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tion to punishment. It is natural to expect that which conscience or reason tells them it is suitable should come; and therefore they are afraid and jealous, and ready to flee when no man pursues.
Seeing therefore it is requisite that sin should be punished, as punishment is deserved and just; therefore the justice of God obliges him to punish sin. For it belongs to God, as the Supreme Ruler of the universality of things, to maintain order and decorum in his kingdom, and to see to it that decency and righteousness take place in all cases. That perfection of his nature whereby be is disposed to this, is his justice: therefore his justice naturally disposes him to punish sin as it deserves.
2. The holiness of God, which is the infinite opposition of his nature to sin, naturally and necessarily disposes bim to punish sin. Indeed his justice is part of his holiness. But when we speak of God's justice inclining him to punish sin, we have respect only to that exercise of his holiness whereby he loves that holy and beautiful order that consists in the connexion of one thing with another, according to their nature, and so between sin and punishment; and his opposition to that which would be so unsuitable as a disconnexion of these things. But now I speak of the holiness of God as appearing not directly and immediately in bis hatred of an unsuitable, hateful disconnexion between sin and that which is proper for it; but in his hatred of sin itself, or the opposition of his nature to the odious nature of sin.
If God's nature be infinitely opposite to sin, then doubtless he has a disposition answerable to oppose it in his acts and works. If, he by his nature be an enemy to sin with an infinite enmity, then he is doubtless disposed to act as an enemy to it, or to do the part of an enemy to it. And if he be disposed naturally to do the part of an enemy against sin, or, which is the same thing, against the faultiness or blameworthiness of moral agents; then it will follow, he is naturally disposed to act as an enemy to those that are the persons faulty and blameworthy, or are chargeable with the guilt of it, as being the persons faulty. Indignation is the proper exercise of hatred of any thing as a fault or thing blameable; and there could be no such thing either in the Creator or creature, as batred of a fault without indignation, unless it be conceived or hoped that the fault is suffered for, and so the indignation be satisfied. Whoever finds a hatred to a fault, and at the same time imputes the fault to him that committed it, he therein feels an indignation against him for it. So that God, by his necessary infinite hatred of sin, is necessarily disposed to punish it with a punishment answerable to his hatred.
It does not become the Sovereign of the world, a being of infinite glory, purity, and beauty, to suffer such a thing as sin, an infinitely uncomely disorder, an infinitely detestable pollution, to appear in the world subject to his government, without his making an opposition to it, or giving some public manifestations and tokens of his infinite abhorrence of it. If he should so do, it would be countenancing it, which God cannot do; for “he is of purer eyes than to bebold evil, and cannot look on iniquity;" Hab. i. 13. It is natural in such a case to expect tokens of the utmost opposition. If we could behold the infinite Fountain of purity and holiness, and could see what an infinitely pure flame it is, and with what a pure brightness it shines, so that the heavens appear impure when compared with it; and then should behold some infinitely odious and detestable filthiness brought and set in its presence: would it not be natural to expect some ineffably vebement opposition made to it? and would not the want of it be indecent and shocking ?
If it be to God's glory that he is in his nature infinitely holy and opposite to sin; then it is to his glory to be infinitely displeased with sin. And if it be to God's glory to be infinitely displeased with sin; then it must be to his glory to exercise and manifest that displeasure, and to act accordingly. But the proper exercise and testimony of displeasure against sin, in the Supreme Being and absolute Governor of the world, is taking vengeance. Men may show their hatred of sin by lamenting it, and mourning for it, and taking great pains, and undergoing great difficulties to prevent or remove it, or by approving God's vengeance for it. Taking vengeance is not the proper way of fellowsubjects, hatred of sin; but it is in the Supreme Lord and Judge of the world, to whom vengeance belongs; because he has the ordering and government of all things, and therefore the suffering of sin to go unpunished would in him be a conniving at it. Taking vengeance is as much the proper manifestation of God's displeasure at sin, as a mighty work is the proper manifestation of his power, or as a wise work is the proper manifestation of his wisdom. There may be other testimonies of God's displeasedness with and abhorrence of sin, without testifying his displeasure in condign punishment. He might declare he has such a displeasure and abhorrence. So there might be other testimonies of God's power and wisdom, besides a powerful wise effect. He might have declared himself to be infinitely wise and powerful. But yet there would have been wanting the proper manifestations of God's power and wisdom, if God had only declared himself to be possessed of these attributes. The creatures might have believed him to be all-wise and almighty; but by seeing his mighty and wise works, they see his power and wisdom. So if there had been only a declaration of God's abhorrence and displeasure against sin, the creature might have believed it, but could not have seen it, unless he should also take vengeance for it.
3. The honour of the greatness, excellency, and majesty of God's being, requires that sin be punished with an infinite punishment. Hitherto I have spoken of the requisiteness of God's punishing sin, on account of the demerit and hatefulness of it absolutely considered, and not directly as God is interested in the affair. But now, if we consider sin as levelled against God, not only compensative justice to the sinner, but justice to himself, requires that God should punish sin with infinite punishment. Sin casts contempt on the majesty and greatness of God. The language of it is, that he is a despicable being, not worthy to be honoured or feared; not so great, that his displeasure is worthy to be dreaded; and that his threatenings of wrath are despicable. Now, the proper vindication or desence of God's majesty in such a case, is, for God to contradict this language of sin, in his providence towards sin that speaks this language, or to contradict the language of sin in the event and fruit of sin. Sin says, God is a despicable being, and not worthy that the sinner should fear him; and so affronts him without fear. The proper vindication of God's majesty from this is, for God to show, by the event, that he is worthy that the sinner should regard him and fear him, by his appearing in the fearful, dreadful event to the person guilty, that he is an infinitely fearful and terrible being. The language of sin is, that God's displeasure is not worthy that the sinner should regard it. The proper vindication of God from this language is, to show, by the experience of the event, the infinite dreadfulness of that slighted displeasure. In such a case, the majesty of God requires this vindication. It cannot be properly vindicated without it, neither can God be just to himself without this vindication; unless there could be such a thing as a repentance, humiliation, and sorrow for this, proportionable to the greatness of the majesty despised. When the majesty of God has such contempt cast upon it, and is trodden down in the dust by vile sinners, it is not fit that this infinite and glorious majesty should be left under this contempt; but that it should be vindicated wholly from it; that it should be raised perfectly from the dust wherein it is trodden, by something opposite to the contempt, which is equivalent to it, or of weight sufficient to balance it; either an equivalent punishment, or an equivalent sorrow and repentance. So that sin must be punished with an infinite punishment.
Sin casts contempt on the infinite glory and excellency of God. The language of it is, that God is not an excellent being, but an odious one; and therefore, that it is no heinous thing to hate him. Now, it is fit that on this occasion omniscience should declare and manifest that it judges otherwise; and that it should show that it esteems God infinitely excellent; and therefore, that it looks on it as an infinitely heinous thing, to cast such a reflection on God, by infinite tokens of resentment of such a reflection and such hatred.
God is to be considered, in this affair, not merely as the Governor of a world of creatures, to order things between one creature and another, but as the Supreme Regulator and Rector of the universe, the Orderer of things relating to the whole compass of existence, including himself; to maintain the rights of the whole,
and decorum through the whole, and to maintain his own rights, and the due honour of his own perfections, as well as to preserve justice among his creatures. It is fit that there should be one that has this office; and this office properly belongs to the Supreme Being. And if he should fail of doing justice to himself in a necessary vindication of bis own majesty and glory, it would be an immensely greater failure of his rectoral justice, than if he should deprive the creatures (that are beings of infinitely less consequence) of their right.
4. There is a necessity of sin's being punished with a condign punishment, from the law of God that threatens such punishment. All but Epicureans will own, that all creatures that are moral agents, are subjects of God's moral government; and that there fore he has given a law to his creatures. But if God has given a law to his creatures, that law must have sanctions, i. e. it must be enforced with threatenings of punishment : otherwise it fails of having the nature of a law, and is only of the nature of counsel or advice; or rather of a request. For one being to express his inclination or will to another, concerning any thing he would receive from him, any love or respect, without any threatening annexed, but leaving it with the person applied to, whether he will afford it or not, whether he will grant it or not, supposing that his refusal will be with impunity; is properly of the nature of a request. It does not amount to counsel or advice; because, when we give counsel to others, it is for their interest. But when we express our desire or will of something we would receive from them, with impunity to them whether they grant it or not, this is more properly requesting than counselling. No doubt it falls far short of the nature of lawgiving. For such an expression of one's will as this, is an expression of will, without any expression of authority. It holds forth no authority, for us merely to manifest our wills or inclinations to another; nor indeed does it exhibit any authority over a person applied to, to promise him rewards. So persons may, and often do promise rewards to others, for doing those things that they have no power to oblige them to. persons do to their equals : So may a king do to others who are not his subjects. This is rather bargaining with others, than giving them laws.
That expression of will only is a law, which is exhibited in such a manner as to express the lawgiver's power over the person to whom it is manifested, expressing his power of disposal of him, according as he complies or refuses; that which shows power over him, so as to oblige him to comply, or to make it be to his cost if he refuses.
For the same reason that it is necessary the divine law should have a threatening of condign punishment annexed, it is also neces sary that the threatening should be fulfilled. For the threatening wholly relates to the execution. If it had no connexion with
execution, it would be wholly void, and would be as no threatening: and so far as there is not a connexion with execution, whether that be in a greater or lesser degree; so far and in such a degree is it void, and so far approaches to the nature of no threatening, as much as if that degree of unconnexion was expressed in the threatening. As for instance, if sin fails of threatened punishment half the times, this makes void the threatening in one half of it, and brings it down to be no more than if the threatening had expressed only so much, that sin should be punished half the times that it is committed.
But if it be needful that all sin in every act should be forbidden by law, i, e. with a prohibition and threatening of condign punishment annexed, and that the threatening of sin with condign punishment should be universal; then it is necessary that it should be universally executed. A threatening of an omniscient and true being can be supposed to signify no more punishment than is intended to be executed, and is not necessarily to be understood of any more. A threatening, if it signifies any thing, is a signification of some connexion betwixt the crime and the punishment. But the threatening of an omniscient being, cannot be understood to signify any more connexion with punishment than there is.
If it be needful that there should be a divine law, it is needful that this divine law should be maintained in the nature, life, authority, and strength that is proper to it as a law. life, authority, and strength of every law, consists in its sanction, by which the deed is connected with the compensation; and therefore depends on the strength and firmness of that connexion. In proportion as that connexion is weak, in such proportion does the law lose its strength, and fails of the proper nature and power of a law, and degenerates towards the nature of requests and expressions of will and desire to receive love and respect, without being enforced with authority.
Dispensing with the law by the lawgiver, so as not to fulfil it or execute it, in its nature does not differ from an abrogation of it, unless the law contains in itself such a clause, that it shall or may be dispensed with, and not fulfilled in certain cases, or when the lawgiver pleases.
But this would be a contradiction. For, if the law contained such a clause; then, not to fulfil it, would be according to the law, and a fulfilment of the law; and therefore there would be no dispensing with the law in it, because it is doing what the law itself directs to. The law may contain clauses of exception, wherein particular cases may be excepted from general rules; but it cannot make provision for a dispensation. And therefore, for the lawgiver to dispense with it, is indeed to abrogate it. Though it may not be an abrogating it wholly, yet it is in some measure changing it. To dispense with the law, in not fulfilling it on him