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works are all done in wisdom ; and so his infinite wisdom is discovered in all : And hence God appears infinitely glorious in the eyes of his people.... Deut. xxxii. 3, 4.-Psal. civ. 24, & cv. 1, 45.- I Cor. i. 24, 31.
(4.) Again, His infinite purity and holiness is also discovered in his government of the world—in all that he has done to establish right, and discountenance wrong, throughout all his dominions. His creating angels and men in his own image, with his law written on their hearts, manifested his disposition, and showed what he was pleased with : But his public conduct, as moral Governor of the world, has more evidently discovered the very temper of his heart ; and shewn how he loves right and hates wrong, to an infinite degree. Governors, among men, discover much of their disposition, and show what they love and what they hate, by their laws; and they show how fervent their love and hatred is, by all the methods they take to enforce them; and so does the great Governor of the worid : By his laws--by his promises and threatenings-by his past conduct, and declared designs for the future, he manifests how he loves moral good and hates moral evil.
By his infinite understanding, he is perfectly acquainted with himself, and with all his intelligent creatures ; and so perfectly knows what conduct in him towards them is right, fit and amiable, and such as becomes such a one as he is ; and also, perfectly knows what conduct in his creatures towards him, and towards each other, is fit and amiable, and so their duty. He sees what is right, and infinitely loves it, because it is right: He sees what is wrong, and infinitely hates it, because it is wrong; and, in his whole conduct, as Governor of the world, he appears to be just what he is at heart-an infinite friend to right, and an infinite enemy to wrong.
He takes state....sets up himself as a GoD....bids all the world adore him, love and obey him, with all their hearts—and that upon pain of eternal damnation, in case of the least defect; and promises eternal life and glory, in case of perfect obedience. This is the language of his law, Thou shalt love the Lord thy
God with all thy heart, and thy neighbor as thyself: Do this, and live ; disobey, and die. And now all that infinite esteem for himself, and infinite regard for his own honor, which he herein manifests, does not result from a proud or a selfish spirit; for there is no such thing in his nature : Nor does he threaten damnation for sin, because it hurts him ; or promise eternal life to obedience, because it does him any good : for he is infinitely above us, and absolutely independent of us, and cannot receive advantage or disadvantge from us.... Job xxii. 2, 3. and xxxv. 6, 7. But it results from the infinite holiness of his nature. He loves and honors himself as he does, because, since he is what he is, it is right and fit he should : He bids the world adore love and obey him with all their hearts, because, considering what he is, and what they are, it is infinitely fit and right: He commands us to love our neighbor as ourselves, because this also, in the nature of things, is right : And while he promises eternal life to the obedient, and threatens eternal damnation to the disobedient, he shows how infinitely he loves righte: Jusness and hates iniquity. His promising eternal life and glory to perfect obedience, does indeed mar.ifest the infinite goodness and bountifulness of his nature ; but then his promising all, under the notion of a reward, discovers this temper of his heart ....his infinite love to right.
As to all his positive injunctions, they are evidently designed to promote a conformity to the moral law. And as to the mor. al law, it is originally founded upon the very reason and nature of things. The duties required therein are required, originally, because they are right in themselves : And the sins forbidden, are forbidden, originally, because they are unfit and wrong in themselves. The intrinsic fitness of the things required, and the intrinsic unfitness of the things forbidden, was the original ground, reason and foundation of his law. Thus, he bids all the world love him with all their hearts, because he is the Lord their God; and love one another as brethren, because they are all children of the same common father, having the same nature. He requires this supreme love to himself, and this mutual love
among his subjects, because it is right that so it should be ; and because he perfectly loves that the thing that is right should be done....and not from any advantage that can possibly accrue unto him from the behavior of his creatures. And he forbids the contrary, because it is wrong, and therefore infinitely hateful in his sight....and not because it could be any disadvantage to him.-All the glory and blessedness which he bestows upon the angels in heaven, under the notion of a reward to their obedience, is not because their obedience does him any good ; for it does not : nor because they deserve any thing from his hands ; for they do not : (Rom. xi. 35, 36.) but merely because it is right that they should, in all things, obey him: This is what he loves, and what he delights to honor: And all the infinite, eternal glories of heaven can but just serve as a sufficient testimony of his approbation. So, on the other hand, it was not in a passion, or from sudden, rash revenge, (which many times influences sinful men to cruel and barbarous deeds), that he turned those that sinned down to hell ; and, for their first offence, doomed them to everlasting woe, without the least hope ; for there is no such thing in his nature. As he is not capable of being injured, as we are, so neither is he capable of such anger as we feel. No : the thing they did was in itself infinitely wrong, and that was the true and only cause of his infinite displeasure ; which infinite displeasure he meant to declare and make known in the sight of all worlds, throughout the endless ages of eternity, by rendering to them according to their deserts : For he loves to appear as great an enemy to sin, in his conduct, as he is in his heart. He loves to act out his heart, and exhibit a true image of himself. His infinite love of righteousness and hatred of iniquity, is also displayed in his promising eternal life and blessedness to Adam and to all his race, a whole world of beings, as a reward to the obedience of Adan—by him constituted public head and representative, on the one hand; and threateningeternal destruction to him and all his race, a whole world of beings, in case of the least transgression, on the other hand. But his infinite love to righteousness, and hatred of iniquity, is manifest
ed in the greatest perfection, in the death of Jesus Christ, his only begotten son : But of this more afterwards.-In a word, all the blessings which he has granted to the godly in this world, as rewards of their virtue....to Abel, Enoch, and Noah....to Lot.... to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, &c. and all the judgments which he has executed upon the wicked....his turning Adam out of paradise...drowning the old world....burning Sodom, &c. together with all the evils which befel the children of Israel, in the wilderness in the time of the judges in the reigns of their kings ....and their long captivity in Babylon, &c. have all been public testimonies that the righteous Lord loveth righteousness, and hateth iniquity. And, in heaven and in hell, he designs to display, to all eternity, in the most glorious and dreadful manner, how infinitely he loves righteousness and hates iniquity.
Now when true believers, who are divinely enlightened, meditate on and view the laws, the conduct, and the declared designs of the great Governor of the world, they love, admire and adore, and say, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts, the whole world is full of thy glory. This divine disposition, to love righteousness and hate iniquity, which the great Governor of the world thus discovers in all his government, appears infinitely beautiful and glorious, excellent, and amiable in their eyes: Whence they are ready to say, Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like unto thee, glorious in holiness, &C.... As they do in Exod. xv, 11.*
• If we should suppose (as some do), that there is nothing right or wrong antecedent to a consideration of the positive will and law of God, the great governor of the world ; and that right and wrong result, originally, from his sovereign will and absolute authority entirely, then these absurdities would unavoidably follow :
1. That the moral perfections of God are empty names, without any signifi. cation at all. For if there be no intrinsic moral fitness and unfitness in things, no right nor wrong, then there is no such thing as moral beauty or moral deformity; and so, no foundation, in the nature of things, for any moral propensity ; i. e. there is nothing for God to love or hate, considered as a moral agent. There can be no inclination or disposition in him to love right and hate wrong, if there be no such thing as right or wrong. So that the only idea we could frame of God, would be that of an almighty, des. potic sovereign, who makes his own will his only rule, without any regard to right or wrong, good or evil, just or unjust....an idea of the infinitely glorious and ever-blessed God, evidently as contrary to truth as can be devised.
(5.) His impartial justice is also discovered in his moral gov: ernment of the world. He appears, in his public conduct, as one infinitely engaged to give to every one his due, and as one absolutely governed by a spirit of the most perfectly disinterested impartiality: He appears as one infinitely engaged to maintain the rights of the Godhead, and to secure that glory to the divine Being that is his proper due ; and that by the law which he has established, in heaven and on earth, binding all to love, worship and obey him, as God, upon pain of eternal damnation: And so, again, he appears as one infinitely engaged to secure all his subjects here upon earth in a quiet and peaceable possession of their own proper rights; and that by strictly' enjoin
2. Tbat, in the nature of things, there is no more reason to love and obey God, than there is to bate and disobey bim : there being, in the nature of things, no right nor wrong. Just as if God was not infinitely worthy of our highest esteem and most perfect obedience ! and just as if, in the nature of things, there was no reason why we should love and obey him, but merely because he is the greatest and strongest, and says we must ! than which nothing can be more evidently absurd. But if these things are so, then it will follow,
3. Tbat there is no reason why be sbould require bis creatures to love and obey bim, or forbid tbe contrary; or wby be should reward tbe one, or punisb the other : there being, in the nature of things, no right nor wrong: and so the foundation of God's law and government is overturned, and all religion torn up by the roots ; and nothing is left but arbitrary tyranny and servile subjection....all expressly contrary to Gen. xviii. 25—Heb. i. 9- Epb. vi. 1
- Rom. xi. 1 - Rev.iv. 11- Rom. vii. 12-Rom. Ü. 4, 5, 6-Rev. xix. 1, 6 -Ezeb. xvii. 25.
Or again, if we should suppose (as others do), that there is nothing rigbt or wrong, antecedent to a consideration of the general good of the whole system of intelligent created beings ; and that right and wrong result, ori. ginally and entirely, from the natural tendency of things to promote, or hinder the general good of the whole: then, also, these manifest absurdities will unavoidably follow :
1. T bat tbe moral perfections of God entirely consist in, or result from a disposition to love bis creatures supremely, and sees their bappiness as bis only end : just as if it became the most high to make a God of his creatures, and himself their servant ! expressly contrary to Rom. xi. 36-Numb. xivRep. iv. 11.
2. That God loves virtue and rewards it, merely because it tends to make bis creatures bappy; and bates vice and punisbes it, merely because it tends to make bis creatures miserable : just as if he had no regard to the rights of the Godhead, nor cared how much contempt was cast upon the glorious majesty of Heaven! expressly contrary to Exod. xxxii. Numb. xiv.-I Sam. ii. 29, 30-II Sam. xii. 10, 14—Psalm li. 4.
3. That be requires us to love and obey bim, merely because it tends to make us bappy, and forbids the contrary merely because it tends to make us miserable : just as if he had no sense of the infinite glory and excellency of his nature, and our infinite obligations to love and obey him thenoe arising ! and just as if he thought it no crime in us, to treat him with the greatest contempt!