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unjust in God to inflict what punishment is deserved; because the very notion of deserving punishment is, that it may be justly inflicted: a deserved punishment and a just punishment are the same thing. To say that one deserves such a punishment, and yet to say that he does not justly deserve it, is a contradiction; and if he justly deserves it, then it may be justly inflicted.

Every crime or fault deserves a greater or less punishment, in proportion as the crime itself is greater or less. If any fault deserves punishment, then so much the greater the fault, so much the greater is the punishment deserved. The faulty nature of any thing is the formal ground and reason of its desert of punishment; and therefore the more any thing hath of this nature, the more punishment it deserves. And therefore the terribleness of the degree of punishment, let it be never so terrible, is no argument against the justice of it, if the proportion does but hold between the heinousness of the crime and the dreadfulness of the punishment; so that if there be any such thing as a fault infinitely heinous, it will follow that it is just to inflict a punishment for it that is infinitely dreadful.

A crime is more or less heinous, according as we are under greater or less obligations to the contrary. This is self-evident; because it is herein that the criminalness or faultiness of any thing consists, that it is contrary to what we are obliged or bound to, or what ought to be in us. So the faultiness of one being's hating another, is in proportion to his obligation to love him. The crime of one being's despising and casting contempt on another, is proportionably more or less heinous, as he was under greater or less obligations to honor him. The fault of disobeying another, is greater or less, as any one is under greater or less obligations to obey him. And therefore if there be any being that we are under infinite obligations to love, and honor and obey, the contrary towards him must be infinitely faulty.

Our obligations to love, honor, and obey any being, is in proportion to his loveliness, honorableness, and authority; for that is the very meaning of the words. When we say any one is very lovely, it is the same as to say, that he is one very much to be loved : or if we say such a one is more honorable than another, the meaning of the words is, that he is one that we are more obliged to honor. If we say any one has great authority over us, it is the same as to say, that he has great right to our subjection and obedience.

But God is a being infinitely lovely, because he hath infinite excellency and beauty. To have infinite excellency and beauty, is the same thing as to have infinite loveliness. He is a Being of infinite greatness, majesty, and glory; and therefore is infinitely honorable. He is infinitely exalted above the greatest potentates of the earth, and highest angels in heaven; and therefore is infinitely more honorable than they. His authority over us is infinite ; and the ground of his right to our obedience is infinitely strong: for he is infinitely worthy to be obeyed in himself, and we have an absolute, universal, and infinite dependence upon him.

So that sin against God, being a violation of infinite obligations, must be a crime infinitely heinous, and so deserving of infinite punishment.--Nothing is more agreeable to the common sense of mankind, ihan that sins committed against any one, must be heinous proportionably to the dignity of the being offended and abused; as it is also agreeable to the word of God: 1 Sam. ii. 25, “If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him;" (i. e., shall judge him, and inflict a finite punishment, such as finite judges can inflict ;)" but if a man sin against the Lord, who shall entreat for him ?" This was the aggravation of sin that made Joseph afraid of it: Gen. xxxix. 9, “ How shall I com

mit this great wickedness, and sin against God ?". This was the aggravation of David's sin, in comparison of which he esteemed all others as nothing, be cause they were infinitely exceeded by it. Psalm li. 4,“ Against thee, thee only have I sinned.”—The eternity of the punishment of ungodly men renders it in

finite ; and it renders it no more than infinite, and therefore no more than proporå tionable to the heinousness of what they are guilty. fa

If there be any evil or faultiness in sin against God, there is certainly infinite eril: for if it be any fault at all, it has an infinite aggravation, viz., that it is against an infinite object. If it be ever so small upon other accounts, yet if it be any thing, it has one infinite dimension; and so is an infinite evil. Which may be illustrated by this : if we suppose a thing to have infinite length, but no breadth and thickness, but to be only a mere mathematical line, it is nothing ; but if it have any breadth and thickness at all, though never so small, yet if it have but one infinite dimension, viz., that of length, the quantity of it is infinite; it exceeds the quantity of any thing, however broad, thick and long, wherein these dimensions are all finite.

So that the objections that are made against the infinite punishment of sin, from the necessity, or rather previous certainty of the futurition of sin, arising from the decree of God, or unavoidable original corruption of nature, if they argue any thing, do not argue against the infiniteness of the degree of the faultiness of sin directly, and no otherwise than they argue against any faultiness at all: for if this necessity or certainty leaves any evil

at all in sin, that fault must be infinite by reason of the infinite object.

- But every such objector as would argue from hence, that there is no fault at all in sin, confutes himself, and shows his own insincerity in bis objection. For at the same time that he objects, that men's acts are necessary, from God's decrees, and original sin, and that this kind of necessity is inconsistent with faultiness in the act, bis own practice shows that he does not believe what he objects to be true : otherwise why does he at all blame men? Or why are such persons at all displeased with men, for abusive, injurious, and ungrateful acts towards thein ?' Whatever they pretend, by this they show that indeed they do believe that there is no necessity in men's acts, from divine decrees, or corruption of nature, that is inconsistent with blame. And if their objection be this, that this previous certainty is by God's own ordering, and that where God orders an antecedent certainty of acts, he transfers all the fault from the actor on himself; their practice shows, that at the same time they do not believe this, but fully believe the contrary : for when they are abused by men, they are displeased with men, and not with God only.

The light of nature teaches all mankind, that when an injury is voluntary, it is faulty, without any manner of consideration of what there might be previously to determine the futurition of that evil act of the will. And it really teaches this as much to those that object and cavil most as to others; as their universal practice shows. By which it appears, that such objections are insincere and perverse. Men will mention others' corrupt nature in their own case, or when they are injured, as a thing that aggravates their

crime, and that wherein their faultiness partly consists. How common is it for persons, when they look on themselves greatly injured by another, to inveigh against him, and aggravate his baseness, by saying, “ He is a man of a most perverse spirit: he is naturally of a selfish, niggardly, or proud and baughty temper: he is one of a base and vile disposition.” And yet men's natural, corrupt dispositions are mentioned as an excuse for them, with respect to their sins against God, and as if they rendered them blameless.

2. That it is just with God eternally to cast off wicked men may more abundantly appear, if we consider how much sin they are guilty of. From what has been already said, it appears, that if men were guilty of sin but in one particular, that is sufficient ground of their eternal rejection and condemnation : if they are sinners, that is enough : merely this might be sufficient to keep them from ever lifting up their heads, and cause them to smite on their breasts, with the publican that cried “God be merciful to me a sinner.” But sinful men are not only thus, but they are full of sin; full of principles of sin, and full of acts of sin: their guilt is like great mountains, heaped one upon another, till the pile is grown up to heaven. They are totally corrupt, in esery part, in all their faculties, and all the principles of their nature, their understandings, and wills; and in all their dispositions and affections, their heads, their hearts, are totally depraved; all the members of their bodies are only instruments of sin; and all their senses, seeing, hearing, tasting, &c., are only inlets and outlets of sin, channels of corruption. There is nothing but sin, no good at all. Rom. vii. 18, “ In me, that is, in my flesh, dwells no good thing." There is all manner of wickedness. There are the seeds of the greatest and blackest crimes. There are principles of all sorts of wickedness against men ; and there is all wickedness against God. There is pride; there is enmity ; there is contempt; there is quarrelling; there is atheism; there is blasphemy. There are these things in exceeding strength; the heart is under the power of them, is sold under sin, and is a perfect slave to it. There is heardheartedness, hardness greater than that of a rock, or an adamant stone. There is obstinacy and perverseness, incorrigibleness and inflexibleness of sin, that will not be overcome by threatenings or proinises, by awakenings or encouragements

, by judgments or mercies, neither by that which is terrifying, nor that which is winning : the very blood of God will not win the heart of a wicked man. And there is actual wickedness without number or measure.

There are breaches of every cammand, in thought, word, and deed ; a life full of sin; days and nights filled up with sin ; mercies abused, and frowns despised; mercy and justice, and all the divine perfections, trampled on; and the honor of each person in the Trinity trod in the dirt. Now if one sinful word or thought has so much evil in it, as to deserve eternal destruction, how do they deserve to be eternally cast off and destroyed, that are guilty of so much sin !

II. If with man's sinfulness, we consider God's sovereignty, it may serve further to clear God's justice in the eternal rejection and condemnation of sinners, from men's cavils and objections. I shall not now pretend to determine precisely, what things are, and what things are not, proper acts and exercises of God's holy sovereignty; but only, that God's sovereignty extends to the following things.

1. That such is God's sovereign power and right, that he is originally under no obligation to keep men from sinning; but may in his providence permit and leave them to sin. He was not obliged to keep either angels or men from falling. It is unreasonable to suppose, that God should be obliged, if he makes a reasonable creature capable of knowing his will, and receiving a law from him, and being subject to his moral government, at the same time to make it impossible for him to sin, or break his law. For if God be obliged to this, it de stroys all use of any commands, laws, promises or threatenings, and the very notion of any moral government of God over those reasonable creatures. For to what purpose would it be, for God to give such and such laws, and declare his holy will to a creature, and annex promises and threatenings to move him to his duty, and make him careful to perform it, if the creature at the same

time has this to think of, that God is obliged to make it impossible for him to break his laws? How can God's threatenings move to care or watchfulness, when, at the same time, God is obliged to render it impossible that he should be exposed to the threatenings? Or, to what purpose is it for God to give a law at all ? For, according to this supposition, it is God, and not the creature, that is under the law. It is the lawgiver's care, and not the subject's, to see that his law is obeyed; and this care is what the lawgiver is absolutely obliged to. If God be obliged never to permit a creature to fall

, there is an end of all divine laws, or government, or authority of God over the creature; there can be no manner of use of these things.

God may permit sin, though the being of sin will certainly ensue on that permission : and so, by permission, he may dispose and order the event. If there were any such thing as chance, or mere contingence, and the very notion of it did not carry a gross absurdity (as might easily be shown that it does), it would have been very unfit, that God should have left it to mere chance, whether man should fall or no. For, chance, if there should be any such thing, is undesigning and blind. And certainly it is more fit that an event of so great importance, and that is attended with such an infinite train of great consequences, should be disposed and ordered by infinite wisdom, than that it should be left to blind chance.

If it be said, that God need not have interposed to render it impossible for man to sin, and yet not leave it to mere contingence or blind chance neither ; but might have left it with man's free will

, to determine whether to sin or no; I answer, if God did leave it to man's free will, without any sort of disposal, or ordering in the case, whence it should be previously certain how that free will should determine, then still that first determination of the will must be merely contingent or by chance. It could not have any antecedent act of the will to determine it; for I speak now of the very first act or motion of the will, respecting the affair that may be looked upon as the prime ground and highest source of the event. To suppose this to be determined by a foregoing act is a contradiction. God's disposing this determination of the will by his permission, does not at all infringe the liberty of the creature: it is in no respect any more inconsistent with liberty, than mere chance or contingence. For if the determination of the will be from blind, undesigning chance, it is no more from the agent himself

, or from the will itself, than if we suppose, in the case, a wise, divine disposal by permission.

2. It was fit that it should be at the ordering of the divine wisdom and good pleasure, whether every particular man should stand for himself, or whether the first father of mankind should be appointed as the moral and federalhead and representative of the rest. If God has not liberty in this matter to determine either of these two as be pleases, it must be because determining that the first father of men should represent the rest, and not that every one should stand for himself, is injurious to mankind. For if it be not injurious to mankind, how is it unjust? But it is not injurious to mankind; for there is nothing in the nature of the case itself, that makes it better for mankind that each man should stand for bimself, than that all should be represented by their common father ; as the least reflection or consideration will convince any one. And if there be nothing in the nature of the thing that makes the former better for mankind than the latter, then it will follow, that mankind are not hurt in God's choosing and appointing the latter, rather than the former ; or, which is the same thing, that it is not injurious to mankind.

3. When men are fallen, and become sinful, God by his sovereignty has a

right to determine about their redemption as he pleases. He has a right to determine whether he will redeem any or no. He might, if he had pleased, have left all to perish, or might have redeemed all. Or, he may redeem some, and leave others; and if he doth so, he may take whom he pleases, and leave whom he pleases. To suppose that all have forfeited his favor, and deserved to perish, and to suppose that he may not leave any one individual of them to perish, implies a contradiction; because it supposes that such a one has a claim to God's favor, and is not justly liable to perish ; which is contrary to the supposition.

It is meet that God should order all these things according to his own pleasure. By reason of his greatness and glory, by which he is infinitely above all, he is worthy to be sovereign, and that his pleasure should in all things take place: he is worthy that he should make himself his end, and that he should make nothing but his own wisdom his rule in pursuing that end, without asking leave or counsel of any, and without giving any account of any of his matters. It is fit that he that is absolutely perfect, and infinitely wise, and the fountain of all wisdom, should determine every thing by his own will, even things of the greatest importance, such as the eternal salvation or damnation of sinners. It is meet that he should be thus sovereign, because he is the first being, the eternal being, whence all other beings are. He is the Creator of all things ; and all are absolutely and universally dependent on him; and therefore it is meet that he should act as the sovereign possessor of heaven and earth.

APPLICATION.

In the improvement of this doctrine, I would first direct myself to sinners that are afraid of damnation, in a use of conviction. This may be matter of conviction to you, that it would be just and righteous with God eternally to reject and destroy you. This is what you are in danger of: you that are a Christless sinner are a poor condemned creature: God's wrath still abides upon you ; and the sentence of condemnation lies upon you : you are in God's hands, and it is uncertain what he will do with you. You are afraid what will become of you: you are afraid that it will be your portion to suffer eternal burnings; and your fears are not without grounds; you have reason to tremble every moment. But let you be never so much afraid of it, let eternal damnation be never so dreadful, yet it is just: God may nevertheless do it, and be righteous, and holy, and glorious in it. Though eternal damnation be what you cannot bear, and how much soever your heart shrinks at the thoughts of it, yet God's justice may be glorious in it. The dreadfulness of the thing on your part, and the greatness of your dread of it, do not render it the less righteous on God's part. If you think otherwise, it is a sign that you do not see yourself, that you are not sensible what sin is, nor how much of it you have been guilty of.

Therefore for your conviction, be directed,

First, To look over your past life: inquire at the mouth of conscience, and hear what that has to testify concerning it. Consider what you are, what light you have had, and what means you have lived under ; and yet how have you behaved yourself! What have those many days and nights, that you have lived, been filled up with ? How have those years, that have rolled over your heads, one after another, been spent? What has the sun shone upon you for, from day to day, while you have improved his light to serve Satan by it? What has God kept your breath in your nostrils for, and given you meat and drink, from day to day for, that you have spent that life and strength that have been supported by them, in opposing God and rebellion against him?

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