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Of the Penal Sanction. I. Ir remains that we consider the Penal Sanction, expressed by God in these terms, Gen. ii
. 17. “ for in the day that thou gatest thereof (the tree of knowledge of good and evil) thou shalt surely die."
II. Several things are here to be distinctly noted. 1st. That all that God bere threatens is the consequence and punishment of sin, to be only inflicted on the rebellious and disobe. dient: and therefore Socinus and his followers most absurdly make the death mentioned in the threatening, a consequence not so much of sin, as of nature ; but God's words are plain to any man's conscience, that death flows from eating of the farbidden tree. Adly. That the sin here expressed is a violation not of the natural, but of the symbolical law, given to man for the trial of his most perfect obedience. But even from this he might easily gather, that if the transgres
1 sion of a precept, whose universal goodness depends only on the good pleasure of God, is thus to be punished, the transgression of that law which is the transcript of the most holy nature of God, deserves much greater. Odly. TEat it is ala together agreeable to God's authority and most righteous will, that there be a certain connection between the sin and the punishment, denounced by these words. This also is indicated by the ingemination in the original, Drying thou shalt die; that is, thou shalt most certainly die. So that, it is not possible for the sinner to escape death, unless perhaps a proper sponsor (of which this is not the proper place) should: undergo it in his stead. Atbly. That the words of the threatening are general, and therefore by the term death, we ought here to understand, whatever the scripture any where
signifies by that name. For who will presume to have a right of limiting the extent of the divine threatening? Nay, the words are not only general, but ingeminated too, plainly teaching us, that they are to be taken in their full emphasis or signification. '5thly. That they are spoken to Adam in such a manner as also to relate to his posterity: a certain evidence; that Adam was the representative of all. 6thly. That on the very day the sin should be committed, punishment should be inflicted on man justice required this, and it has been verified by the event. For in the very moment when man sinned, hie became obnoxious to death, and immediately upon finishing his sin, felt the beginnings both of corporal and spiritual death. These things are here expressed with far greater simplicity than in the fictions of the Jewish doctors, according to Ben Jacchi, on Dan. vi. 25. where he speaks thus: “ A thousand years are as one time, and one day, in the sight of the holy and blessed God, according to Pral. xc. 4. For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday;" and our doctors of blessed memory, said, “Gen. u. 17. for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die, is to be understood of the day of the holy and blessed that therefore the first man did not complete his day, (not arrive at his thousandth year :) that of that day he wanted seventy years." But this is far fetched, and savours of rabbinical dotage.
III. It will be far more useful.a little more accurately to examine what is here meant by the word death. And, first, it is most obvious, that by that term is denoted that bad disposition of the body, now unfit for the souls constant resis dence, and by which the soul is constrained to a separation from it. By this separation the good things of the body, which are unhappily doted on, the fruits of sin, and the sioner's ill-grounded hope, are snatched away at once. God-io timates this, Gen. in 19. still thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken for dust thou art, and unte dust shalt thou return. That is, thy body which was formed out of the earth shall return to ito principles, and be her duced to earth again, unto which by its nature it is resa les as being taken out of it. And the reason why it is actually to be resolvede unto' earth is, because it really is what God said, thou art dust, now corrupted with earthly desires, slave to a body prone to sin, and taken from dust In this sense Abraham confesses himself to be dust and ashes, Gen. xvii. 27. that is de mortal Fisiner. And David, eye, P ciü. 14. he knottieth drar frame, (called, Genari, el van roit frame, which passage Kimebi directs to be compared with
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(BOOK I. this.) he remberoth that we are dust, attached to the ground, and viciously inclined to the good things of the earth. From this consideration, the prophet attiphfies the mercy of God, in exercising it towards sinners, in whom he finds nothing to de serve his love. And by dust is clearly signified, Isa. Ixv. 25. the sinful body. * Where it is said of the serpent, the devil, now overcome by the kingdom of the Messiah, dust shall be his food, be shall only have the pleasure to destroy the body, and men of carnal dispositions. Whereas then, after Adam sinped, God condemned him to the death of the body for his sin, it is not to be doubted, but he also comprised this death in the commination. Unless we will' venture to affirm, that God has inflicted greater punishment on the sinner, than he threatened before the commission of sin. * IV. There is nothing so suprising but what may be de vised by a luxuriant fancy. There is a certain learned man, who, in the words of Moses above explained, can find an extraordinary promise, and even clearer and more pregnant with
consolation, than the prophecy concerning the seed of the woman. He thinks here is pointed out the period and boundary of toils; that the meaning is, till thori shalt return to this land, paradise, the state of happy souls, from which nnps, thou zast carried captive. For, thus Solomon mio op), captivated to death, and Jeremiah inps, Thy children carried unto captivity. And he thinks, that the opinions of the Jews concerning the gathering of the souls into paradise, has no other passage or foundation to support it. But this is no thing but the sally of a wanton imagination. Whereas, for our part, we take pleasure only in what is sound and sober, and yields satisfaction to the conscience. But' to return to our subject.
V. It is no ways strange, that the Socinians, whose prac. tice it is to wrest the scriptures, should contradict this truth, and deny that the death of the body is the punishment of sin. Their other perverse hypotheses make this necessary. Por, by denying this, they imagine they can more easily atiswer our arguments for original sin, taken from the death of infants, and for the satisfaction of the Lord Christ, from his death. And as they impiously deny the true Godhead of Christ, they allege as the most excellent sign of his fictitious divinity, that he was the first preacher, author, and bestower of immortality; but their blasphemies have been largely and solidly refuted by others. But I am sorry that any learned person of our own should deny, that by the death denounced, Gen. Ü. 17. the death of the body ought to be understood ;