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threatened death as a punishment to Adam in case of his disobedience; but it is a very important question, what kind of death was intended. There are three kinds of death mentioned in scripture: namely, death temporal, death spiritual, and death eternal. Though all these kinds of death have been actually inflicted upon some of mankind, yet there is no reason to believe that they were all threatened to Adam, in case he should eat of the forbidden fruit. I shall therefore only inquire which of these deaths God really threatened to the first man for his first offence.

1. It is not to be supposed that he threatened him with mere temporal death, or the dissolution of the connection between the soul and body. This was not a punishment equal to the demerit of sin, and therefore could not be the punishment which was threatened. No temporary punishment was adequate to the guilt of transgressing a law clothed with the highest authority in the universe. It is true, human laws threaten only temporal death for the highest crimes. This is because they cannot inflict a greater punishment, and because they do not mean to punish sin as it really deserves, but only as it is necessary to punish it, in order to preserve the peace and promote the good of civil society. Whereas it belongs to God, as the supreme Ruler, to punish sin according to its just desert. It would have been derogatory to God, to have threatened Adam with mere temporal death, for breaking his holy law which deserved eternal destruction. We must suppose, therefore, that he threatened to treat him according to his desert, which required a punishment far greater than the mere dissolution of the connection between soul and body. Besides, it is apparent that temporal death was not threatened until after he had sinned, repented, and was forgiven; and consequently it could not be the punishment contained in the first threatening.

2. The death which God threatened to Adam for eating the forbidden fruit was not spiritual death. By spiritual death is meant what is directly opposite to spiritual life. Accordingly, the scripture sets these two kinds of death in contrast. Paul tells the christians at Rome, “ To be carnally minded is death ; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” And he tells the believers at Ephesus, “ You hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins. — But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ.” John tells his christian brethren, “ We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.” Here spiritual death is set in direct contrast with spiritual life; and spiritual life is represented as consisting in holy love. He that has true love to christians has passed from spiritual death to spiritual life; and he that is destitute of true brotherly love, abides in spiritual death. If, then, spiritual life consists in holy love, spiritual death, which is directly the opposite of holy love, must consist in nothing but selfishness, which is the essence of all sin. It is just as certain that spiritual death consists in sinful exercises of heart, as that spiritual life consists in holy exercises of heart. This account of spiritual life and of spiritual death is agreeable to the great law of love, and to the whole current of scripture, as well as to the experience of both saints and sinners. Saints experience no other spiritual life than that which consists in benevolent and gracious exercises. And those who are spiritually dead enjoy natural and rational life, and experience no other death than that which consists in selfish and sinful exercises. This, it is conceived, is a just and complete description of spiritual death, in distinction from temporal and eternal death. Spiritual death is nothing more nor less than sin itself. Now can we suppose that when God said to Adam: In the day that thou eatest of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt surely die, he meant to threaten no other than spiritual death? Can we suppose that he threatened to punish him for his first transgression with the first transgression itself, which was the only thing for which he deserved to be punished ? It is impossible to conceive that his first sin could have been any punishment at all. It could not have been the punishment of any previous sin, for he had committed no sin before. It could not have been a punishment of itself, for he had deserved no punishment until after he had actually committed it. It could not have been a punishment for any future sin, for the threatening had respect to that first sin, and to that only. To suppose that God threatened Adam with only spiritual death, if he should eat of the forbidden fruit, is to suppose that his threatening had no meaning at all. For if Adam had eaten of the forbidden fruit, he would have died a spiritual death ; that is, become a sinner, if there had been no threatening at all. Supposing he had killed Eve, against which we find no threatening, would it not have been true that in the day he killed her, he would have died a spiritual death, or become a sinner? But in that case, would his becoming a sinner have been a punishment for his murder ? Sin and the punishment of sin cannot be the same, and therefore spiritual death could not have been the punishment which was threatened to Adam for eating the forbidden fruit. But if the death threatened to Adam was neither spiritual nor temporal death, then the ques. tion still returns, what death was it? In answer to this, I observe,

3. That it was eternal death, or everlasting punishment. The Assembly of divines say, “Sin deserves God's wrath and curse both in this life, and in that which is to come.” This is what Adam justly deserved for disobeying a divine prohibition clothed with infinite authority. It became the supreme Lawgiver to threaten everlasting punishment to the first transgressor of his holy law. Nor could he, consistently with his perfect rectitude, have threatened a punishment of less magnitude, or shorter duration. Surely sin was as great an evil in Adam, as in his posterity, and deserved as heavy a punishment. But we find that God has threatened eternal death, or everlasting punishment, to his posterity, for the least transgression of his holy law. It is written, “ Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” “ The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” “ The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God."

“ The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." This death, which is the wages of sin, and which is set in direct opposition to eternal life, must mean eternal death, or everlasting punishment. Our Saviour plainly taught that eternal death, or endless misery, is the proper punishment of sin. He said to the unbelieving Jews, “ If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” He said, " He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life ; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life.” He said, " He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” And he explained what he meant by these declarations, in the account he gave

of the

process of the last day. “ Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” “ Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." " And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal." Thus it appears that the death which is threatened to sinners, and which will be actually inflicted upon the finally impenitent as the proper wages of their sin, is eternal death, or everlasting punishment. And may we not hence conclude that the death threatened to Adam for his first transgression, was no other than eternal death, the only adequate punishment for the least violation of a divine law ?

I might now pass to the improvement of the subject, were it not proper to take notice of two or three objections, which are strenuously urged against the supposition that eternal death was the only death threatened to Adam in case of disobedience.

First, it is said that the death threatened could not have been either temporal, or eternal, but only spiritual death ; because it was to be inflicted on the very day of his transgression, and was actually inflicted on that day according to the very letter of the threatening. “ In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die." But he did not die either a temporal or eternal death on that day, and consequently it was only spiritual death which was threatened and inflicted.

It is readily granted that he did die a spiritual death, the very day and the very moment that he tasted of the forbidden fruit; but this was his sin, and not his punishment. His spiritual death, which consisted in a free, voluntary violation of the divine prohibition, was the very transgression for which he deserved the punishment of eternal death, the only proper and adequate wages of sin. It is absurd to suppose that the threatening was designed to point out the particular time of its being executed. This is never the design of the threatening annexed to any law, human or divine. All that any threatening implies is, that the moment the law is transgressed, the transgressor is liable to suffer the penalty threatened. The threatening to Adam was, in this respect, similar to Solomon's threatening to Shimei. “For it shall be that on the day thou goest out and passest over the brook Kidron, thou shalt know for certain that thou shalt surely die.” It is always a matter of wisdom or discretion, and not a matter of justice, when the punishment threatened for the violation of any law shall be inflicted. All that justice requires is, that the punishment threatened shall not exceed the demerit of the transgressor.

It was therefore a matter of wisdom or discretion, and not a matter of justice, whether Solomon should put Shimei to death the day he transgressed, or give him a space for reflection and repentance. And it was equally a matter of divine wisdom, and not of divine justice, whether God should execute the threatening to Adam on the very day he sinned, or nine hundred and thirty years afterward; or whether he should finally pardon and save him through the promised Mediator. There is not, therefore, the least ground to suppose that he did not threaten to punish him with eternal death, merely because he did not inflict that death upon him the very day that he partook of the forbidden fruit.

Secondly, it is said that a divine threatening always pledges the divine veracity; so that, whatever death God threatened to Adam, he was obliged to inflict it upon him, or violate the truth, which was morally impossible ; for God cannot lie. But he did not cause him to die either a temporal or eternal death the day he sinned, which proves that spiritual death was the only death threatened. Besides, if eternal death had been

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threatened, there could have been no room for a Mediator, but our first parents must have been for ever lost, and that without remedy.

It must be allowed that this reasoning is just and conclusive, if God does pledge his veracity to inflict the punishment which he threatens to the transgressors of his laws. But he never does pledge his veracity to inflict the punishment threatened in any law. There is a wide difference between a divine threatening, and a divine prediction and promise. God always pledges his veracity to fulfil a promise or prediction, and a threatening which implies a promise or prediction; but he never pledges his veracity to fulfil a bare threatening. A legal threatening is always a bare threatening, which implies neither a promise nor prediction. God sometimes predicts that the wicked shall be punished, and sometimes promises that they shall be punished. He predicted that the old world should be punished by the Flood; and in that prediction he pledged his veracity to destroy the ungodly, according to his prediction. God promised to destroy the Egyptians and Amorites, to prepare

for the seed of Abraham to return from the land of Egypt to the land of Canaan; and in that promise he pledged his veracity to destroy those enemies of his people. And whenever God predicts or promises to destroy the wicked in favor of the righteous, his predictions and promises pledge his veracity, and lay him under moral obligation to inflict the punishments predicted and promised. But there is a wide difference between his predicting or promising to punish the wicked, and his merely threatening to punish them; and the reason is, that in predicting or promising to punish the wicked, he expresses his design, intention and determination to punish them, according to the true import of his promise or prediction; whereas in a bare threatening he expresses his disposition, and not his design, intention, or determination, to punish. When he gives law to his creatures, he expresses his disposition to approve and reward them for obedience, and his disposition to disapprove and punish them for disobedience; but he does not express his design either to reward or to punish them. A lawgiver never expresses his design, in either the precept or penalty of his law; and consequently never pledges his veracity to reward the obedient, or to punish the disobedient. This appears from the single consideration that every lawgiver has a right to repeal the precept or to forgive the penalty of his own law. In the case of Abraham, God repealed the precept requiring him to sacrifice his son Isaac; and in the case of Balaam, he repealed the prohibition forbidding him to go with the messenger of Balak. "If then he has a right to repeal the



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