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his inspired prophets have been abused, and his Son has been crucified in this our world, while sent to invite us to a reconciliation, and to offer us a pardon. Thus stands the fact as recorded in the sacred writings. And thus our contrariety to God began when sin began; nor is there any thing in our nature contrary to the holy nature of God, but sin. And we began to be sinners while God was our friend ; and we have continued in our rebellion through a long succession of ages, while God has been offering pardon all the time. Therefore,
1. The carnal mind is as really contrary to the holy nature of God, as the holy nature of God is to the carnal mind; for sin is as contrary to holiness as holiness is to sin. And yet God is willing to forgive us through Christ; but we are not willing to be reconciled to him.
2. The enmity of the carnal mind against God is entirely of a criminal nature, and comprises in it the sum of all wickedness; for as a conformity to God's holy nature is the sum of all holiness, so a contrariety to God's holy nature is the sum of all wickedness. To say that a contrariety to the holy nature of God is not sinful, is, in effect, to say that there is no sin on earth, or in hell. And indeed Mr. M. gives a broad hint, that in hell there is no sin in all their enmity against the Deity. And if his scheme is true, he must be right in this. But to use arguments to justify ourselves in our enmity against God, which will equally justify the devil, is to carry the point as far as the devil himself can desire it should be carried. Nor can any thing better please the devil, than to find himself justified in his enmity against God and his Son, by the professed friends of both.
3. If the enmity of the carnal mind against God is entirely criminal, and the sum of all wickedness, then, while we justify ourselves in it, we are disqualified for sealing ordinances by it, if any sin, as such, can disqualify us. For to say that a small sin, persisted in, disqualifies for sealing ordinances, and yet the greatest sin does not; to say, for instance, that stealing one shilling from our neighbor, considered merely as an injury done to him, without repentance, disqualifies for sealing ordinances, and that yet a state and course of enmity against God, persisted in, does not, is to strain at a gnat, and to swallow a camel.
4. But if it be really true, as Mr. M. says, that “to love that character of God which is exhibited in the moral law, is the same thing as to love our own misery ;” and if “this is the true reason, and the only reason,' we do not love God; then our enmity against God is not in the least degree criminal. And so it doth not in the least degree disqualify us for sealing ordinances, especially if we are heartily disposed to love that character of
God which alone it is our duty to love, so that, without fail, we shall love it as soon as we know it; and that without any new principle of grace. Thus the enemies of God are taught to think themselves blameless in their enmity against God; and thus they are imboldened to approach the table of the Lord. But what communion can there be between Him who loved the character of God exhibited in the moral law, and became incarnate, and lived and died to do it honor, and such an Antinomian law-hating heart ! (Prov. xxix. 27. 2 Cor. vi. 14, 15.)
SECTION VII. 2 COR. v. 20. We pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. WHETHER THE GOSPEL CALLS FALLEN MAN TO BE RECONCILED
TO GOD. Question. Doth the gospel call fallen man to be reconciled to that character of God, which fallen man, as such, is at enmity against; or only to be reconciled to another character of God, which fallen man, as such, is not at enmity against, but is naturally disposed to love as soon as known?
Our author undertakes to prove, that it is not the duty of fallen man to love that character of God which is exhibited in the moral law;" but that, instead of its being a duty, it is a sinful thing to do so ; as it is “inconsistent with the character of God, and the character of man ; contrary to both law and gospel ; to nature and grace.” Because “ to love this character, is the same thing as to love our own misery.” And he also undertakes to prove that fallen man, as such, from the mere principles of nature, is disposed to love that character of God which is exhibited in the gospel, which is the only character the gospel teaches us to love; so that we shall love it, as soon as known, without a new principle of grace ; and therefore the common doctrine of the necessity of a “new principle of grace," is wrong, and “regeneration is wrought by light."
The question relative to this scheme of religion, which we would now propose to examination, is this, namely, “Doth the gospel call fallen man to be reconciled to that character of God, which fallen man, as such, is at enmity against ; or only to be reconciled to another character of God, which fallen man, as such, is not at enmity against, but is naturally disposed to love as soon as known ? We will, in the first place, offer some arguments to prove, that the gospel doth call fallen man to be reconciled to that character of God, which, as such, he is at
enmity against, and then consider what Mr. M. has said to the contrary.
Argument 1. The gospel called Adam, immediately after his fall, to be reconciled to that very character of God against which he was at enmity, or it called him to no reconciliation at all; for to say that the gospel called him to be reconciled to a character against which he was not at enmity, implies a contradiction ; for it supposes a thing to be, and not to be, at the same time. For a call to a reconciliation supposes enmity; therefore the gospel did not call Adam after his fall to be reconciled to God at all, or else it called him to be reconciled to that character of God against which he was at enmity. But to say that the gospel did not call Adam to be reconciled to God at all, supposes that God was willing to be reconciled to Adam, but did not desire Adam to be reconciled to him. For if the gospel which was preached to Adam by God himself, did imply no call to Adam to be reconciled to God, then it is plain God did not desire Adam to be reconciled to him ; for he did not call him to it; he did not invite him to it; that is, he did not desire that Adam should be reconciled to that character of himself which he had exhibited in his law. But if he did not desire him to be reconciled to that character of himself which he had exhibited in his law, he was willing he should continue to hate it. But if God was willing that Adam should continue to hate that character of himself which he had exhibited in his law, then he did really hate it himself; for if God loved it, he would desire Adam to love it; for he would desire Adam to be like him, and after his image. But to say that God hated that character of himself which be had exhibited in his law, supposes an essential change in God's moral character; for God loved that character before Adam fell, as will be granted.
Remark 1. In this Mr. M.'s scheme is consistent with itself, namely, in supposing no change of nature necessary to be in us in order to our reconciliation to God; because the change of nature necessary to a reconciliation between God and us, has already taken place on God's side. His nature is changed, and so there is no need that ours should be changed. We only need to know the change which has taken place in God's nature, in God's moral character, and all will be well; the breach will be made up, friendship will commence without any new principle of grace in us.
Rem. 2. In this also the Scripture scheme is consistent with itself, namely, in supposing a change of nature necessary to take place on our part, in order to our liking the divine character; because, according to Scripture, no change of nature
has, or ever will take place on God's side. For it is a Scripture maxim, that contrary natures are an abomination to each other. (Prov. xxix. 27.) “ An unjust man is abomination to the just; and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked;" therefore contrary natures cannot like and take pleasure in each other. “ For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness ? and what communion hath light with darkness ? and what concord hath Christ with Belial ”? But our sinful nature is contrary to God's holy nature. “The carnal mind is enmity against God;" and therefore regeneration is necessary. Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God;” and a new nature is communicated in regeneration. “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit;" the old nature is taken away, and a new nature is given. “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh ;” and this new nature lays a foundation for delight in God and in his ways. “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes. “ Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee."
Rem. 3. There are two kinds of delight in God, which may take place in the human heart, namely, 1. Delight in a mistaken idea of God; 2. Delight in God's true and real character. True delight is delight in God's true and real character; and false delight is delight in a false and mistaken idea of God. Deists and Socinians believe, that God designs to make all his creatures finally happy : this is their idea of God; and they delight in this idea. The impenitent, law-hating Antinomian
lieves, that God designs to make him finally happy : this is his idea of God; and he delights in this idea. The Christian believes, that God has a supreme regard to the Deity, and de signs to assert the dignity of the divine nature, and the infinite evil of sin, in the just punishment of every transgression, without exception, in the criminal, or in his surety; and so to maintain the honor of his law, which is the image of his heart, a transcript of his moral perfections; and to pardon none but penitent believers; and to grant pardon only as an act of mere pure grace, and only through the atonement of Christ, who hath borne the curse of the law, died, the just for the unjust. This is his idea of God; and he delights in this idea. It gives him pleasure to see God exalted, the law honored, sin punished, the sinner humbled, grace glorified. This is a glorious way of saving sinners. Christ crucified, in this view,
is in his eyes the wisdom of God. It appears to be wisdom, truly divine, to be at such infinite expense to do honor to that character of God which is exhibited in the law; for that character appears to be truly divine, and so to be worthy of this infinite honor. It is wise to pay infinite honor to that which is infinitely glorious; but it is foolish to render honor to that which is odious and dishonorable. To a regenerate heart Christ crucified is therefore the wisdom of God, but to others foolishness and a stumbing-block. (1 Cor. i. 18, 23, 24; ii. 14.) These sentiments are explained and proved at large, in my Essay on the Nature and Glory of the Gospel; and this is what Mr. M. misrepresents and cries out against, as new divinity.
Rem. 4. Every unregenerate sinner, be his doctrinal knowledge what it will, is in the temper of his heart an infidel. For it is incredible, that infinite honor should be done to that which appears worthy of no honor at all ; but the divine law, and the divine character therein exhibited, to a carnal heart, appear worthy of no honor at all ; for they appear not amiable, but odious; for “the carnal mind is enmity against God.” Therefore a cordial belief of the truth of the gospel is peculiar to the regenerate. " Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God."
Rem. 5. It is not strange, that an unregenerate man, when the true gospel of Christ is explained and set in a clear light before his eyes, should cry out, “ This is new divinity to me;" for it may truly be quite new to him ; a system of sentiments he never believed to be true. But it is strange that the true gospel of Christ should appear to be new divinity to an old saint. But it is time to proceed.
Arg. 2. God the Father loves that character of himself which he exhibited to Adam in his law. But the gospel calls us to be like God; to be conformed to his image ; therefore the gospel calls us to love that character of God which is exhibited in his law. That God the Father loves that character of himself which he exhibited to Adam in his law, is evident from this, namely; that character which is exhibited in the law was God's true character, as Mr. M. grants. “ The divine character exhibited in the moral law, was that which was exhibited to Adam in his state of innocency, and it was God's true character." Indeed, it was God's true and real character, or else God gave himself a character contrary to truth in the moral law ; which none will dare to say. But if that character of God was God's true and real character, then it will follow, that God loved that character then ; for all will grant that God loved his own character. But if God loved that character then, he does love it still, unless his nature is changed. But that God is