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death as the wages of the least sin....Rom. i. 18-Gal. ïïi. 10. Mlat. xxv. 46 ; (and the word death itself is plainly used to signify eternal death and misery....Rom. vi. 23—Rom. viii. 13): So that either now he means to punish sin more than it deserves, or he intended then to punish sin less than it deserved ; or else eternal death was what he always meant, by threatening death as the wages of sin. If he means to punish sin now more than he did then, it is too much now, or not enough then; both which are equally contrary to the reason and nature of things, and equally inconsistent with the impartial justice of the divine nature, which always inclines him to render to every one according to his deserts....nor more, nor less : and therefore eternal death was intended in that first threatening : But this by the way.
And, lastly, as that constitution was holy and just, so also it was good ; because it put Adam (personally.considered) under better circumstances than he was before : For, while in a state of pure nature, perfect obedience could not have given him any title to eternal life ; but, as was said before, God might have annihilated him at pleasure, after a hundred, or a thousand, or ten thousand years, without any injustice to him....(Fob xxii. 2 -Rom. xi. 35.) But now, under this constitution, he had an assurance of eternal life upon perfect obedience: For, inasmuch as God threatened death in case he should sin, it is evi. dently implied that he should have lived forever in case he had been obedient : So that there was infinite goodness manifested to Adam (personally considered) in this constitution—eternal life being thus promised, of mere unmerited bounty. And be. sides, after a while, his state of trial would have been at an end, and he confirmed in an immutable state of holiness and happiness ; of which confirmation the tree of life seems to have been designed as a sacramental sign....Gen. iii. 22—Rev. ii. 7, and xxii. 14: Whereas, had he remained in a state of pure nature, he must have been everlastingly in a state of probation, had it pleased his Maker to have continued him in being : So that, upon the whole, it is plain, this constitution, as to Adam, per,
sonally considered, was holy, just, and good; and Adam had great reason, with all his heart, to give thanks to God his Maker, for his goodness and condescension, that he would be so kind, and stoop so low; as to enter into such a covenant with a worm of the dust : and, no doubt, he did so, with the sincerest gratitude. We proceed, therefore, to consider,
(2.) That if all his posterity had been put under this same constitution, one by one, from age to age, as they came into being, to act singly for themselves, it had also, as to them, have been HOLY, JUST, and GOOD : As it was better for Adam than a state of pure nature, so it would have been, for the same reason, better
We (had we remained in a state of pure nature, i. e. without any constitution at all) should have been, each one of us, under the same infinite obligation to perfect obedience to the law of nature, and equally exposed to the same infinite punishment for the least sin, as he was, and as much without a title to life upon perfect obedience, and as liable to be everlastingly in a state of probation : And, therefore, such a constitution would have been as great a favor to us, as it was to him ; and we equally under obligations to gratitude and thankfulness to God therefor. But,
(3.) It was as well for our interest, in the nature of the thing, in all respects, that Adam should be made a public head and representative, to act not only for himself, but for all his posterity, as if we had been put to act singly for ourselves; and, in some respects,, better : For Adam was, in the nature of the thing, in all respects, as likely to stand as any of us should have been, and, in some respects, more likely ; for he had as good natural powers—as much of the image of God, and as great a sense of his obligations, as any of us should have had ; and had, in all respects, as many motives to watchfulness; and, in some respects, more in that not only his own everlasting welfare lay at stake, but also the everlasting welfare of all his posterity too. Besides, he had just received the law from God's own mouth, and he was in a state of perfect manhood when his trial began : So that, upon the whole, in the nature of the thing, it was more likely he
should stand than that any of us should ; and, therefore, it was more for our interest that he should act for us, than we for ourselves : But if we had been put to act singly for ourselves, under such a constitution, it had been much better than to be left in a state of pure nature, and so we should have had great cause of thankfulness to God for his condescension and goodness; but to have Adam appointed to act for us, was, in the nature of the thing, still more to our advantage; on the account of which, we have, therefore, still greater cause of thankfulness to the good Governor of the world. It is infinite wickedness, therefore, to fly in the face of Almighty God, and charge him with unrighteousness, for appointing Adam our head and representative. We ought rather to say,
We ought rather to say, “ The constitution was “holy, just, and goodyea, very good ; but to us belongs “shame and confusion of face, for that we have sinned.”
OBJ. But God knew how it would turn out-- he knew Adam would fall, and undo himself and all his race.
Ans. When God called Abraham, and chose him and his seed for his peculiar people, to give them distinguishing advantages and privileges, and that professedly under the notion of great kindness and unspeakable goodness; yet, at the same time, he knew how they would turn out-how they would be a stiff-necked people, and would kill his Prophets, his Son and Apostles, and so be cast off from being his people. He knew all this beforehand s yet that altered not the nature of the thing at all-did not diminish his goodness, nor lessen his grace. And the Jewish nation, at this day, haye reason to say, “ The “Lord's ways have been ways of goodness, and blessed be his "name ; but to us belong shame and confusion of face, for “that we have sinned.”
OBJ. Yes, but God decreed that Adam should fall.
Ans. He did not decree that Adam should fall, any more than he did that the seed of Abraham should turn out such a stiff-necked, rebellious race. He decreed to permit both to do as they did ; but this neither lessens his goodness, nor their sin: for God is not obliged to put his creatures under such cir
eumstarices as that they shall never be tempted nor tried; and when they are tried, he is not obliged to keep them from fall. ing ; it is enough that they have sufficient power to stand, if they will ;-which was the case with Adam. Besides, God had wise ends in permitting Adam to fall; for he designed to take occasion therefrom, to display all his glorious perfections in the most illustrious manner: So that we may say of it (and should, if we loved God above ourselves) as Joseph does of his brethren's selling him—Ye meant it for evil, but the Lord meant it for good : So here, satan meant it for eyil, but God meant it for good ; even to bring much glory to his great name: there. fore be still, and adore his holy sovereignty-and, at the same time, acknowledge that the constitution, in its own nature, was holy, just, and good-yea, very good. These things being considered, I proceed to add,
(4.) That, in such a case, God, as supreme Lord and sovereign Governor of the whole world, had full power and rightful author. ity to constitute Adam, our common head and public representative, to act in our behalf ; for, as the case stood, there could be no reasonable objection against it. Adam was not held up to hard terms : The threatening, in case of disobedience, was strictly just : The constitution, in its own nature, was vastly for the interest of Adam and of all his race. Adam was already constituted the natural head of all mankind ; for God blessed him, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.... Gen. i. 28. All his race, had they then existed, would, if they had been wise for themselves, readily have consented to such a constitution, as being well adapted to the general good : (S men are wont to do when their estates lie at stake, or their lives; if they think that an attorney is likely to manage the case for them better than they can for themselves, they will choose him, and venture the case with him, rather than with themselves) : So that the only question is, whether God had, in so unexcep. tionable a case, full power and rightful authority to constitute Adam a public head, to stand as a moral representative for all his race, and act in their behalf, so that they should stand or fall
with him : Or, in other words, (for it all comes to the same thing), whether, in any case whatsoever, God has full power and rightful authority to appoint one to stand and act in the room of another, so as to lay a foundation for the conduct of the one to be so imputed to the other, as that both shall stand and fall together : And so it is as much of a question, whether God had power and authority to constitute the second Adam a public head as the first. If God had not full power and rightful authority to appoint the first Adam to be our public head and moral representative, to stand and act in our behalf, so as to lay a foundation for his conduct to be so imputed to us, as that we should stand and fall with him, then he had not full power and rightful authority to appoint the second Adam to be a public head, and moral representative, to stand and act in the room of a guilty world, so as to lay a foundation for his righteousness to be so imputed to them that believe in him, as that they should be justified and saved through it: For, if God has not power to constitute one to stand and act in the room of another, in any case whatsoever-and if, on this footing, we say he had not power to appoint the first Adam, it is plain that, on the same footing, he had no power to appoint the second. I suppose it will be readily granted, that if God has power, in any case whatsoever, to constitute one to stand and act in the room of another, in the manner aforesaid, then he had in these two instances of Adam and Christ, which are doubtless, on all accounts, in them. selves, most unexceptionable: But if God, in no case whatsoever, has power to appoint one thus to stand and act in the room of another, then both these constitutions are effectually under. mined, and rendered null and void. We can neither be guilty of Adam's first sin, so as justly to be exposed to condemnation and ruin therefor; nor can the righteousness of Christ be so imputed to us, as to entitle us to justification and life. One man's disobedience cannot constitute many to be sinners, nor the obedience of one constitute many to be righteous. We can neither be ruined by the first Adam, nor redeemed by the second. Under the Jewish dispensation, it was ordained (Lev. xvi.) that Aaron