace. There is, indeed, one character of persons in the
gospel, which gives ground to conclude that Christ did not die for them,
and that is what respects those who had committed the unpardonable sin.
I shall not, at present, enter into the dispute, whether that sin can
now be committed or no, since we may be occasionally led to insist on
that subject under another head; but there seems to be sufficient ground
to determine, either that this cannot be certainly known, since the
extraordinary gift of discerning of spirits is now ceased; or, at least,
that this cannot be applied to any who attend on the means of grace with
a desire of receiving spiritual advantage thereby.

_2dly_, If Christ’s not dying for the whole world be a means to lead men
to despair, as salvation is hereby rendered impossible, this consequence
may, with equal evidence, be deduced from the supposition, that all
mankind shall not be saved, which they, who defend universal redemption,
pretend not to deny: but will any one say, that this supposition leads
men to despair? or ought it to be reckoned a reflection on the divine
goodness, that so many are left to perish in their fallen state, by the
judicial hand of God, which might have applied salvation unto all, as
well as purchased it for all mankind?

2. The doctrine of particular redemption is farther supposed to be
inconsistent with the preaching the gospel, which is generally styled a
door of hope; and then the dispensation we are under cannot be called a
day of grace; which renders all the overtures of salvation made to
sinners illusory, and contains in it a reflection, not only on the grace
of God, but his holiness.

In order to our replying to this, something must be premised to explain
what we mean by a day of grace, and the hope of the gospel, which
accompanies it. And here, let it be considered,

(1.) That we hereby intend such a dispensation in which sinners are
called to repent and believe, and so obtain salvation; not that we are
to suppose that it is to be attained by their own power, without the
special influences of the Holy Ghost, for this would be to ascribe that
to man, which is peculiar to God; nor that God would give his special
grace to all that sit under the sound of the gospel; for this is
contrary to common observation and experience, since many make a
profession of religion who are destitute of saving grace.

As for the hope of the gospel, or that door of hope that is opened
therein to sinners, we cannot understand any thing else thereby, but
that all, without distinction, are commanded and encouraged to wait on
God in his instituted means of grace, and the event hereof must be left
to him who gives and withholds success to them, as he pleases. All have
this encouragement, that, peradventure they may obtain grace, under the
means of grace; and this is not inconsistent with their being styled a
door of hope, and God is not obliged to grant sinners a greater degree
of hope than this, to encourage them to wait on him in his ordinances,
notwithstanding there is a farther motive inducing us hereunto, namely,
that this is his ordinary way, in which he works grace; or, if God is
pleased to give us desires after the efficacy of his grace, or any
degree of conviction of sin and misery; this is still a farther ground
of hope, though it fall short of that grace of hope that accompanies
salvation.

(2.) As to what concerns the preaching of the gospel, and the overtures
of salvation to all therein, which, upon the supposition of Christ’s not
dying for all men, they conclude to be illusory, and repugnant to the
holiness of God. To this it may be replied, that we do not deny that in
preaching the gospel, Christ is offered to the chief of sinners, or that
the proclamation of grace is made public to all, without distinction:
but this will not overthrow the doctrine of particular redemption, if we
rightly consider what is done, in offering Christ to sinners; which,
that it may be understood, let it be observed,

_1st_, That God has given us no warrant to enter into his secret
determinations, respecting the event of things, so as to give any
persons ground to conclude that they are redeemed, and have a warrant to
apply to themselves the promise of salvation, or any blessings that
accompany it, while in an unconverted state. Ministers are not to
address their discourses to a mixed multitude of professing Christians,
in such a way, as though they knew that they were all effectually
called, and chosen of God. Our Saviour compares them to _the faithful
and wise steward_, whose business it is _to give every one their portion
of meat in due season_, Luke xii. 42. and therefore they are,
consistently with what is contained in scripture, to tell them, that
salvation is purchased for a part of mankind, and they know not but that
they may be of that number, which will be an evidence to them that they
are so.

_2dly_, When Christ is said to be offered to sinners, in the preaching
of the gospel, that, which is intended thereby, is his being set forth
therein as a most desirable object, altogether lovely, worthy to be
embraced, and submitted to; and not only so, but that he will certainly
save all whom he effectually calls, inasmuch as he has purchased
salvation for them.

_3dly_, It includes in it an informing sinners, that it is their
indispensible duty and interest to believe in Christ, and in order
thereto, that they are commanded and encouraged to wait on him for that
grace, which can enable them thereunto: and, as a farther encouragement,
to let them know that there is a certain connexion between grace and
salvation; so that none, who are enabled, by faith, to come to Christ,
shall be cast out, or rejected by him. This is the preaching and hope of
the gospel; and, in this sense, the overtures of salvation are made
therein; which is not in the least inconsistent with the doctrine of
particular redemption.[177]

_Object._ Though this be such a method of preaching the gospel, as is
consistent with the doctrine of special redemption; yet there is another
way of preaching it, which is more agreeable to the express words of
scripture, and founded on the doctrine of universal redemption; and
accordingly sinners ought to be told, that the great God, in the most
affectionate manner, expostulates with them, to persuade them to accept
of life and salvation, when he represents himself, as _having no
pleasure in the death of the wicked_, and, with an earnestness of
expression says, _Turn ye, turn ye, from your evil ways; for why will ye
die, O house of Israel?_ Ezek. xxxiii. 11. Therefore the design of the
gospel is, to let the world know that God’s dealing with mankind, in
general, are full of goodness; he would not have any perish, and
therefore has sent his Son to redeem them all, and, as the consequence
hereof, pleads with them to turn to him, that they may reap the benefits
purchased thereby.

_Answ._ Whatever be the sense of these expostulatory expressions, which
we frequently meet with in scripture, we must not suppose that they
infer, that the saving grace of repentance is in our own power; for that
is not only contrary to the sense of many other scriptures, but to the
experience of every true penitent, whose language is like that of
Ephraim, _Turn thou me, and I shall be turned_, Jer. xxxi. 18. nor must
we conclude, that God designs to save those that shall not be saved; for
then he could not say, _My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my
pleasure_, Isa. xlvi. 10. If these ideas, as unworthy of God, be
abstracted from the sense of such-like scriptures, we may understand
them, not only in a way that is consistent with the divine perfections,
but with the doctrine of particular redemption; which, that it may
appear, let it be considered, that it is a very common thing, in
scripture, for God to condescend to use human modes of speaking, and
those, in particular, by which various passions are set forth;
notwithstanding, we must not conclude that these passions are in God as
they are in men. Such expostulations as these, when used by us, signify,
that we earnestly desire the good of others, and are often warning them
of their danger: but all is to no purpose, for they are obstinately set
on their own ruin, which we can by no means prevent; it being either out
of our power to help them, or, if we could, it would not redound to our
honour to do it. This draws forth such-like expostulations from men; but
the weakness contained in them, is by no means to be applied to God: it
cannot be said to be out of his power to give grace to impenitent
sinners; nor, in case he has so determined, will it tend to his
dishonour to bestow it. Now, that we may understand the sense of these
scriptures, let it be considered,

1. That _life_ and _death_, in scripture, are oftentimes used to signify
the external dispensations of providence, as to what concerns that good
or evil, which God would bring on his people: thus it is said, _See, I
have set before thee this day, life and good, death and evil_, Deut.
xxx. 15, 19, 20. where _life_ is explained in the following words, as
signifying their being _multiplied and blessed in the land, whither they
were to go to possess it_; and when God advises them in a following
verse, _to choose life_, the consequence of this is, that _both they and
their seed should live, that they might dwell in the land, which the
Lord sware to their fathers to give them_; and elsewhere, when God says,
by the prophet Jeremiah, _I set before you the way of life, and the way
of death_, Jer. xxi. 8. he explains it in the following words, as
containing an expedient for their escaping temporal judgments, when he
says, _He that abideth in the city, shall die by the sword, and by the
famine, and by the pestilence; but he that goeth out, and falleth to the
Chaldeans, shall live_. And I cannot see any reason to conclude, but
that many other expressions, of the like nature, in which God promises
life, or threatens death to the house of Israel, by the prophets, who
often warned them of their being carried into captivity, and dying in
their enemies’ land, have a more immediate respect thereunto; and that
proverbial expression, which the Israelites are represented as making
use of, _The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the childrens’ teeth
are set on edge_, Ezek. xviii. 2. seems to intimate no more than this;
_q. d._ that our fathers have sinned, and thereby deserved that the
nation should be ruined by being carried captive, and we must suffer for
their sins; in answer to which, God tells them, that this proverb should
not be used by them, but this evil should be brought on them for their
own iniquities, or prevented by their reformation, namely, by forsaking
their _idolatry_, _whoredom_, _violence_, _oppression_, and other
abominations. And then he adds, ver. 12, 13, 17, 18. _the soul that
sinneth, it shall die_, that is, if you continue to commit these vile
enormities, you shall be followed with all those judgments which shall
tend to your utter ruin; but _if the wicked will turn from all his sins
which he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die_, ver.
21. If this be the sense of these and such-like texts, then it was not
wholly out of their own power thus to turn to God, how much soever that
special grace, which accompanies salvation, be out of our power. It is
one thing to say, that man cannot work a principle of grace in himself,
or to do that by his own power, which is the special gift and work of
the Spirit of God, and, as the consequence thereof, have ground to
expect eternal salvation; and another thing to say, that he cannot
abstain from some gross enormities, as an expedient to prevent
desolating judgments. But if it will not be allowed that this is the
sense of all those scriptures, that promise or threaten _life_ or
_death_, which I do not pretend peremptorily to assert, let it be
farther added,

2. That if spiritual and eternal blessings be included in the word
_life_, and the contrary in _death_, in the scriptures but now referred
to, we may account for the sense of them, without supposing that God
designs what shall never come to pass, to wit, the universal salvation
of mankind, though a part of them shall not be saved, by considering
desire, in him, as signifying the effects of desire in men.[178] Thus
God’s not desiring a thing, denotes it not to be the object of desire;
accordingly when he desires not the death of sinners, it implies, that
they ought to endeavour to avoid it, as the most formidable evil; and,
on the other hand, his taking pleasure in a thing, as he does in the
salvation of his people, signifies not only his intending to save them,
but the inexpressible happiness which they shall attain thereby; and,
when he exhorts them, as an expedient to attain this privilege, _to
turn_, this signifies the inseparable connexion between salvation and
repentance, or turning to God, which, though it be God’s gift, it is,
notwithstanding, our act and indispensible duty. Therefore, if we take
this, and such-like scriptures, in either of these two senses, they are
far from giving countenance to the doctrine of universal redemption.

3. There is another absurd consequence charged upon the doctrine of
special redemption, namely, that it is inconsistent with our being
exhorted and encouraged to _repent and believe for the remission of
sins_, or _to the saving of the soul_, as scripture gives all men a
warrant to do, Acts ii. 38. and since all are commanded to exercise
these graces, and to expect salvation, as connected therewith, the
doctrine of particular redemption, as a late writer insinuates, puts us
under a necessity of believing a lie. And he farther adds, that if the
condition, annexed to the promise of salvation, be impossible, and known
to be so, it gives no encouragement to set about it; and, if he who
promises knows it to be so, he promises nothing, because nothing that a
person can obtain, or be the better for, whereby he is deluded, and a
cheat put upon him, by pretending kindness, in making the promise, and
intending no such thing.[179] Thus that author represents the doctrine
of particular redemption, as containing the most blasphemous
consequences that words can express: he must therefore have been very
sure that his argument was unanswerably just, though, I hope, we shall
be able to make it appear that it is far from being so; which, that we
may do, let it be considered,

(1.) That we are to distinguish between a person’s being bound to
believe in Christ, and to believe that Christ died for him; the first
act of faith does not contain in it a person’s being persuaded that
Christ died for him, but that he is the Object of faith, as he is
represented to be in scripture; and accordingly it supposes that we are
convinced that Christ is the Messiah, that he purchased salvation for
all who shall attain it, and is able to save, unto the utmost, all that
come unto God by him; and also, that it is our duty and interest so to
do. And, since saving faith is not in our own power, but the work and
gift of divine grace, we are encouraged to wait on God in his
ordinances, and, with fervent prayer, to beseech him that he would work
this grace in us, acknowledging, that if he should deny us this
blessing, there is no unrighteousness in him; and we are to continue
waiting on him, and using all those means which are in our power, though
they cannot attain their end, without his blessings; and, when he is
pleased to work this grace in us, we shall be enabled to put forth
another act of faith, which is properly saving, as intended by the
scripture, which speaks of _believing to the saving of the soul_, which
consists in receiving of him, and resting on him for salvation, as
hoping that he hath died for us, inasmuch as he hath given us that
temper and disposition of soul, which is contained in that character
which is given of those for whom Christ died.

(2.) We must farther distinguish between God’s commanding all that sit
under the sound of the gospel to believe in Christ; and his giving them
ground to expect salvation, before they believe in him. Faith and
repentance may be asserted to be duties incumbent on all, and demanded
of them, when, at the same time, it doth not follow that all are given
to expect salvation, upon the bare declaration that they are so.
Accordingly the command and encouragement is to be considered in this
order; first, as it respects our obligation to believe; and then, as it
respects our hope of salvation; and neither the former nor the latter of
these does, in the least, infer that God intended to save all mankind,
or gave them ground to expect salvation, who do not believe in Christ.

(3.) As to what is farther suggested, concerning salvation’s being
promised on such conditions, as are known, both by God and man, to be
impossible, the only answer that need be given to this, is, that though
_with men this is impossible, yet with God all things are possible_,
Matt. xix. 26. When we consider faith and repentance, as conditions
connected with salvation, or as evincing our right to claim an interest
in Christ, and that salvation, which is purchased by him, in which
sense, as was before observed, we do not oppose their being called
conditions thereof, by those who are tenacious of that mode of
speaking;[180] and we do not call them impossible conditions, any
otherwise than as they are so, without the powerful energy of the Holy
Spirit; we cannot think that our asserting, that it is impossible that
all mankind should thus repent and believe, is a doctrine contrary to
scripture, which gives us ground to conclude, that all men shall not be
saved, and consequently that all shall not _believe to the saving of the
soul_. And, when we consider the impossibility thereof, we do not
suppose that God has given all mankind ground to expect this saving
faith, upon which the blasphemous suggestion, relating to his deluding
men, is founded; it is enough for us to say, that God has not told any
one, who attends on his ordinances, in hope of obtaining this grace,
that he will not give him faith; and more than this need not be desired
by persons to induce them to perform this duty, while praying and
waiting for the happy event thereof, to wit, our obtaining these graces,
and so being enabled to conclude that Christ has died for us.

4. If all the absurdities before mentioned will not take place to
overthrow the doctrine of particular redemption, there is another
argument, which they, who oppose it, conclude to be unanswerable,
namely, that it does not conduce so much to advance the grace of God, as
to assert that Christ died for all men, inasmuch as more are included
herein, as the objects of divine favour, therefore God is hereby more
glorified.

To this it may be replied, that it does not tend to advance the divine
perfections, to suppose that God designed to save any that shall perish,
for that would be to argue, as has been before considered, that the
purpose of God, with respect to the salvation of many, is frustrated.
But, since the stress of the argument is laid on the display of the
glory of divine grace; that does not so much consist in the extent of
the favour, with respect to a greater number of persons, as it does in
its being free and undeserved, and tending, for this reason, to lay the
highest obligation on those who are concerned herein, which is the most
known sense of the word _grace_.

But inasmuch as it will be objected, that this is only a criticism,
respecting the sense of a word, it may be farther replied to it, that if
the grace, or goodness of God, be more magnified by universal, than
particular redemption, as including more, who are the objects thereof,
the same method of reasoning would hold good, and they might as well
attempt to prove, that there must be an universal salvation of mankind;
for that would be a greater display of divine goodness, than for God
only to save a few; and it would be yet more eminently displayed, had he
not only saved all mankind, but fallen angels. Shall the goodness of God
be pretended to be reflected on, because he does not extend it to all
that might have been the objects thereof, had he pleased? Has he not a
right to do what he will with his own? And may not his favour be
communicated in a discriminating way, whereby it will be more advanced
and adored, by those who are the objects thereof, without our taking
occasion from thence to reply against him, or say, what dost thou?

And to this it may be added, that they, who make use of this method of
reasoning, ought to consider that it tends as much to militate against
the doctrine they maintain, namely, that God hath put all mankind into a
salvable state, or that Christ, by his death, procured a possibility of
salvation for all; which, according to their argument, is not so great a
display of the divine goodness, as though God had actually saved all
mankind, which he might have done; for he might have given repentance
and remission of sins to all, as well as sent his Son to die for all;
therefore, upon this head of argument, universal redemption cannot be
defended, without asserting universal salvation. Thus concerning those
absurdities which are pretended to be fastened on the doctrine of
particular redemption; we proceed to consider the last and principal
argument that is generally brought against it, namely,

5. That it is contrary to the express words of scripture; and some speak
with so much assurance, as though there were not one word in scripture,
intimating, that our Lord died only for a few, or only for the
elect;[181] though others will own, that there are some scriptures that
assert particular redemption, but that these are but few; and therefore
the doctrine of universal redemption must be aquiesced in, as being
maintained by a far greater number of scriptures: but, in answer to
this, let it be considered, that it is not the number of scriptures,
brought in defence of either side of the question, that will give any
great advantage to the cause they maintain, unless it could be made
appear that they understood them in the true and genuine sense of the
Holy Ghost therein: but this is not to be passed over, without a farther
enquiry into the sense thereof, which we shall do, and endeavour to
prove that it does not overthrow the doctrine we have been maintaining,
how much soever the mode of expression may seem to oppose it; and, in
order hereunto, we shall first consider in what sense _all_, _all men_,
_the world_, _all the world_, and such-like words are taken in
scripture, as well as in common modes of speaking, in those matters that
do not immediately relate to the subject of universal redemption; and
then we may, without much difficulty, apply the same limitations to the
like manner of speaking, which we find in those scriptures which are
brought for the proof of universal redemption. Here we are to enquire
into the meaning of those words that are used, which seem to denote the
universality of the subject spoken of, when nothing less is intended
thereby, in various instances, which have no immediate reference to the
doctrine of redemption. And,

(1.) As to the word _all_. It is certain, that it is often used when
every individual is not intended thereby: thus we read in Exod. ix. 6.
that _all the cattle of Egypt died_, when the plague of murrain was
inflicted on the beasts; whereas it is said, in the following words,
that _none of the cattle of the children of Israel died_; and, from ver.
3. it appears that none of the _Egyptians’ cattle died_, save those in
_the field_; and it is plain, that there was a great number of cattle
that died not, which were reserved to be cut off by a following plague,
_viz._ that _of hail_, in ver. 19. Moreover, it is said, in ver. 25.
that _the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of
the field_; yet we read, in chap. x. 5. of the locusts _eating the
residue of that which escaped, and remained unto them from the hail_.

Again, we read, in Exod. xxxii. 3. that _all the people brake off the
golden ear-rings which were in their ears_, of which Aaron made the
calf, which they worshipped; whereas it is not probable that all wore
ear-rings; and it is certain, that all did not join with them, who
committed idolatry herein; for the apostle intimates as much, when he
speaks of _some of them as being idolaters_, who _sat down to eat and
drink, and rose up to play_, 1 Cor. x. 7. And some conclude, that those
of the tribe of Levi, who _gathered themselves unto Moses_, and joined
with him in executing the vengeance of God on the idolaters, are said to
be _on the Lord’s side_; not barely because they repented of their
idolatry, but because they did not join with the rest in it; and, if
this be the sense of the text, yet it does not appear that they were all
exempted from the charge of idolatry, though it be said, that _all the
sons of Levi were gathered to him_; for we read, in ver. 29. of _every
man’s slaying his son, and his brother_; and, in Deut. xxxiii. 9. it is
said, on this occasion, that _they did not know their fathers, nor their
children_, that is, they did not spare them; therefore some of that, as
well as the other tribes, joined in the idolatry, though they were all
gathered to Moses, as being on the Lord’s side.

Again, we read, in Zeph. ii. 14. where the prophet speaks concerning
_God’s destroying Syria_, and _making Nineveh desolate_, that _all the
beasts of the nations shall lodge in the upper lintels of it_; by which
he intends that those beasts, that generally lodge in the wilderness, or
in places remote from cities, such as the _cormorant and bittern_, &c.
should take up their residence in those places, which were formerly
inhabited by the Ninevites; therefore _all the beasts_ cannot be
supposed to signify all that were in all parts of the world.

Again, the prophet Isaiah, in chap. ii. 2. when speaking of the
multitude which should _come to the mountain of the Lord’s house_, which
he expresses by _all nations coming to it_, explains what is meant by
_all nations coming to it_, in the following verse, namely, that _many
people should say, Let us go up to the mountain of the Lord_; and the
prophet Micah, referring to the same thing, says, in chap. iv. 2. that
_many nations shall say, Let us go up to it_, as containing a prediction
of what was to be fulfilled in the gospel-day, in those that, out of
various nations, adhered to the true religion.

Again, it is said, in 1 Chron. xiv. 17. that the _fame of David went
forth into all the lands_, which cannot be meant of those which were far
remote, but those that were round about Judea.

Moreover, it is said, in Matt. iii. 5, 6. that _Jerusalem, and all
Judea, and all the region round about Jordan, went out to John, and were
baptized of him_; which cannot be understood in any other sense, but
that a great number of them went out to him for that purpose. And when
it is said, in Matt. xxi. 26. that _all men held John as a prophet_, it
is not to be supposed that the Scribes and Pharisees, and many others,
who cast contempt on him, held him to be so; but that there were a great
many who esteemed him as such. And when our Saviour says, in Matt. x.
22. _Ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake_, it is certain,
that those that embraced Christianity are to be excluded out of their
number who hated them. Again, when it is said, in Acts ii. 5. that
_there were dwelling at Jerusalem, Jews of every nation under heaven_,
it is not to be supposed that there were Jews residing in every nation,
who resorted to Jerusalem; upon which occasion, a learned writer[182]
puts this question, Were there any who resorted there from England or
Scotland?

Again, we read, in John iii. 26. that John’s disciples came to him,
complaining, that _Jesus baptized, and all men came unto him_; by which
nothing more is to be understood, but that many, among the Jews attended
on his ministry, which were, by far, the smaller part of that nation. By
these, and many other scriptures, that might be brought to the same
purpose, it appears, that the word _All_ sometimes denotes not every
individual, but a part of mankind.

(2.) Let us now consider the sense in which we are to understand _the
world_, or _all the world_; from whence it will appear, that only a
small part of the world is intended thereby in many scriptures: thus the
Pharisees said, upon the occasion of a number of the Jews following our
Saviour, in John xi. 19. _The world is gone after him_. How small a part
of the world was the Jewish nation? and how small a part of the Jewish
nation attended on our Saviour’s ministry? yet this is called _the
world_.

Again, it is said, in Luke ii. 1. _There went out a decree from
Augustus, that all the world should be taxed_; by which nothing more is
intended than those countries that were subject to the Roman empire;
and, in Acts xvii. 26. it is said, that _these that have turned the
world upside down, are come hither also_; which cannot be meant in any
other sense, but those parts of the world where the apostles had
exercised their ministry. And when the apostle tells the church, in Rom.
i. 8. that _their faith was spoken of throughout the whole world_, he
only means those other churches that were planted in several parts of
the world. And, in Acts xi. 28. it is said, that _Agabus signified, by
the Spirit, that there should be a great dearth, throughout all the
world_; by which nothing is meant but all adjacent countries, which is
to be taken in the same sense, as when it is said, in Gen. xli. 51. that
_all countries came into Egypt to buy corn, because the famine was so
sore in all lands_, that is, in the parts adjacent to Egypt: thus we
have sufficient ground to conclude, that _all men_, _the world_, and
_all the world_, is often taken for a small part of mankind.

But, that we may be a little more particular in considering the various
limitations these words are subject to in scripture, as well as in our
common modes of speaking, let it be observed,

_1st_, That sometimes nothing is intended by all _men_, but all sorts of
men, without distinction of sex, nation, estate, quality, and condition,
of men in the world: thus the apostle says, in 1 Cor. ix. 19. _I made
myself servant to all, that I might gain the more_; this he explains in
the following verses, as including men of all ranks and characters: _To
the Jews, I became a Jew; to them that were under the law, as under the
law; to them that were without the law, as without law; to the weak, I
became weak: I became all things to all men, that by any means I might
gain some_.

_2dly_, Sometimes the word All, or _the world_, is taken for the
Gentiles, in opposition to the Jews; thus the apostle saith, in Rom. xi.
12. _Now if the fall of them_, viz. the Jews, _be the riches of the
world_, that is, of the Gentiles, as he explains it in the following
words; _And the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles, how much
more their fulness?_ and in ver. 32. he saith, _God hath concluded all
in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all_.[183]

_3dly_, _The world_ is sometimes taken for those who do not believe, in
opposition to the _church_: thus it is said, in Rev. xiii. 3, 4. _All
the world wondered after the beast and they worshipped the dragon_;
which is farther explained, in ver. 8. where it is said, that _all that
dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in
the book of life_; and in 1 John v. 19. it is said, _We know that we are
of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness_, or, as some render
it,[184] _in the wicked one_, as being subject to Satan; but the church
is exempted from that charge, notwithstanding the universality of this
expression.

_4thly_, Sometimes the word All is limited by the nature of the thing
spoken of, which is very easy to be understood, though not expressed:
thus the apostle in Tit. ii. 9. exhorts _servants to be obedient unto
their own masters, and to please them well in all things_; which must be
certainly understood as intending all things just, and not contrary to
the laws of God, or the civil laws of the land, in which they live.

_5thly_, The word All is often used, not only in scripture, but in our
common modes of speaking, to signify only those, who are the objects of
that thing, which is done for them, and then the emphasis is laid on the
action, or the person that performs it; as when we say, all malefactors
under a sentence of death, are to be pardoned by the king; we mean
nothing else by it, but that all, who are pardoned, do receive their
pardon from him; or when we say, that virtue renders all men happy, and
vice miserable; we mean, that all who are virtuous are happy, and all
who are vicious miserable; not that virtue, abstracted from the exercise
thereof, makes any happy, or vice miserable; in which case, the word all
is not taken for every individual person, but only for those who are
either good or bad: and this is agreeable to the scripture-mode of
speaking; as when it is said, in Prov. xxiii. 21. _Drowsiness shall
clothe a man_, or every man, _with rags_; or sloth reduces all to
poverty; not all mankind, but all who are addicted to this vice.

Moreover, it is said, in Psal. cxlv. 14. _The Lord upholdeth all that
fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down_; which is not to be
understood, as though God keeps all mankind from falling, or raises
every individual person, that is bowed down, so as not to suffer him to
sink under his burden; but that all who are upheld, or raised up, when
bowed down, are made partakers of this privilege by the Lord alone.

Having shewn in what sense the word _All_, or _all the world_, is
frequently used in scripture, when not applied to the doctrine of
redemption; we shall now consider the application thereof unto it,
whereby it may appear, that those scriptures, which are generally
brought in defence of the doctrine of universal redemption, do not tend
to support it, or overthrow the contrary doctrine that we are
maintaining.

1. The first scripture, that is often referred to for that purpose, is 1
John ii. 2. in which it is said, concerning our Saviour, that _he is the
propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins
of the whole world_. For the understanding of which, we must consider,
that it is more than probable that the apostle writes this epistle to
the converted Jews, scattered through various countries in Asia, as
Peter is said to do, 1 Pet. i. 1. and James, James i. 1. for which
reason they are called general epistles; as likewise this of John is,
inasmuch as they are not addressed to particular churches among the
Gentiles, converted to the faith, as most of the apostle Paul’s are.
Now, it is plain, that, in the scripture but now mentioned, when these
believing Jews are given to understand, that Christ is _a propitiation
for their sins, and not for their’s only, but for the sins of the whole
world_; the meaning is, not for their sins only, who were Jews, but for
the sins of the believing Gentiles, or those who were converted by the
ministry of the apostle Paul, who is called _the apostle of the
Gentiles_. This has been before considered to be the meaning of the word
_world_ in many scriptures; and so the sense is, that the saving effects
of Christ’s death redound to all who believe, throughout the world,
whether Jews or Gentiles.

2. Another scripture generally brought to prove universal redemption,
is, that in Heb. ii. 9. _That he_, to wit, Christ, _by the grace of God,
should taste death for every man_. For the understanding of which, we
must have recourse to the words immediately following, which are plainly
an illustration thereof; accordingly they, for whom Christ tasted death,
are styled _many sons_, who are to be _brought to glory_; and, in order
thereunto, _Christ, the Captain of their salvation, was made perfect
through sufferings_, which is an explication of his being _crowned with
glory and honour, for the suffering of death_; and it plainly proves,
that it was for these only that he tasted death, and that by _every
man_, for whom he tasted it, is meant every one of his sons, or of those
who are described, in ver. 11. as _sanctified_, and _whom he is not
ashamed to call brethren_; and they are further styled, in ver. 13. _The
children whom God hath given him_; so that this sense of the words being
so agreeable to the context, which asserts the doctrine of particular
redemption, it cannot reasonably be supposed that they are to be taken
in a sense which has a tendency to overthrow it, or prove that Christ
died equally and alike for all men.

3. Another scripture, brought for the same purpose, is 1 Cor. xv. 22.
_As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive_. But let
it be considered, that the apostle is not speaking directly concerning
redemption in this text, but concerning the resurrection of the dead;
and, if it be understood of a glorious resurrection unto eternal life,
no one can suppose that every individual of mankind shall be made
partaker of this blessing, which is also obvious, from what is said in
the verse immediately following, where they who are said to be made
alive in Christ, are described as such, whom he has a special propriety
in, _Christ the first fruits, afterward they that are Christ’s at his
coming_; and therefore the meaning is only this, that all of them, who
shall be raised up in glory, shall obtain this privilege by Christ,
whose resurrection was the first-fruits thereof.

I am sensible that the reason of the application of this scripture to
prove universal redemption, is principally taken from the opposition
that there seems to be between the death of all mankind in Adam, and the
life which is obtained by Christ; and therefore they suppose, that the
happiness, which we enjoy by him, is of equal extent with the misery we
sustained by the fall of Adam: but, if this were the sense of the text,
it must prove an universal salvation, and not barely the possibility
thereof; since the apostle is speaking of a privilege that should be
conferred in the end of time, and not of that which we enjoy under the
gospel-dispensation; accordingly it does not, in the least, answer the
end for which it is brought.

4. The next scripture, by which it is supposed that universal redemption
may be defended, is that in Rom. v. 18. _As by the offence of one,
judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness
of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life_. For
the understanding of which scripture, let it be considered, that the
blessing, which is said to extend to all, is no less than justification
of life, and not merely a possibility of attaining salvation; and, in
the foregoing verse, they, who are interested in this privilege, are
said to _receive abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness_,
and _to reign in life by Jesus Christ_. Now certainly this privilege is
too great to be applied to the whole world; and, indeed, that which the
apostle, in this verse, considers, as being _upon all men unto
justification of life_, he explains, when he says, _Many shall be made
righteous_; therefore _this free gift, which came upon all men unto
justification_, intends nothing else, but that a select number, who are
said to be many, or the whole multitude of those who do, or shall
believe, shall be made righteous.

_Object._ If it be objected to this sense of the text, that there is an
opposition between that judgment which came by the offence of one, to
wit, Adam, upon all men, unto condemnation, and that righteousness,
which came upon all men, unto justification; and therefore all men must
be taken in the same sense in both parts of the verse, and consequently
must be extended to all the world.

_Answ._ To this it may be replied, that it is not necessary, nor
reasonable, to suppose, that these terms of opposition have any respect
to the universal extent of condemnation and justification; for the
apostle’s design is not to compare the number of those who shall be
justified, with that of those who were condemned by the fall of Adam;
but to compare the two heads together, Adam and Christ, and to shew,
that as we are liable to condemnation by the one, so we obtain the gift
of righteousness by the other; which is plainly the apostle’s method of
reasoning, agreeable to the whole scope of the chapter, as may easily be
observed, by those who compare these words with several foregoing
verses.

5. There is another scripture brought to prove universal redemption, in
2 Cor. v. 14, 15. _The love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus
judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead_; by which it is
supposed, that the apostle is here proving that all mankind are dead in
sin, and that the medium by which he proves it, is Christ’s dying for
all men; so that the remedy is as extensive as the disease, and
therefore that this is an undeniable proof of universal redemption.

But this is not a true representation of the apostle’s method of
reasoning; for he designs not to prove that all were dead in sin, but to
it. That this may appear, let us consider the connexion of this text
with what goes before. The apostle speaks of them, in the foregoing
verses, as having assurance of their future salvation, and as _groaning
to be clothed upon with their house, which is from heaven_; and as
having the _first fruits of the Spirit_, and says that the apostles were
made manifest in their consciences, that is, they had something in their
own consciences that evinced the success of their ministry to them, upon
which account they had occasion to glory on their behalf; all which
expressions denote them to have been in a converted state. And the
apostle adds, in ver. 13. _Whether we be beside ourselves, or whether we
be sober_, that is, whether we have a greater or less degree of fervency
in preaching the gospel, it is for God, that is for his glory, and for
your sakes; for the love of Christ, that is, either his love to us, or
our love to him, constraineth us hereunto; because we thus judge, that
if one, namely, Christ, died for all, that is, for you all, then were
all dead, or you all are dead, that is, not dead in sin, but you are
made partakers of that communion which believers have with Christ in his
death, whereby they are said to be dead unto sin, and unto the world;
and the result hereof is, that they are obliged to live not to
themselves but to Christ. This seems more agreeable to the design of the
apostle, than to suppose that he intends only to prove the fall of man,
from his being recovered by Christ, since there is no appearance of any
argument to the like purpose, in any other part of the apostle’s
writings; whereas our being dead to sin, as the consequence of Christ’s
death, is what he often mentions, and, indeed, it seems to be one of his
peculiar phrases: thus he speaks of believers, as _being dead to sin_,
Rom. vi. 2. and _dead with Christ_, ver. 8. and elsewhere he says, _You
are dead_, Col. iii. 3. that is, you have communion with Christ, in his
death, or are dead unto sin; and the apostle speaks of _their being dead
with Christ from the rudiments of the world_, chap. ii. 20. that is, if
you have communion with Christ, in his death, you are obliged not to
observe the ceremonial law, which is called the rudiments of the world;
and, in several other places, he speaks of believers being crucified,
dead, buried, and risen, from the dead, as having communion with Christ
therein, or being made partakers of those benefits which he procured
thereby. If, therefore, this be the apostle’s frequent method of
speaking, why may not we suppose, that in this verse, under our present
consideration, he argues, that because _Christ died for them all_,
therefore _they were_, or _they are all dead_;[185] And, being thus
dead, they are obliged, as he observes in the following verse, _not to
live to themselves, but to Christ that died for them_, and thereby
procured this privilege, which they are made partakers of. If this sense
of the text be but allowed to be equally probable with the other, it
will so far weaken the force thereof, as that it will not appear, from
this scripture, that Christ died for all men.

6. Universal redemption is attempted to be proved, from John iii. 16.
_God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that
whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting
life_: But, if we understand _the world_, as taken for the Gentiles, as
it is oftentimes in scripture, then the sense of the text seems to be
this, which is not inconsistent with special redemption, namely, that
the love of God, which was expressed in sending his Son to die for those
whom he designed hereby to redeem, is of a much larger extent, as to the
objects thereof, than it was in former ages; for it includes in it not
only those who believe among the Jews, but whosoever believes in him,
throughout the world; not that their believing in him is the foundation,
or cause, but the effect of his love, and is to be considered as the
character of the persons, who are the objects thereof. In this sense, we
are also to understand another scripture, in John i. 29. _Behold the
Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world_, that is, of all
those whose sins are expiated hereby, throughout the whole world.

7. The doctrine of universal redemption is farther maintained, from our
Saviour’s words, in John vi. 33. _The bread of God is he that cometh
down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world_; which is explained in
ver. 51. _I am the living bread, which came down from heaven; if any man
eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will
give, is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world_: But it
does not appear, that Christ hereby intends that his death was a price
of redemption paid for all mankind; for he speaks of the application of
redemption, which is expressed by his giving life, and not barely of his
procuring a possibility of its being attained; and they, to whom he
gives this privilege, are described as applying it to themselves, by
faith, which is doubtless, the meaning of that metaphorical expression,
whereby persons are said to _eat of this bread_, or _his flesh_; so that
the meaning of this scripture is, that the death of Christ is appointed,
as the great means whereby all men, throughout the whole world, who
apply it by faith, should attain eternal life: But this cannot be said
of all, without exemption; and therefore it does not from hence appear,
that Christ’s death was designed to procure life for the world.

8. There is another scripture, brought to the same purpose, in Matt.
xviii. 11. _The Son of man is come to save that which is lost_, that is,
as they suppose, all that were lost; and consequently, since the whole
world was brought into a lost state by the fall, Christ came to save
them. The whole stress of this argument is laid on the sense that they
give of the Greek word[186], which we render, _that which was lost_,
whereby they understand every one that was lost; whereas it only
denotes, that salvation supposes them, that have an interest in it, to
have been in a lost state. And, indeed, the text does not seem
immediately to respect the purchase of redemption, or salvation, by
Christ’s shedding his blood, as a Priest, but the application thereof,
in effectually calling, and thereby saving lost sinners. This is
illustrated by the parable of _the lost sheep_, (in the following
words,) which the shepherd brings back to the fold, upon which occasion
he says, that _it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven,
that one of these little ones should perish_. And this farther appears,
from our Saviour’s using the same mode of speaking, with this addition,
that _he came to seek_, as well as to _save_, Luke xix. 9, 10. them,
upon the occasion of his converting Zaccheus, and telling him, that
_salvation was come to his house_. And this agrees well with that
prediction relating to Christ’s executing his Prophetical office, in the
salvation of his people, as being their Shepherd; in which he is
represented, as saying, _I will seek that which was lost, and bring
again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was
broken, and will strengthen that which was sick_, Ezek. xxxiv. 16.
Moreover, the parable of the _lost sheep_, which Christ recovered,
appears by its connexion with the foregoing verses, to have a particular
respect to those _little_, or humble _ones_, that believe in him, who
went astray, by reason of some offences that were cast in their way; and
therefore, when he had denounced a threatening against those who should
offend any of them, and cautioned the world that they should not do
this, by despising them, Matt, xviii. 6, 10. he supposes this treatment
would cause some of them to go astray; upon which he says, that one of
his ends of coming into the world, was to seek, to save, and to recover
them.

9. Universal redemption is farther argued, from the universality of
divine grace; and accordingly that text is often referred to, in Tit.
ii. 11. _The grace of God that bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all
men_: But this seems very remote from the sense of the Holy Ghost, in
these words; for by _the grace of God_ is meant the gospel, that brings
the glad tidings of salvation; and its _appearing to all men_, signifies
being preached to the Gentiles: or suppose, by _the grace of God_, we
understand the display of his grace in the work of redemption, it is not
said, that it was designed for, or applied to all men, but only that the
publication thereof is more general than it had formerly been. And when
the apostle, in ver. 14. speaks more particularly concerning redemption,
he alters his mode of expression, and considers it, with its just
limitation, with respect to the objects thereof, _viz._ that _he gave
himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify
unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works_. We shall add but
one scripture more, which is brought in defence of universal redemption,
_viz._

10. That in which the apostle speaks of God, in 1 Tim. iv. 10. as _the
Saviour of all men, especially of those that believe_; wherein universal
redemption is not asserted in the same sense in which they maintain it,
_viz._ that God hath brought all men into a salvable state, so that they
may be saved if they will: But the meaning of this scripture is, that
_God is the Saviour of all men_, that is, his common bounty extends
itself to all, as the Psalmist observes, _The Lord is good to all, and
his tender mercies are over all his works_, Psal. cxlv. 9. but he is
_more especially the Saviour of them that believe_, inasmuch as they are
interested in the special benefits purchased by his redemption, who are
said to be _saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation_, Isa. xlv.
17.

There are several other scriptures brought to prove universal
redemption, as when it is said, that _God will have all men to be saved,
and come to the knowledge of the truth_, 1 Tim. ii. 4. and, _The Lord is
not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to
repentance_, 2 Pet. iii. 9. which have been before considered[187]; and
therefore we pass them over at present, and some other scriptures, from
whence it is argued, that Christ died for all, because he died for some
that shall perish, as when the apostle speaks of some _false teachers,
who deny the Lord that bought them_, 2 Pet. ii. 1. and another, _Destroy
not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died_, Rom. xiv. 15. and that in
which the apostle speaks of a person _who counted the blood of the
covenant wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing_, Heb. x. 29. and
some other scriptures to the like purpose, the consideration whereof I
shall refer to a following answer[188], in which the doctrine of the
saints’ perseverance is defended.[189]

Thus concerning the first branch of Christ’s Priestly office, consisting
in his offering himself a sacrifice, without spot, to God, and the
persons for whom this was done. We should now proceed to consider the
second branch thereof, consisting in his making continual intercession
for them, for whom he offered up himself: But, this being particularly
insisted on in a following answer[190], we shall pass it over at
present, and proceed to consider the execution of his Kingly office.

Footnote 143:

  _Vid. Ephiph. Hær. Page 67. § 7._

Footnote 144:

  _Among the latter, is the learned Dr. Lightfoot. See his Works, Vol.
  I. Page 12. and Vol. II. Page 327._

Footnote 145:

  _We have no account of the year when this battle was fought; but it is
  evident that it was before Isaac was born, and consequently before
  Abraham had lived 25 years in the land of Canaan. And that Shem was
  then living, appears from hence, that from the flood to Abraham’s
  coming into the land of Canaan, was 427 years, as appears by
  considering the sum total of the years of the lives of the patriarchs,
  mentioned in_ Gen. xi. 10. _& seq. and also that Terah was 130 years
  old when Abraham was born, as appears, by comparing_ Gen. xi. 32.
  _with_ Acts vii. 4. _and_ Gen. xii. 4. _and by considering Abraham as
  75 years old, as it is there said he was, when he left Haran. Now Shem
  was born 98 or 100 years before the flood, as appears by comparing_
  Gen. v. 32. _with_ chap. xi. 10. _and_ vii. 11. _Therefore, when
  Abraham went out of his country into the land of Canaan, Shem was 525
  or 527 years old; and, when Shem died, he was 600 years old_, Gen. xi.
  10, 11. _therefore Shem lived more than half a hundred years after
  this battle was fought_.

Footnote 146:

  _See Jurieu’s critical history_, vol. I. chap. 11.

Footnote 147:

  As yet there was no church.

Footnote 148:

  _See critical history_, vol. I. page 110.

Footnote 149:

  _This opinion is maintained by Cunæus, [Vid. ejusd. Repub. Hebr. Lib.
  III. cap. 3.] and some others after him._

Footnote 150:

  “Some insist that he is none other than the _Son of God_ himself, who,
  assuming the _appearance_, or _reality_, of humanity, exhibited to
  Abraham an early picture of his future priesthood.

  “This is all over contemptible.—1. Because every high priest is taken
  from among men; the _appearance_ of humanity is not enough.—2. Because
  if he was at that time a priest, and discharged the duties of his
  office, he must have ‘suffered often,’ (twice) ‘from the beginning of
  the world;’ and not ‘by the once offering up of himself have for ever
  perfected them who are sanctified:’ then, moreover, Abraham would have
  received the promised blessing, contrary to the scriptures: and, in
  fine, the appearance of the Son of God, as the Son of Mary, was
  superfluous. If, to avoid those absurdities, it be alleged that though
  he appeared as a priest, he did not discharge the duties of his
  office: then, in the first place, he is degraded into a mere pageant,
  an officer without functions: and, in the second place, he is stripped
  of all typical character: for the priest who neither _sacrifices_, nor
  _intercedes_, can never be a type of one who does _both_.—3. Because,
  if Melchisedec was the Son of God, whether in real humanity, or only
  in its appearance, _he_ must have been a type of _himself_; the ideas
  of _identity_ and _similarity_ are confounded; and Paul instead of
  saying, αφωμοιωμενος τω υιω του Θεου, that he was ‘made like to the
  Son of God,’ should have said, ων ο υιος του Θεου, that he was the Son
  of God.—4. Because it would be unworthy the manly sense of Paul, to
  say nothing of _inspiration_, to labour through a long dissertation to
  prove a mere truism, which it would disgrace an ideot to utter, and
  insult a child to offer for information; namely, that Messiah’s
  priesthood was very like itself.—5. Because it would be extremely
  irreverent to suppose, that the adorable God lifted up his hand and
  swore, that his Son’s priesthood, should be like his Son’s priesthood.
  An identical proposition does not require such a solemn confirmation.”

  GRAY ON PRIESTHOOD.

Footnote 151:

  _He liveth_ for any thing to the contrary shewn in his history.

Footnote 152:

  “That _death_ is a punishment for sin, and that all mankind are by
  death offered as a _sacrifice_ for sin, is not only a doctrine of
  revealed Religion, but the plain dictate of Reason. For, though it is
  Revelation alone that can teach us, how God threatened death as the
  punishment of a particular sin, yet Reason must be obliged to
  acknowledge, that men die, because they are sinners. But if men die,
  because they are sinners, and Reason itself must receive this, as the
  most justifiable cause of Death; then Reason must allow, that the
  death of all mankind is appointed by the true God, as a _sacrifice_
  for sin. But, if Reason must acknowledge the death of all mankind as a
  sacrifice for sin, then it can have no just objection against the
  sacrifice of Christ, _because_ it was _human_.

  “Revelation, therefore, teaches nothing more hard to be believed on
  this point, than Reason teaches. For, if it be just and fit in God, to
  _appoint_ and _devote_ all men to death, as the proper _punishment_ of
  their sins; how can it be proved to be unjust and unfit in God, to
  receive the death of Jesus Christ, for the same ends?”

  HUMAN REASON.

Footnote 153:

  All the reasons upon which pardons are granted in human governments
  fail in the Divine.

Footnote 154:

  “The scripture insists on full atonement, and yet every where holds up
  the deliverance of sinners as an act of pure grace. This is a gordian
  knot in divinity. Let us not by violence cut it asunder, but attempt
  fairly to untie it.

  Before we proceed, it may not be improper to observe, that the
  greatest difficulty with which this part of the subject is
  embarrassed, appears to have originated in the want of an accurate
  definition of justice and grace. Theologians have said much about
  these, yet few have defined them with sufficient accuracy to render
  them intelligible, or make them appear consistent. I shall therefore,

  _First_, explain the meaning of the word grace.

  _Secondly_, the meaning of the word justice.

  _Thirdly_, apply these explanations to this part of the subject, with
  a view to solve the difficulty with which it is embarrassed.

  _First._ What are we to understand by the word grace?

  We are to understand by it the exercise of favour, and consequently
  the bestowment of good where evil is deserved, and may in justice be
  inflicted. Where there is no exposure to evil, there is no room for
  the exercise of grace. He who is not guilty is not a subject of
  pardon. He who does not deserve punishment cannot be said to be freed
  from it by an act of favour. Grace therefore always implies, that the
  subject of it is unworthy, and would have no reason to complain, if
  all the evil to which he is exposed were inflicted on him. Grace will
  appear great according to the view which the sinner has of his own ill
  desert, and the consciousness he possesses of the punishment or evil
  from which he is delivered. Grace and justice are opposite in their
  nature. Grace gives; justice demands. Their provinces are entirely
  separate. Though they are united, yet they are not blended in man’s
  salvation. Hence that remarkable passage in Rom. xi. 6: ‘If by grace,
  then it is no more of works, otherwise grace is no more grace. But if
  it be of works, then it is no more grace, otherwise work is no more
  work.’

  _Secondly._ What are we to understand by the word justice? It assumes
  three denominations—commutative, distributive, and public.

  1. Commutative justice respects property only.[155] ‘It consists in an
  equal exchange of benefits,’ or in restoring to every man his own.

  2. Distributive justice respects the moral character of men. It
  respects them as accountable creatures, obedient or disobedient. It
  consists in ascertaining their virtue and sin, and in bestowing just
  rewards, or inflicting just punishments.

  3. Public or general justice, respects what is fit or right, as to the
  character of God, and the good of the universe. In this sense, justice
  comprises all moral goodness, and properly means the righteousness or
  rectitude of God, by which all his actions are guided, with a supreme
  regard to the greatest good. Justice, considered in this view, forbids
  that any thing should take place in the great plan of God, which would
  tarnish his glory, or subvert the authority of his law.

  _Thirdly._ Let us now apply these explanations to the solution of the
  difficulty under consideration.

  1. Did Christ satisfy commutative justice? Certainly not. Commutative
  justice had no concern in his sufferings. Men had taken no property
  from God, and consequently were under no obligation to restore any.
  But do not the scriptures represent Christ as giving himself a ransom,
  and as buying his people with a price? They do. They also represent
  men, while under the influence of sin, as prisoners, slaves, captives.
  These expressions are all figurative, borrowed from sensible to
  express moral or spiritual things, and therefore are not to be
  explained as if literally true. If we say that Christ hath redeemed
  us, that he has bought us, that he has paid the debt and discharged
  us—if we have any consistent meaning, it must be this: That in
  consequence of what Christ has done, we are delivered from sin, in as
  great a consistency with justice, as a debtor is delivered from his
  obligation, or the demands of law, when his debt is paid. That is, God
  extends pardon in such a way, through Christ, that he does not injure
  the authority of his law, but supports it as effectually as if he
  inflicted punishment.

  2. Did Christ satisfy distributive justice? Certainly not.
  Distributive justice respects personal character only. It condemns men
  because they are sinners, and rewards them because they are righteous.
  Their good or ill desert are the only ground on which distributive or
  moral justice respects them. But good and ill desert are personal.
  They imply consciousness of praise or blame, and cannot be transferred
  or altered so as to render the subjects of them more or less worthy.
  What Christ did, therefore, did not take ill desert from men, nor did
  it place them in such a situation that God would act unjustly to
  punish them according to their deeds. If a man has sinned, it will
  always remain a truth that he has sinned, and that according to
  distributive justice he deserves punishment. In this sense justice
  admits the condemnation of Paul as much as it does of Judas. The
  salvation of the former is secured, and his condemnation rendered
  impossible by another consideration.

  3: Did Christ satisfy public justice? Undoubtedly he did. This is
  evident from what has already been advanced respecting the necessity
  of atonement, in order to a consistent exercise of mercy. Christ’s
  sufferings rendered it right and fit, with respect to God’s character
  and the good of the universe, to forgive sin. The atonement made by
  Christ presented the law, the nature of sin, and the displeasure of
  God against it, in such a light, that no injury would accrue to the
  moral system, no imputation would be against the righteousness of the
  great Legislator, though he should forgive the sinner, and instate him
  in eternal felicity. Perfect justice therefore is done to the
  universe, though all transgressors be not punished according to their
  personal demerit. The death of Christ therefore is to be considered as
  a great, important, and public transaction, respecting God and the
  whole system of rational beings. Public justice requires, that neither
  any of these be injured, nor the character and government of the great
  Legislator disrespected, by the pardon of any. In these respects
  public justice is perfectly satisfied by the death of Christ. This is
  evident from the following passages of scripture. Rom. iii. 21; ‘But
  now the righteousness (rectitude or justice) of God is manifested
  without the law, being witnessed by the law.’ Before the introduction
  of these words, the apostle had demonstrated, that the whole world,
  Jews and Gentiles, were all under sin and condemnation. ‘Now,’ says
  he, ‘we know that whatsoever things the law saith, it saith to them
  that are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole
  world become guilty before God.’ All, if treated according to
  distributive justice, must be found guilty and condemned. ‘Therefore,’
  says Paul, ‘by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified.’ How,
  then, it might be inquired, can any be justified, and yet God not give
  up his law, but appear perfectly righteous and just? The answer
  follows. ‘By the righteousness of God, which is manifested without the
  law, being witnessed by the law.’ Rom. iii. 21. That is, the
  righteousness or justice of God, with respect to himself and the
  universe, is clearly manifested, though he do not execute the law, as
  to distributive justice, on transgressors, but pardon and save them.
  This is so far from being contrary to the law, that it is witnessed by
  the law. For the sufferings of Christ demonstrate, that God no more
  gives up the penalty of the law, than if he should inflict it on the
  original transgressor. The righteousness or justice manifested in this
  way is through Christ; ‘whom,’ says Paul, ‘God hath set forth to be a
  propitiation, through faith in his blood.’ For what end? ‘To declare
  his righteousness for the remission of sins.’ ‘To declare at this time
  his righteousness (for this purpose) that he might be just, and the
  justifier of him that believeth in Jesus,’ Rom. iii. 25, 26. Hence it
  is said, ‘Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one
  that believeth,’ Rom. x. 4. That is, the end of the law is as fully
  answered in the salvation of men by Christ, as it would have been if
  they had never transgressed, but had obtained life by perfect
  obedience. It is said, ‘If we confess our sins, he is just to forgive
  us our sins,’ 1 John i. 9. He is just to himself, to his law, to the
  universe. God styles himself ‘a just God, and a Saviour.’ Is. xlv. 21.
  Hence justice and mercy harmonize in man’s salvation.

  From the preceding statement of the nature of grace and justice, it
  appears,

  _First_, That atonement, and consequently the pardon of sin, have no
  respect to commutative justice.

  _Secondly_, That the sufferings of Christ did not satisfy distributive
  justice, since that respects personal character only; and therefore,
  with respect to distributive justice, salvation is an act of perfect
  grace.

  _Thirdly_, That Christ’s sufferings satisfied public justice; and
  therefore, with respect to public justice, salvation is an act of
  perfect justice.

  Thus the seeming inconsistency between full atonement for sin, and
  pure grace in salvation, vanishes and disappears. The system of
  redemption rises into view like a magnificent edifice, displaying the
  greatest order, proportion and beauty.”

  DR. MAXCY.

  “To reconcile grace with justice in the salvation of the sinner, is
  the Gordian knot, which divines generally have been unable to untie.
  Upon the principle of an indefinite atonement, the difficulty
  vanishes. If all the sins of a certain individual have been atoned for
  by the Redeemer, free grace will not appear in his pardon; because
  justice would, in that case, require his salvation. But justice is
  threefold, _commutative_, _distributive_, and _public_. Commutative
  justice has no concern in this case. Public justice is satisfied by
  the atonement, because the governor of the universe displays his
  displeasure at _sin in general_ in the sufferings of Christ. The
  exercise of distributive justice is entirely set aside, and herein is
  grace exhibited, the sinner is pardoned at the expence of distributive
  justice.”

  “Although we have stated this argument with all the precision of which
  we are capable, we must observe, that notwithstanding the show of
  minute discussion which it makes, its whole force consists in its
  obscurity, and the confusion of ideas which it produces. The
  indistinctness of vision which it causes, is the only reason for any
  man’s offering his hand to those who, by proposing it, promise to be
  his guide to the temple of truth.

  We object to this division of a divine attribute—we object to the use
  which is made of it—we object to the argument, because it multiplies,
  instead of solving difficulties—and it takes for granted, what does
  not exist, a difficulty in reconciling justice with grace.

  We object to this division of a divine attribute. It is not correct,
  even as it applies to man. We are perfectly aware that the
  _Schoolmen_, following the steps of heathen philosophers, adopted this
  division. Suarez builds upon it the doctrine of merit, in order to
  supply the traffic of indulgences with works of supererogation.[156]
  But, however variously divine justice may be exercised about its
  several objects, we have no reason to believe, that there are three
  different attributes of justice, or even that the principle in man,
  which induces him to act honestly in commercial transactions, and to
  give to every man his due, is any way different from the principle
  which influences a good magistrate to conduct with equity his public
  administration. It is one principle exercised upon various objects.
  The Scriptures, which uniformly ascribe righteousness to Jehovah, and
  afford instances of its exercise in _thrice three_ various ways, never
  intimate that there are _three distinct_ attributes of divine
  justice.[157]

  We object to the use that is made of this division. There is no reason
  for excluding _commutative_ justice any more than distributive, as
  distinct from _public_ justice, from having any reference to the case
  of the sinner’s pardon. We can readily conceive of a civil ruler,
  having, independently of his official duties, certain private and
  personal duties to discharge towards those, who, in such case, are
  upon terms of equality with himself. But no equality exists between
  the creature and Creator. The pardon of sin most assuredly approaches
  as near to the forgiveness of a _debt_ as the remission of a _personal
  offence_, which has no reference to the divine authority. _Sin is a
  want of conformity unto, or a transgression of_ THE LAW.[158] Besides,
  the Scriptures frequently represent Jehovah condescending to act
  towards men upon the footing of a previously existing contract or
  covenant, but never upon the footing of private relation, setting
  aside his authority. He hath taught us to pray, “Forgive us our
  debts;” but never to say, “pardon private offences which are no
  transgression of thy law.” We cannot even conceive of the exercise of
  distributive justice by the Lord, separate from his authority as our
  king, our lawgiver, and our judge. We cannot conceive, that it is
  matter of indifference whether God does or does not exercise
  distributive justice towards his creatures; and much less can we admit
  that even, for the sake of mercy, he is ever guilty of one act of
  distributive injustice. We, therefore, object to the use which is made
  of this threefold division of the attribute of justice. And we also,

  Object to the whole argument which it involves, because it multiplies
  instead of solving difficulties around the doctrine of the sinner’s
  justification.

  It requires us to believe that God has violated, or set aside the
  demands of distributive justice in the salvation of his chosen—that
  the sufferings of our Redeemer were the punishment, not of
  transgressions which are, in fact, committed, but of sin in the
  abstract—and that public justice requires only an exhibition of the
  divine displeasure at sin.

  Sin, in the abstract, is only a word. Like an algebraical character,
  it represents all the transgressions of individual persons. These
  particular sins are realities; but sin _in general_, or in the
  abstract, is only the _sign_, the word, which we employ in
  reasoning.[159] It is not for the _sign_, but the thing that Jesus
  suffered.

  The _word_ sin, too, represents the transgressions of angels. If the
  Redeemer suffered for sin in general, he made atonement for devils,
  although he took not on him the nature of angels. And if public
  justice demanded no more than the display of Jehovah’s hatred of sin,
  then Christ is dead in vain, for such display is made in the
  everlasting punishments of Hell. But justice demanded more. It
  demanded the punishment of the sinner; and could not be satisfied with
  any thing short of this, unless Messiah should so unite himself to
  sinners, not only by assuming their nature, but by becoming in law
  their representative, as to bear all the sins of all the persons for
  whom his sufferings were intended to atone. We object also to this
  argument in defence of indefinite atonement,

  Because it takes for granted, what does not exist, that if all the
  demands of divine justice are satisfied to the full by the atonement,
  then grace is excluded from our pardon. This is not the case. Justice
  is indeed satisfied. It does not oppose, but demand the salvation of
  all for whom Christ died. Here is no difficulty—no Gordian knot. Grace
  reigns through righteousness. We refer our readers to what is said on
  this subject, page 377, and conclude our examination of this argument
  in the words of the Assembly of Divines at Westminster. “Although
  Christ, by his obedience and death, did make a proper, real, and full
  satisfaction to God’s justice in the behalf of them that are
  justified; yet, inasmuch as God accepteth the satisfaction from a
  surety, which he might have demanded of them, and did provide this
  surety, his own only son, imputing his righteousness to them, and
  requiring nothing of them for their justification, but faith, which
  also is his gift, their justification is to them of free grace.”

  CHRISTIAN’S MAGAZINE, VOL. III.

  Atonement imports reconciliation, a being _at one_. The Hebrew
  signifies to _cover_. The Greek word denotes a _commutation_, as of
  enmity for friendship. But we use atonement for _ransom_, or _price_,
  and we never pray for it. Redemption imports a deliverance. To say
  that the ransom was paid _indefinitely_, that is, not more for one
  than another, is plainly contrary to his views, who spoke of those who
  were _given to him_, and of his _laying down his life for his sheep_.
  His sacrifice was real, and its object could not be _sin in general_,
  a mere abstract term; a sacrifice of which Satan might avail himself,
  as well as man. If the atonement, and redemption be indefinite, so
  were the decrees or purposes, the suretyship of Christ, the
  foreknowledge of God, and the promotion of the glory of God in the
  work.

  On the other hand, to represent these transactions, so strictly as
  matters of debt, and credit, as that the quantum of price was exactly
  commensurate to the guilt of the saved, and neither more nor less, is
  not warranted by the word of God. This is to impute the cause of
  damnation to Christ’s not having died for those who perish; and not to
  their guilt. Both these conclusions are erroneous. Christ died for
  _all men_, and _every man_, not in the sense of the universalists, not
  in the same sense as he died for his sheep; but that his sacrifice is
  sufficient for all; and God the Father, whose mercy can reach no
  fallen creature, but in Christ, has authorized the offer of covenant
  mercy to all; and desires the destruction of none. Thus men perish
  only by their sins. The Sacrifice of Christ is of infinite value, for
  he is a Divine person; and the sins of all men can be no more than
  infinite.

  The truth seems to be, that the sacrifice is infinite; that the offer
  is to be general; that man perishes by his own fault only; and all
  this is according to the eternal purposes of God. Nevertheless the
  salvation of the saints was certain; the price particularly paid with
  a view to them; who are eventually effectually called, justified,
  sanctified, and brought to glory.

Footnote 155:

  See Doddridge’s Lectures, p. 190; and also Dr. Edwards’ third sermon,
  preached it New Haven, 1735.

Footnote 156:

  See Owen on Jus. chap. ii.

Footnote 157:

  “Were this the proper place, it would be easy to show, by a criticism
  on the best writers upon this subject, that their definitions of
  commutative, distributive, and public justice, interfere, and are
  otherwise essentially incorrect.”

Footnote 158:

  Shorter Catechism.

Footnote 159:

  “Did we deem it eligible to introduce metaphysics into this
  discussion, we could more effectually expose the idea of punishing a
  _nonentity_—‘sin in the abstract.’ We are no conceptualists; and the
  controversy between the Nominalists and Realists is now at an end. It
  prevailed long enough. It agitated the European universities,
  interested thrones, and shed much precious blood. No philosopher will
  now defend the opinions of the Realists. Abstract terms have no
  counterpart in nature. Stew. Phil. Mind. ch. iv. § 2, & 3.”

Footnote 160:

  _See Quest. XXXVIII._

Footnote 161:

  _These, which are styled_, Passiones trihoriæ, ultimæ, _are generally
  called_, Pænæ satisfactoriæ; _and all his sufferings before them_,
  Pænæ convincentes.

Footnote 162:

  _It is an abominable strain of blasphemy, which some Popish writers
  make use of, when they say that not only the cross was the altar, but
  that it was sacred, and had a virtue to sanctify the gift offered
  thereon, which is the foundation of that idolatrous adoration which
  they give to it._

Footnote 163:

  Λυτρωτην.

Footnote 164:

  _There are several propositions used, in the New Testament, in
  explaining this doctrine, namely_, δια, περι, υπερ, _and_ αντι; δια
  _and_ αντι _refer to the occasion and cause of Christ’s death, to wit,
  our sins: Thus it is said, in Rom._ iv. 25. Who was delivered for our
  offences, Ος παρεδοθη δια τα παραπτωματα ημων; _and, in 1 Pet._ iii.
  18. Christ also hath once suffered for sins, Περι αμαρτιων επαθε;
  _and, in this case, his substitution in our room and stead is
  principally argued, from its being for our sins, for which death was
  due. As for_ υπερ, _whenever it refers to Christ’s sufferings, it
  plainly signifies his being substituted in our room and stead; as in_
  Rom. v. 6. Christ died υπερ ασεβων, for the ungodly; _and, in_ Tit.
  ii. 14. Who gave himself for us, Ος εδωκεν εαυτον υπερ ημων. _And this
  is not only used in the New Testament to signify the substitution of
  the person dying in the room of another, or, in other instances,
  acting in his stead; as in_ 2 Cor. v. 20. Phil. ver. 13. _but it is
  taken in the same sense when used in other writers, Vid. Euripid in
  Alcest._, μη θνησχ᾽ υπερ του δ᾽ ανδρος; _and Demosth. in Coron._ εγω
  τουθ᾽ υπερ σου ποιησω; _and the Latin word, that answers to it, is
  sometimes used in the same sense. Vid. Ter. in Andr._ Ego pro te
  molam. _As for the preposition_ αντι, _that is seldom or never used,
  but it signifies a substitution of one thing, or person, in the room
  of another: Thus when Christ is said to_ give his life a ransom, αντι
  πολλων for many, _in_ Matt. xx. 28. Mark x. 46. _this plainly imports
  his being substituted in their room, as appears by the frequent use
  thereof in other scriptures. See_ Matt. ii. 22. chap. v. 38. _and_
  chap. xvii. 27. Luke xi. 11. _and in several other places, Vid. Grot.
  de Satisfact. Christ. cap. 9_.

Footnote 165:

  _See the note immediately preceeding._

Footnote 166:

  _See Page 201-203 ante._

Footnote 167:

  “The judicious, whether Trinitarians, or Unitarians, have always
  acknowledged an intimate connexion between the doctrine of Christ’s
  true Godhead, and that of his satisfaction for sins; as both must be
  at once confessed, or denied. If he by his sufferings could satisfy
  the avenging justice of God for the sins of all believers; then he
  behoved to be more than any creature. If on the contrary, such a thing
  was not necessary, then no other end could be so important, that for
  it God should empty himself, and ‘assuming the form of a servant,
  become obedient to the death of the cross.’

  But the truth of Christ’s satisfaction is confirmed in the word of God
  by so many testimonies, and these of the clearest kind, that those of
  another opinion, find themselves under a necessity to give every where
  to these passages an arbitrary sense; so feeble, improper, and
  far-fetched, that by such a strain of interpretation, people are in
  danger of turning from all the doctrines of the Bible and of
  pronouncing it the most uncertain of all doctrinal books, and the most
  ready to mislead. On this subject much has been written. We shall only
  observe the following things as suitable to our purpose.

  In the course of Christ’s prophetic teaching upon earth, we find
  evident proofs, that he had appeared not only for that end, but
  chiefly for a very different purpose, namely, to suffer and to die;
  that being a saving work, and of the utmost necessity. He declared
  that he came to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. More
  than once he informed his disciples, that by a bitter and a most
  humbling kind of suffering, which hung over his head, that which was
  written concerning him, behoved to be accomplished.

  His circumstances and manner of acting were wholly directed to that
  end. The joyful solemnizing of his birth, by a retinue of spirits
  immortal and enthroned, was heard by good witnesses indeed, but of low
  degree, and few in number; and with some express testimonies on earth,
  during his quiet education in a remote and contemptible town, they
  were almost gone out of mind. His heavenly consecration was shown to
  John only; his glorification on the mount, only to three of his
  followers, of which he forbade them to speak till after his
  resurrection, or to make him known every where as Christ. Several
  times he commanded not to propagate the cures he had wrought. Often
  his preaching was involved and figurative, more adapted to inflame the
  _great_ against him, than to unite the _many_ in his favours. Yet his
  greatness could not be wholly unknown, and when men would have exalted
  him, he shunned it. By all these things, the judgment and the
  confidence of the people concerning him, was much more vague and
  unstable, than even concerning his austere forerunner.—In one word,
  his ministry was so conducted as might best serve, not to prevent, but
  to pave the way for his farther suffering and death, while the clearer
  and more extensive spread of his doctrine, and thereby at the same
  time, the publication of his death and his glory, behoved to be the
  work of the apostles in his name.

  That Christ suffered and died for the good of his church, is without
  controversy; so also did the apostles. But was any of them crucified
  for us, as was Christ? To say this, would in Paul’s judgment be the
  utmost absurdity. What then hath the Saviour done, which no other
  did?—‘He was delivered for our offences.’ ‘He suffered for our sin,
  the just for the unjust; that he might bring us to God.’ He ‘died for
  our sins.’ ‘The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin.’—And
  so indeed, that he delivered us from sin, by taking it upon himself.
  For he who neither had nor knew sin, was of God made to be sin for us,
  that we might he the righteousness of God in him. He ‘bare our sins in
  his own body upon the tree.’ ‘Behold, said John, the Lamb of God,
  which taketh away the sin of the world.’ And how does he _take it
  away?_ By his death. For to say a lamb takes away sin, is not sense,
  if there be not an allusion to the Paschal Lamb, or to other
  sacrificed lambs, which were to be slain according to the law. ‘Christ
  our passover is sacrificed for us.’ ‘Ye are redeemed by the precious
  blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish, and without spot.’—He
  put himself in our place, fulfilled for us the demands of God’s holy
  law, and for us satisfied his inflexible justice. Why, pray, of all
  men, of all the saints, of all the most excellent teachers, was Christ
  only free from all moral impurity? As a Prophet, this was not
  absolutely necessary for him; but necessary it was that he, being to
  fulfil the law for others, should have no need to satisfy for his own
  sin. ‘God sending his Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and that
  for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law
  might be fulfilled in us.’ ‘God sent forth his Son made under the law,
  to redeem them who were under the law.’—The apostle confirms this in
  the clearest manner, giving us at the same time, a notable sign of the
  remarkable _curse_ in the death of Christ. It is written, ‘Cursed is
  every one, who continueth not in all things which are written in the
  book of the law to do them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of
  the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every
  one who hangeth on a tree.’

  This important doctrine is inculcated on us in many places, under the
  notions of _a purchase, a ransom, a propitiation, and a testament_; by
  which the virtue and the efficacy, of Christ’s death are elucidated.
  Let it not be objected, that these phrases are borrowed from other
  things, and therefore to be understood in an improper and figurative
  sense. A figurative sense is not however, no sense at all, or without
  sense; but serves to make profound subjects more comprehensible to a
  common understanding.

  1. _A Purchase._ Believers in their soul and their body are God’s,
  ‘because they are bought with a price;’ they are the church of the
  Lord God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. The song unto
  the Lamb runs, ‘Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy
  blood;’ which strongly indicates, that their salvation is to be
  ascribed to the merits of his bloody death.

  2. _A Ransom._ In the New Testament, the word _deliverance_ is often
  used in translating one, which properly signifies _a redemption, or
  ransom_. Thus it is written, ‘ye were redeemed from your vain
  conversation, not by corruptible things, as silver or gold, but by the
  precious blood of Christ.’ This redemption is explained by the
  forgiveness of sins. It is, therefore, his blood and death, wherewith
  he made payment, in order to procure our discharge from the debt of
  sin. He came ‘to minister, and to give his life a ransom for
  many.’—λυτρον. Matt. xx. 28. and αντιλυτρον. 1 Tim. ii. 6.

  3. _A Propitiation._ Sometimes this in the Greek is called
  αποκαταλλαγη, (conciliatio) that is, _a reconciliation_. Accordingly,
  believers are now reconciled to God by the death of his Son; by his
  cross; by the blood of his cross, and in the body of his flesh through
  death. ‘God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself:’ which is
  farther explained, ‘not imputing their trespasses to them.’—But it is
  also called _a propitiation_, in the translation of ἱλασμος,
  (expiatio) used concerning the victims which were anciently slain, as
  a typical propitiation in place of the guilty. So now Jesus Christ the
  righteous is the propitiation for our sins. For God ‘sent his Son to
  be a propitiation for our sins.’ God hath set him forth to be a
  propitiation through faith in his blood, for a demonstration of his
  righteousness, by (or rather because _of_) the forgiveness of sins.
  Therefore, ‘the Lamb of God hath so taken away the sins of the world,’
  that he took them upon himself, that he bare them, that he died in the
  place of his people.

  4. _A Testament._ According to his last institution, the assignation
  of the everlasting inheritance, is called ‘the New Testament in his
  blood, which was shed for many, for the remission of sins.’ This
  signifies to us, not only that Christ had a perfect right to the
  honour of settling the inheritance, not only that his death as a
  testator was necessary to put his people in possession of it; but,
  that that inheritance had its foundation precisely in the shedding of
  his blood, in his deepest humiliation, and his violent death; as
  thereby their sins, which otherwise stood in the way of salvation,
  could be forgiven. If, instead of the _New Testament_, we rather
  choose to translate it the _New Covenant_; the allusion will be
  somewhat different, but the matter the same.

  This leads us to the epistle to the Hebrews, in which all these
  doctrines are ascertained to us at great length, and with invincible
  arguments. That epistle was intended to demonstrate indeed, the
  authority of Christ’s instruction above all the prophets, and even
  Moses himself: but also, under propositions borrowed from the ancient
  religion, and fitted to the Hebrews, to reconcile his priestly office
  with the intention of the Levitical sacrifices, and to exalt it
  infinitely above Aaron’s priesthood. Christ being a High Priest of
  unchangeable power, needed not to offer up sacrifices for his own
  sins, but having offered himself up once to God, he thereby made
  reconciliation for sin, made an end of it, opened a sure way to
  heaven, and ‘can save unto the uttermost all who come unto the Father
  by him.’ Read the 5th and the 10th chapters. Would you, on account of
  the doctrine so full of consolation, suspect this epistle, and erase
  it from the volume of holy scripture? In it, however, no doctrine
  occurs, which is not also mentioned elsewhere; and this apostolic
  epistle is surpassed by none of the rest, in sublimity of matter, in
  weight of evidence, in glorifying the grace of God in Christ, in
  strong consolation, in encouraging to the spiritual warfare, and in
  the most animating motives to holiness and perseverance.

  Besides, in the Saviour’s satisfaction only lies the reason, why his
  suffering together with his resurrection, are every where represented
  to us as the sum and substance of the gospel. No other part of his
  history and ministration are so fully propounded, and that by all the
  Evangelists.—We have already seen, that the Apostles preached, not
  only the doctrine of evangelic morality, but chiefly Christ himself,
  that is, his person, work, and two-fold state. Paul would know nothing
  among the Corinthians, ‘but Jesus Christ and him crucified.’ The cross
  of Christ was that alone in which he gloried. He reduces the knowledge
  of Christ, for the excellency of which he counted all things but loss
  and dung, to the knowledge of the power of his resurrection, and of
  the fellowship of his sufferings.—In that most important conversation
  on the holy mount, between our Lord, and two of the celestial
  inhabitants, the two great teachers and reformers under the old
  dispensation, we find no more mentioned, but that it turned upon that
  decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.—In the cross, and the
  other humiliations and sufferings of the Saviour comprehended under
  it, the love of God towards men, in not sparing his own Son, as also
  his wisdom and power unto salvation are displayed in a peculiar and a
  most conspicuous manner. In the cross, is the abolishing of the power
  and the fear of death. Deliverance from the dominion of sin, as also
  the glory to come, are its pleasant fruits. The plain, but most
  consolatory symbols of the grace of Jesus, in Baptism, and the Holy
  Supper, point us in like manner to his atoning _death_, with a charge
  _to shew it forth_ in particular.

  The medium of our acceptance and justification before God, is every
  where in the gospel said to be _faith in Christ_: and that indeed in
  opposition to, and with warning against the law, or the seeking of our
  justification by the works of the law. Now if _believing in Christ_
  signify only, to receive and to obey his doctrine concerning the
  rational grounds and duties of religion; how then is the doctrine and
  the righteousness of faith quite another thing than the demand and
  righteousness of the law whether we consider the moral law naturally,
  or as written by Moses? Nay, Moses had also taught the capital
  doctrines of rational religion, God’s existence, unity, providence,
  the duties of man, &c. and that the love of God, and of our neighbour,
  is more than all sacrifices, was often inculcated under the old
  economy, and not unknown to the Jews.—Or does the prohibition of
  seeking righteousness by the law, only mean the omitting of the Mosaic
  rights? But in the places quoted, and in others, the _law_ cannot
  possibly be understood in such a limited sense. Besides the
  righteousness of faith, in contradistinction to that of the law, had
  place even under the old dispensation. Further, these external
  solemnities could indeed be abolished; but they were instituted by God
  himself, and hence the observing of them did not so militate against a
  rational religion, that it in itself could make a man
  condemnable.—Paul constantly teaches, that the opposition between
  faith and the law, in respect of our seeking righteousness by them,
  consists in this, that God’s inflexible _law_ condemns all sinners,
  Jews and Gentiles; that by the works of the law, no flesh shall be
  justified; that through sin, the law is become weak to give life: but
  that faith acknowledges and embraces Christ, as he who fulfilled the
  righteousness of the law, was made a curse for us, and set forth to be
  a propitiation, through faith, not only in his _doctrine_, but in his
  _blood_, for a demonstration of the righteousness of God.

  And why else was ‘Christ crucified unto the Jews a stumbling-block,
  and to the Greeks foolishness?’ Surely, not so much on account of the
  capital truths of rational religion taught by him. The Jewish doctors,
  and the best philosophers among the Heathens, who had acknowledged
  them were honoured on that account. Nor was it because Christ,
  continuing a worthy and faithful, but an unsuccessful teacher of his
  doctrine, was unjustly accused, and shamefully put to death. The
  memory of a condemned Socrates was not held in contempt. The reason
  was purely this, that the Saviour’s suffering was proclaimed as the
  only ground and cause of our reconciliation and salvation: while the
  Jews and Heathens thought to be saved by the value of their own
  virtue: and to them it was exceeding strange, and most mortifying to
  their pride, that penitently acknowledging their guilt, they behoved
  to seek life in the deep abasement of a crucified Mediator, and in his
  justifying resurrection.

  All our reasoning thus far makes it evident, that we must not
  understand _the sufferings of Christ for sin_, merely as if God, being
  about to announce by the gospel, grace and life to the nations, would
  previously manifest his aversion to sin, by a striking example of his
  vengeance; and for that purpose, deliver up an ambassador vested with
  extraordinary privileges, to so much sorrow and shame. Surely all
  preceding ages had already exhibited awful instances of God’s fearful
  displeasure with the sins of individuals and communities, without
  deliverance from sin being ever ascribed to them. That a mean man
  among the people, that a teacher wandering about in poverty, should be
  shamefully put to death by a civil judge, was much less calculated to
  exhibit a signal and extraordinary example of divine wrath, than the
  immediate interposition of Providence, which had often, in former
  times inflicted, and still could inflict miraculous punishments on the
  most eminent persons, or on whole nations. At any rate, to manifest a
  righteous abhorrence of sin, vengeance behoved not to fall upon one
  perfectly innocent. This last would be quite absurd; unless the
  innocent person, (as holy scripture has already taught us) should with
  God’s approbation, as spontaneously, as generously, substitute himself
  in our place, by bearing our sin.—Accordingly, sacred scripture
  represents the sufferings of Christ, not only as a proof and
  confirmation, but as the cause of our reconciliation.

  We by no means exclude other advantages ascribed by Socinus to the
  Saviour’s death. Beyond all doubt, he thereby confirmed his integrity
  and the truth of his mission. But, pray, was it ever heard, that a
  false prophet, in the founding of a new society, mentioned his own,
  his certain, his fast approaching, and most offensive punishment of
  death, as the intention of his ministry; and made it an article of his
  doctrine?—In confirmation of his doctrine and mission, Jesus generally
  appealed to his miracles; and yet, where are the forgiveness of our
  sins and a title to life ascribed to his miracles, as they often are
  to his bloody death?—For what doctrine was Jesus condemned? Not for
  the truths and prescriptions of natural reason; but because he
  declared himself to be higher far than any human prophet. (See Section
  IX.) If the celestial chorus at his birth, if the Father’s voice at
  his inauguration, if his glory on the mount, had been openly perceived
  by the Jewish council and all the people; if the lightnings darted
  forth in confirmation of Moses and Elias, had caused him to be
  honoured; especially if he had satisfied their prejudices concerning
  the Messias; if, with legions of his Father’s angels, he had destroyed
  the Roman government, broken that yoke, recovering and extending
  David’s mighty kingdom; their infidelity would have been conquered,
  and eagerly would they have confided in him. They would have been more
  easily drawn by giving bread, or causing manna to rain, than by
  promising them his flesh and blood.—A steady martyrdom was more
  necessary to the preaching of the apostles; because their doctrine in
  a great measure referred to and was built upon the truth of the
  all-important events of the Saviour’s death and exaltation. In
  relation to which, as they could not be deceived, so likewise their
  sincerity behoved to be put beyond suspicion. But the Lord Jesus
  Christ had abundance of glorious means to confirm his doctrine; and if
  nothing else had been to be effectuated by it, he behoved not to have
  undergone a cursed death upon the hill of infamy; and that under the
  pretence of a legal procedure, which caused the multitude to revolt
  from him, his friends to be offended at him, and plunged his best
  followers in deep distress.

  We also respect the design of exhibiting in his sufferings, an example
  of love, submission to, and confidence in God. But such an extremity
  of shame was not necessary for that purpose; and his sufferings were
  accompanied with so much perturbation, vehement distress, cries and
  tears, that quite other ends were ever to be obtained by them; else he
  would not have exceeded many valiant martyrs. Besides, could any
  apostle, courageously foreseeing, and alluding to his own martyrdom in
  confirmation of the truth, and for an example to others, be able to
  say, as did Christ, ‘whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath
  eternal life; for my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink
  indeed, &c.?’ 2 Tim. iv. 6. compared with John vi. 51-57.

  Do men in spite of the divine testimony, find reasons and scruples
  against a vicarious satisfaction; if we are not much mistaken, they
  are easy to solve. But far stronger reasons combat the persuasion,
  that the Holy Supreme Being can show himself favourable, or
  indifferent, to the voluntary violation of those laws and moral duties
  from which he himself cannot absolve a rational creature; or to speak
  in a plain and familiar manner, that God can, and also will suffer sin
  to escape with impunity.

  If then, (to conclude in the language of the apostle, when enlarging
  on the glory of Christ,) the Son of God, by himself purged our sins;
  how narrowly and how perversely would we limit his saving work to his
  preaching? How inconsistent is it with this, that men, according to
  the usual phrase among Christians, ascribe efficacious _merits_ to
  Christ; but in an unusual sense understand them only of his doctrine
  and his excellent character? against which sentiment, too, much could
  be objected. How evidently then is that confirmed, which we asserted,
  that Christ himself in his person and performances, is the cause and
  ground of our salvation? If the suffering and death of Christ alone
  have merited salvation for the innumerable multitude of all them who
  ever believed in him, or shall believe; if his suffering, though short
  in duration, was the satisfactory ransom, to deliver all those sinners
  from the fear of death, and from the wrath to come; then the infinite
  worth of his person and work, must surpass all understanding; then
  from that most gracious deliverance we deduce an important proof of
  his more than human, his divine excellency.”

  DR. WYNPERSSE.

Footnote 168:

  “In the consideration of this subject, which every Christian must deem
  most highly deserving the closet examination, our attention should be
  directed to two different classes of objectors: those who deny the
  necessity of any mediation whatever; and those who question the
  particular nature of that mediation, which has been appointed. Whilst
  the deist on the one hand ridicules the very notion of a Mediator: and
  the philosophizing Christian on the other, fashions it to his own
  hypothesis; we are called on to vindicate the word of truth from the
  injurious attacks of both; and carefully to secure it, not only
  against the open assaults of its avowed enemies, but against the more
  dangerous misrepresentations of its false or mistaken friends.

  The objections which are peculiar to the former, are upon this
  subject, of the same description with those which they advance against
  every other part of revelation; bearing with equal force against the
  system of natural religion, which they support, as against the
  doctrines of revealed religion, which they oppose. And indeed, this
  single circumstance, if weighed with candour and reflection; that is,
  if the deist were truly the philosopher he pretends to be; might
  suffice to convince him of his error. For the closeness of the analogy
  between the works of nature, and the word of the gospel, being found
  to be such, that every blow which is aimed at the one, rebounds with
  undiminished force against the other: the conviction of their common
  origin must be the inference of unbiassed understanding.

  Thus, when in the outset of his argument, the deist tells us, that as
  obedience must be the object of God’s approbation, and disobedience
  the ground of his displeasure, it must follow by natural consequence,
  that when men have transgressed the divine commands, repentance and
  amendment of life will place them in the same situation as if they had
  never offended:—he does not recollect, that actual experience of the
  course of nature directly contradicts the assertion; and that, in the
  common occurrences of life, the man who by intemperance and
  voluptuousness, has injured his character, his fortune, and his
  health, does not find himself instantly restored to the full enjoyment
  of these blessings on repenting of his past misconduct, and
  determining on future amendment. Now, if the attributes of the Deity
  demand, that the punishment should not outlive the crime, on what
  ground shall we justify this temporal dispensation? The difference in
  _degree_, cannot affect the question in the least. It matters not,
  whether the punishment be of long or short duration; whether in this
  world, or in the next. If the justice or the goodness of God, require
  that punishment should not be inflicted when repentance has taken
  place; it must be a violation of those attributes to permit any
  punishment whatever, the most slight, or the most transient. Nor will
  it avail to say, that the evils of _this life_ attendant upon vice,
  are the effects of an established constitution, and follow in the way
  of natural consequence. Is not that established constitution itself,
  the effect of the divine decree? And are not its several operations as
  much the appointment of its Almighty framer, as if they had
  individually flowed from his immediate direction? But besides, what
  reason have we to suppose that God’s treatment of us in a future
  state, will not be of the same nature as we find it in this; according
  to established rules, and in the way of natural consequence? Many
  circumstances might be urged on the contrary, to evince the likelihood
  that it will. But this is not necessary to our present purpose. It is
  sufficient, that the deist cannot _prove_ that it will _not_. Our
  experience of the present state of things evinces, that indemnity is
  not the consequence of repentance here: can he adduce a
  counter-experience to show, that it will hereafter? The justice and
  goodness of God are not then _necessarily_ concerned, in virtue of the
  sinner’s repentance, to remove all evil consequences upon sin in the
  next life, or else the arrangement of events in this, has not been
  regulated by the dictates of justice and goodness. If the deist admits
  the latter, what becomes of his natural religion?

  Now let us inquire, whether the conclusions of abstract reasoning will
  coincide with the deductions of experience. If obedience be at all
  times our duty, in what way can present repentance release us from the
  punishment of former transgressions? Can repentance annihilate what is
  past? Or can we do more by present obedience, than acquit ourselves of
  present obligation? Or, does the contrition we experience, added to
  the positive duties we discharge, constitute a surplusage of merit,
  which may be transferred to the reduction of our former demerit? And
  is the justification of the philosopher, who is too enlightened to be
  a Christian, to be built, after all, upon the absurdities of
  supererogation? ‘We may as well affirm,’ says a learned Divine, ‘that
  our former obedience atones for our present sins, as that our present
  obedience makes amends for antecedent transgressions.’ And it is
  surely with a peculiar ill grace, that this sufficiency of repentance
  is urged by those, who deny the _possible_ efficacy of Christ’s
  mediation; since the ground on which they deny the latter, equally
  serves for the rejection of the former: the _necessary connexion_
  between the merits of one being, and the acquittal of another, not
  being less conceivable, than that which is conceived to subsist
  between obedience at one time, and the forgiveness of disobedience at
  another.

  Since then, upon the whole, experience (as far as it extends) goes to
  prove the natural inefficacy of repentance to remove the effects of
  past transgressions; and the abstract reason of the thing, can furnish
  no link, whereby to connect present obedience with forgiveness of
  former sins: it follows, that however the contemplation of God’s
  infinite goodness and love, might excite some faint hope, that mercy
  would be extended to the sincerely penitent; the animating _certainty_
  of this momentous truth, without which the religious sense can have no
  place, can be derived from the express communication of the Deity
  alone.

  But it is yet urged by those, who would measure the proceedings of
  divine wisdom by the standard of their own reason; that, admitting the
  necessity of a Revelation on this subject, it had been sufficient for
  the Deity to have made known to man his benevolent intention; and that
  the circuitous apparatus of the scheme of redemption must have been
  superfluous, for the purpose of rescuing the world from the terrors
  and dominion of sin; when this might have been effected in a way
  infinitely more simple and intelligible, and better calculated to
  excite our gratitude and love, merely by proclaiming to mankind a free
  pardon, and perfect indemnity, on condition of repentance and
  amendment.

  To the disputer, who would thus prescribe to God the mode by which he
  may best conduct his creatures to happiness, we might as before reply,
  by the application of his own argument to the course of ordinary
  events: and we might demand of him to inform us, wherefore the Deity
  should have left the sustenance of life, depending on the tedious
  process of human labour and contrivance, in rearing from a small seed,
  and conducting to the perfection fitting it for the use of man, the
  necessary article of nourishment; when the end might have been at once
  accomplished by its instantaneous production. And will he contend that
  bread has not been ordained for the support of man; because that,
  instead of the present circuitous mode of its production, it might
  have been rained down from heaven, like the manna in the wilderness?
  On grounds such as these, the philosopher (as he wishes to be called)
  may be safely allowed to object to the notion of forgiveness by a
  Mediator.

  With respect to every such objection as this, it may be well, once for
  all, to make this general observation. We find, from the whole course
  of nature, that God governs the world, not by independent acts, but by
  connected system. The instruments which he employs in the ordinary
  works of his Providence, are not physically necessary to his
  operations. He might have acted without them, if he pleased. ‘He
  might, for instance, have created all men, without the intervention of
  parents: but where then had been the beneficial connexion between
  parents and children; and the numerous advantages resulting to human
  society from such connexion?’ The difficulty lies here: the _uses_
  arising from the _connexions_ of God’s acts may be various; and such
  are the _pregnancies_ of his works, that a _single act_ may answer a
  prodigious variety of purposes. Of the several purposes we are, for
  the most part, ignorant: and from this ignorance are derived most of
  our weak objections against the ways of his Providence; whilst we
  foolishly presume, that, like human agents, he has but one end in
  view.

  This observation we shall find of material use in our examination of
  the remaining arguments adduced by the deist on the present subject.
  And there is none to which it more forcibly applies than to that by
  which he endeavours to prove the notion of a Mediator to be
  inconsistent with the _divine immutability_. It is either, he affirms,
  agreeable to the will of God to grant salvation on repentance, and
  then he _will_ grant it without a Mediator: or it is not agreeable to
  his will, and then a Mediator can be of no avail, unless we admit the
  mutability of the divine decrees.

  But the objector is not, perhaps, aware how far this reasoning will
  extend. Let us try it in the case of prayer. All such things as are
  agreeable to the will of God must be accomplished, whether we pray or
  not; and therefore our prayers are useless, unless they be supposed to
  have a power of altering his will. And indeed, with equal
  conclusiveness it might be proved that repentance itself must be
  unnecessary. For if it be fit that our sins should be forgiven, God
  will forgive us without repentance: and if it be unfit, repentance can
  be of no avail.

  The error in all these conclusions is the same, it consists in
  mistaking a conditional for an absolute decree; and in supposing God
  to ordain an end unalterably, without any concern as to the
  intermediate steps, whereby that end is to be accomplished. Whereas
  the _manner_ is sometimes as necessary as the _act_ proposed: so that
  if not done in that particular way, it would not have been done at
  all. Of this observation, abundant illustration may be derived, as
  well from natural as from revealed religion. ‘Thus we know from
  natural religion, that it is agreeable to the will of God, that the
  distresses of mankind should be relieved: and yet we see the
  destitute, from a wise constitution of Providence, left to the
  precarious benevolence of their fellow-men; and if not relieved by
  _them_, they are not relieved _at all_. In like manner, in Revelation,
  in the case of Naaman the Syrian, we find that God was willing he
  should be healed of his leprosy; but yet he was not willing that it
  should be done, except in _one particular manner_. Abana and Pharpar
  were as famous as any of the rivers of Israel. Could he not wash in
  them, and be clean? Certainly he might, if the design of God had been
  no more than to heal him. Or it might have been done without any
  washing at all. But the healing was not the only design of God, nor
  the most important. The _manner_ of the cure was of more consequence
  in the moral design of God, than the _cure_ itself: the effect being
  produced, for the sake of manifesting to the whole kingdom of Syria,
  the great power of the God of Israel, by which the cure was
  performed.’ And in like manner, though God willed that the penitent
  sinner should receive forgiveness; we may see good reason why,
  agreeably to his usual proceeding, he might will it to be granted in
  one particular manner only, through the intervention of a Mediator.

  Although in the present stage of the subject, in which we are
  concerned with the objections of the DEIST, the argument should be
  confined to the deductions of natural reason; yet I have added this
  instance from Revelation, because, strange to say, some who assume the
  name of Christians, and profess not altogether to discard the written
  word of Revelation, adept the very principle which we have just
  examined. For what are the doctrines of that description of
  Christians, in the sister kingdom,[169] who glory in having brought
  down the high things of God to the level of man’s understanding? That
  Christ was a person sent into the world to promulgate the will of God:
  to communicate new lights on the subject of religious duties: by his
  life to set an example of perfect obedience: by his death to manifest
  his sincerity: and by his resurrection to convince us of the great
  truth which he had been commissioned to teach, our rising again to
  future life. This, say they, is the sum and substance of Christianity.
  It furnishes a purer morality, and a more operative enforcement: its
  morality more pure, as built on juster notions of the divine nature:
  and its enforcement more operative, as founded on a _certainty_ of a
  state of retribution. And is then Christianity nothing but a new and
  more formal promulgation of the religion of nature? Is the death of
  Christ but an attestation of his truth? And are we, after all, left to
  our own merit for acceptance: and obliged to trust for our salvation
  to the perfection of our obedience? Then indeed, has the great Author
  of our religion in vain submitted to the agonies of the cross; if
  after having given to mankind a law, which leaves them less excusable
  in their transgressions, he has left them to be judged by the rigour
  of that law, and to stand or fall by their own personal deserts.

  It is said, indeed, that as by this new dispensation, the certainty of
  pardon on repentance has been made known, mankind has been informed of
  all that is essential in the doctrine of mediation. But granting that
  no more was intended to be conveyed, than the sufficiency of
  repentance; yet it remains to be considered _in what way_ that
  repentance was likely to be brought about. Was the bare declaration
  that God would forgive the repentant sinner, sufficient to ensure his
  amendment? Or was it not rather calculated to render him easy under
  guilt, from the facility of reconciliation? What was there to alarm,
  to rouse the sinner from the apathy of habitual transgression? What
  was there to make that impression which the nature of God’s moral
  government demands? Shall we say that the grateful sense of divine
  mercy would be sufficient; and that the generous feelings of our
  nature, awakened by the supreme goodness, would have secured our
  obedience? that is, shall we say, that the love of virtue and of right
  would have maintained man in his allegiance? And have we not then had
  abundant experience of what man can do, when left to his own
  exertions, to be cured of such vain and idle fancies? What is the
  history of man, from the creation to the time of Christ, but a
  continued trial of his natural strength? And what has been the _moral_
  of that history, but that man is strong, only as he feels himself
  weak? strong, only as he feels that his nature is corrupt, and from a
  consciousness of that corruption, is led to place his whole reliance
  upon God? What is the description which the apostle of the Gentiles
  has left us, of the state of the world, at the coming of our
  Saviour?—_being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication,
  wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate,
  deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful,
  proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
  without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection,
  implacable, unmerciful—who, knowing the judgment of God, that they
  which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same,
  but have pleasure in them that do them_.

  Here were the fruits of that natural goodness of the human heart,
  which is the favorite theme and fundamental principle with that class
  of Christians, with whom we are at present concerned. And have we not
  then had full experiment of our natural powers? And shall we yet have
  the madness to fly back to our own sufficiency, and our own merits,
  and to turn away from that gracious support, which is offered to us
  through the mediation of Christ? No: lost as men were, at the time
  Christ appeared, to all sense of true religion: lost as they must be
  to it, at all times, when left to a proud confidence in their own
  sufficiency: nothing short of a strong and salutary terror could
  awaken them to virtue. Without some striking expression of God’s
  abhorrence of sin, which might work powerfully on the imagination and
  the heart, what could prove a sufficient counteraction to the violent
  impulse of natural passions? what, to the entailed depravation, which
  the history of man, no less than the voice of Revelation, pronounces
  to have infected the whole human race? Besides, without a full and
  adequate sense of guilt, the very notion of forgiveness, as it relates
  to us, is unintelligible. We can have no idea of forgiveness, unless
  conscious of something to be forgiven. Ignorant of our forgiveness, we
  remain ignorant of that goodness which confers it. And thus, without
  some proof of God’s hatred for sin, we remain unacquainted with the
  greatness of his love.

  The simple promulgation then, of forgiveness on repentance, could not
  answer the purpose. Merely to _know_ the condition, could avail
  nothing. An _inducement_ of sufficient force to ensure its
  _fulfilment_ was essential. The system of sufficiency had been fully
  tried, to satisfy mankind of its folly. It was now time to introduce a
  new system, the system of _humility_. And for this purpose, what
  expedient could have been devised more suitable than that which has
  been adopted?—the sacrifice of the Son of God for the sins of men:
  proclaiming to the world, by the greatness of the ransom, the
  immensity of the guilt: and thence, at the same time evincing, in the
  most fearful manner, God’s utter abhorrence of sin, in requiring such
  expiation; and the infinity of his love, in appointing it.

  To this expedient for man’s salvation, though it be the clear and
  express language of Scripture, I have as yet sought no support from
  the authority of Scripture itself. Having hitherto had to contend with
  the deist, who denies all Revelation; and the pretended Christian, who
  rationalizing away its substance, finds it a mere moral system, and
  can discover in it no trace of a Redeemer: to urge the declarations of
  Scripture, as to the particular nature of redemption, would be to no
  purpose. Its authority disclaimed by the one, and evaded by the other,
  each becomes unassailable on any ground, but that which he has chosen
  for himself, the ground of general reason.

  But, we come now to consider the objections of a class of Christians
  who, as they profess to derive their arguments from the language and
  meaning of Scripture, will enable us to try the subject of our
  discussion by the only true standard, the word of Revelation. And
  indeed, it were most sincerely to be wished, that the doctrines of
  Scripture were at all times collected purely from the Scripture
  itself: and that preconceived notions and arbitrary theories were not
  first to be formed, and then the Scripture pressed into the service of
  each fanciful, dogma. If God has vouchsafed a Revelation, has he not
  thereby imposed a duty of submitting our understandings to its perfect
  wisdom? Shall weak, shortsighted man presume to say, ‘If I find the
  discoveries of Revelation correspond to my notions of what is right
  and fit, I will admit them: but if they do not, I am sure they cannot
  be the genuine sense of Scripture: and I am sure of it, on this
  principle, that the wisdom of God cannot disagree with itself?’ That
  is, to express it truly, that the wisdom of God cannot but agree with
  what this judge of the actions of the Almighty deems it wise for him
  to do. The language of Scripture must then, by every possible
  refinement, be made to surrender its fair and natural meaning, to this
  predetermination of its necessary import. But the word of revelation
  being thus pared down to the puny dimensions of human reason, how
  differs the Christian from the deist? The only difference is this:
  that whilst the one denies that God hath given us a Revelation; the
  other, compelled by evidence to receive it, endeavours to render it of
  no effect. But in both there is the same self-sufficiency, the same
  pride of understanding that would erect itself on the ground of human
  reason, and that disdains to accept the divine favour on any
  conditions but its own. In both, in short, the very characteristic of
  a Christian spirit is wanting—HUMILITY. For in what consists the
  entire of Christianity, but in this; that feeling an utter incapacity
  to work out our own salvation, we submit our whole-selves, our hearts,
  and our understandings, to the divine disposal; and relying on God’s
  gracious assistance, ensured to our honest endeavours to obtain it,
  through the Mediation of Christ Jesus, we look up to him, and to him
  alone, for safety? Nay, what is the very _notion_ of religion, but
  this humble reliance upon God? Take this away, and we become a race of
  independent beings, claiming as a debt the reward of our good works; a
  sort of contracting party with the Almighty, contributing nought to
  his glory, but anxious to maintain our own independence, and our own
  rights. And is it not to subdue this rebellious spirit, which is
  necessarily at war with virtue and with God, that Christianity has
  been introduced? Does not every page of revelation, peremptorily
  pronounce this; and yet shall we exercise this spirit, even upon
  Christianity itself? Assuredly if we do; if, on the contrary, our
  pride of understanding, and self-sufficiency of reason, are not made
  to prostrate themselves before the awfully mysterious truths of
  revelation; if we do not bring down the rebellious spirit of our
  nature, to confess that the _wisdom of man_ is but _foolishness with
  God_; we may bear the name of Christians, but we want the essence of
  Christianity.

  These observations, though they apply in their full extent, only to
  those who reduce Christianity to a system purely rational; yet are, in
  a certain degree applicable to the description of Christians, whose
  notion of redemption we now come to consider. For what but a
  preconceived theory, to which Scripture had been compelled to yield
  its obvious and genuine signification, could ever have led to the
  opinion, that in the death of Christ there was _no expiation for sin_;
  that the word _sacrifice_ has been used by the writers of the New
  Testament merely in a figurative sense; and that the whole doctrine of
  the redemption amounts but to this, ‘that God, willing to pardon
  repentant sinners, and at the same time willing to do it, only in that
  way, which would best promote the cause of virtue, appointed that
  Jesus Christ should come into the world; and that _he_, having taught
  the pure doctrines of the gospel; having passed a life of exemplary
  virtue; having endured many sufferings, and finally death itself, to
  prove his truth, and perfect his obedience; and having risen again, to
  manifest the certainty of a future state; has not only, by his example
  proposed to mankind a pattern for imitation; but has, by the merits of
  his obedience, obtained, through his intercession, as a reward, a
  kingdom or government over the world, whereby he is enabled to bestow
  pardon and final happiness, upon all who will accept them on the terms
  of sincere repentance.’ That is, in other words, we receive salvation
  through a Mediator: the mediation conducted through intercession: and
  that intercession successful in recompense of the meritorious
  obedience of our Redeemer.

  Here, indeed, we find the notion of redemption admitted: but in
  setting up, for this purpose, the doctrine of _pure intercession_, in
  opposition to that of _atonement_, we shall perhaps discover, when
  properly examined, some small tincture of that mode of reasoning,
  which, as we have seen, has led the modern Socinian to contend against
  the idea of redemption at large; and the deist, against that of
  revelation itself.

  For the present, let us confine our attention to the _objections_
  which the patrons of this new system bring against the principle of
  atonement, as set forth in the doctrines of that church to which we
  more immediately belong. As for those which are founded in views of
  general reason, a little reflection will convince us, that there is
  not any, which can be alleged against the latter, that may not be
  urged with equal force, against the former: not a single difficulty
  with which it is attempted to encumber the one, that does not equally
  embarrass the other. This having been evinced, we shall then see how
  little reason there was for relinquishing the plain and natural
  meaning of scripture; and for opening the door to a latitude of
  interpretation, in which, it is but too much the fashion to indulge at
  the present day, and which if persevered in, must render the word of
  God a nullity.

  The first, and most important of the objections we have now to
  consider, is that which represents the doctrine of atonement, as
  founded on the _divine implacability_—inasmuch as it supposes, that to
  appease the rigid justice of God, it was requisite that punishment
  should be inflicted; and that consequently the sinner _could_ not by
  any means have been released, had not Christ suffered in his stead.
  Were this a faithful statement of the doctrine of atonement, there had
  indeed been just ground for the objection. But that this is not the
  fair representation of candid truth, let the objector feel, by the
  application of the same mode of reasoning, to the system which he
  upholds. If it was necessary to the forgiveness of man, that Christ
  should suffer; and through the merits of his obedience, and as the
  fruit of his intercession, obtain the power of granting that
  forgiveness; does it not follow, that had not Christ thus suffered and
  interceded, we could not have been forgiven? And has _he_ not then, as
  it were, taken us out of the hands of a severe and strict judge; and
  is it not to him alone that we owe our pardon? Here the argument is
  exactly parallel, and the objection of implacability equally applies.
  Now what is the answer? ‘That although it is through the merits and
  intercession of Christ that we are forgiven; yet these were not the
  _procuring cause_, but the _means_, by which God originally disposed
  to forgive, thought it right to bestow his pardon.’ Let then the word
  _intercession_ be changed for _sacrifice_, and see whether the answer
  be not equally conclusive.

  The sacrifice of Christ was never deemed by any who did not wish to
  calumniate the doctrine of atonement, to have _made_ God placable, but
  merely viewed as the _means_ appointed by divine wisdom, by which to
  bestow forgiveness. And agreeably to this, do we not find this
  sacrifice every where spoken of, as ordained by God himself?—_God so
  loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever
  believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life_—and
  _herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent
  his Son to be the propitiation for our sins_—and again we are told,
  that _we are redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb
  without blemish, and without spot—-who verily was foreordained before
  the foundation of the world_—and again, that Christ is _the Lamb slain
  from the foundation of the world_. Since then, the notion of the
  efficiency of the sacrifice of Christ, contained in the doctrine of
  atonement, stands precisely on the same foundation with that of pure
  intercession—merely as the _means_ whereby God has thought fit to
  grant his favour and gracious aid to repentant sinners, and to fulfil
  that merciful intention, which he had at all times entertained towards
  his fallen creatures: and since by the same sort of representation,
  the charge of implacability in the Divine Being, is as applicable to
  the one scheme as to the other; that is, since it is a calumny most
  foully cast upon both: we may estimate with what candour this has been
  made by those who hold the one doctrine the fundamental ground of
  their objections against the other. For, on the ground of the
  expression of God’s unbounded love to his creatures every where
  through Scripture, and of his several declarations that he forgave
  them _freely_, it is, that they principally contend, that the notion
  of expiation by the sacrifice of Christ cannot be the genuine doctrine
  of the New Testament.

  But still it is demanded, ‘in what way can the death of Christ,
  considered as a sacrifice of expiation, be conceived to operate to the
  remission of sins, unless by the appeasing a Being, who otherwise
  would not have forgiven us?’—To this the answer of the Christian is,
  ‘I know not, nor does it concern me to know _in what manner_ the
  sacrifice of Christ is connected with the forgiveness of sins; it is
  enough, that this is declared by God to be the medium through which my
  salvation is effected. I pretend not to dive into the counsels of the
  Almighty. I submit to his wisdom: and I will not reject his grace,
  because his mode of vouchsafing it is not within my comprehension.’
  But now let us try the doctrine of pure intercession by this same
  objection. It has been asked, how can the sufferings of one Being be
  conceived to have any connexion with the forgiveness of another. Let
  us likewise inquire, how the meritorious obedience of one Being, can
  be conceived to have any connexion with the pardon of the
  transgressions of another: or whether the prayers of a righteous Being
  in behalf of a wicked person, can be imagined to have more weight in
  obtaining forgiveness for the transgressor, than the same
  supplication, seconded by the offering up of life itself, to procure
  that forgiveness? The fact is, the want of discoverable connexion has
  nothing to do with either. Neither the sacrifice nor the intercession
  has, as far as we can comprehend, any _efficacy_ whatever. All that we
  know, or can know of the one or of the other is, that it has been
  appointed as the means, by which God has determined to act with
  respect to man. So that to object to the one, because the mode of
  operation is unknown, is not only giving up the other, but the very
  notion of a Mediator; and if followed on, cannot fail to lead to pure
  deism, and perhaps may not stop even there.

  Thus we have seen, to what the general objections against the doctrine
  of atonement amount. The charges of _divine implacability_, and of
  _inefficacious means_, we have found to bear with as little force
  against this, as against the doctrine which is attempted to be
  substituted in its room.

  We come now to the objections which are drawn from the immediate
  language of scripture, in those passages in which the nature of our
  redemption is described. And first, it is asserted, that it is no
  where said in scripture, that God is reconciled _to us_ by Christ’s
  death, but that we are every where said to be reconciled _to God_. Now
  in this objection, which clearly lays the whole stress upon _our
  obedience_, we discover the secret spring of this entire system, which
  is set up in opposition to the scheme of atonement: we see that
  reluctance to part with the proud feeling of merit, with which the
  principle of redemption by the sacrifice of Christ is openly at war:
  and consequently we see the essential difference there is between the
  two doctrines at present under consideration; and the necessity there
  exists for separating them by the clearest marks of distinction. But
  to return to the objection that has been made, it very fortunately
  happens, that we have the meaning of the words in their scripture use,
  defined by no less an authority than that of our Saviour himself—_If
  thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy
  brother hath aught against thee, leave there thy gift before the
  altar, and go thy way—first be reconciled to thy brother, and then
  come and offer thy gift_. Now, from this plain instance, in which the
  person _offending_ is expressly described, as the party to _be
  reconciled to_ him who had been _offended_, by agreeing to his terms
  of accommodation, and thereby making his peace with him; it manifestly
  appears, in what sense this expression is to be understood in the
  language of the New Testament. The very words then produced for the
  purpose of showing that there was no displeasure on the part of God,
  which it was necessary by some means to avert, prove the direct
  contrary: and our _being reconciled to God_, evidently does not mean,
  our giving up our sins, and thereby laying aside _our_ enmity to God,
  (in which sense the objection supposes it to be taken) but the turning
  away _his_ displeasure, whereby we are enabled to regain his favour.
  And indeed it were strange, had it not meant this. What! are we to
  suppose the God of the Christian, like the deity of the Epicurean, to
  look on with indifference upon the actions of this life, and not to be
  offended at the sinner? The displeasure of God, it is to be
  remembered, is not like man’s displeasure, a resentment or passion,
  but a judicial disapprobation: which if we abstract from our notion of
  God, we must cease to view him as the moral governor of the world. And
  it is from the want of this distinction, which is so highly necessary;
  and the consequent fear of degrading the Deity, by attributing to him
  what might appear to be the weakness of passion; that they, who trust
  to reason more than to scripture, have been withheld from admitting
  any principle that implied displeasure on the part of God. Had they
  attended but a little to the plain language of scripture, they might
  have rectified their mistake. They would there have found the wrath of
  God against the disobedient, spoken of in almost every page. They
  would have found also a case which is exactly in point to the main
  argument before us; in which there is described, not only the wrath of
  God, but the turning away of his displeasure by the mode of sacrifice.
  The case is that of the three friends of Job,—in which God expressly
  says, that his _wrath is kindled against the friends of Job, because
  they had not spoken of him the thing that was right_; and at the same
  time directs them to offer up a sacrifice, as the way of averting his
  anger.

  But then it is urged, that God is every where spoken of as a being of
  infinite love. True; and the whole difficulty arises from building on
  partial texts. When men perpetually talk of God’s justice, as being
  necessarily modified by his goodness, they seem to forget that it is
  no less the language of scripture, and of reason, that his goodness
  should be modified by his justice. Our error on this subject proceeds
  from our own narrow views, which compel us to consider the attributes
  of the Supreme Being, as so many distinct qualities, when we should
  conceive of them as inseparably blended together; and his _whole
  nature_ as _one great impulse_ to what _is best_.

  As to God’s displeasure against sinners, there can be then upon the
  whole no reasonable ground of doubt. And against the doctrine of
  atonement, no difficulty can arise from the scripture phrase of men
  being _reconciled to God_: since, as we have seen, that directly
  implies the turning away the displeasure of God, so as to be again
  restored to his favour and protection.

  But, though all this must be admitted by those who will not shut their
  eyes against reason and scripture; yet still it is contended, that the
  death of Christ cannot be considered as a _propitiatory sacrifice_.
  Now, when we find him described as _the Lamb of God which taketh away
  the sins of the world_; when we are told, that _Christ hath given
  himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God_; and that he
  _needed not, like the high-priests under the law, to offer up
  sacrifice daily, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s;
  for that this he did once, when he offered up himself_; when he is
  expressly asserted to be the _propitiation for our sins_; and God is
  said to have _loved us_, and to have _sent his Son to be the
  propitiation for our sins_; when Isaiah describes _his soul as made an
  offering for sin_; when it is said that _God spared not his own Son,
  but delivered him up for us all_; and that _by him we have received
  the atonement_; when these, and many other such passages are to be
  found; when every expression referring to the death of Christ,
  evidently indicates the notion of a sacrifice of atonement and
  propitiation; when this sacrifice is particularly represented, as of
  the nature of a _sin-offering_; which was a species of sacrifice
  ‘prescribed to be offered upon the commission of an offence, after
  which the offending person was considered as if he had never sinned;’
  it may well appear surprising on what ground it can be questioned,
  that the death of Christ is pronounced in scripture to have been a
  sacrifice of atonement and expiation for the sins of men.

  It is asserted, that the several passages which seem to speak this
  language, contain nothing more than _figurative allusions_: that all
  that is intended is, that Christ laid down his life _for_, that is,
  _on account of_ mankind: and that there being circumstances of
  resemblance between this event and the sacr