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which we have attained, is an abfolute fecurity, that we shall be for the future ftedfaft and unmoveable. New, or fudden Trials, ftronger than any we have hitherto met with, may shake and stagger the stability of our minds. Let no man imagine, that his former victories will exempt him from a poffibility of falling. It is the will of God, that every man, the beft of men, in this State, fhould be under a conftant neceffity of watching. Wherefore, let us take unto ourselves the whole armour of God, that we may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done, or overcome, all to ftand. Eph. vi. 13.
XIV. All Trial is attended with danger. And therefore some, if not many, in a State of Trial, may fall into perdition. As wicked angels and men.
XV. Our danger is not from God, but from ourselves. God tempteth, or feduceth into fin, no man, Jam. i. 13, 14, 15, for this very good reason, because he cannot himself be tempted with evil, fuch is his abhorrence and deteftation of it; and therefore cannot be inclined to draw any of his creatures into the practice of it. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away from righteousness by his own luft, and enticed to commit fin.
XVI. All temptation is vincible to thofe that are willing to overcome. See Prop. VI. All the admonitions, exhortations, encouragements in Scripture, suppose and support the truth of this propofition.
XVII. We are victorious over temptation, not by our own power, but by the grace and power of God. Even when the fpirit is willing, the flesh is weak. Mark xiv. 38. We are indeed under the highest obligations to ufe faithfully the powers we have already received, and no otherwise may we hope to be fuperior to temptation; but it is not our own wifdom or strength that can preferve and uphold us; for we are directed in revelation to truft in God, and to feek unto him for fuccor and deliverance, which would be impertinent were we fufficient to ourselves. Why fhould we ask help, when we do not want it? God alone is able to keep us from falling, and to ftablish us in every good work. Jude 24. 2 Theff. ii. 16, 17. And we are abundantly affured, that he will give ftrength in proportion to our Trials, and our faithful endeavors; and that our future honors will be great in proportion to the prefent greater Trials we have furmounted. If we have overcome much, we shall enjoy much. For, obferve, the fuccors of Divine Grace do not diminish the quantity of our virtue, or reward. Whatever helps our infirmity may require, our virtue is measured by our own fincere defires and endeavors, to which the Divine Aid is proportioned. So that, in moral conftruction, it is all one as if we had overcome in our own ftrength.
XVIII. The means of conquering Temptation, on our part, are Watching and Prayer. Mark xiv. 38. Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation. (1.) Watch. Be not fecure; expect temptation, and be fenfible of the danger of it, the greatest of all dangers, the lofs of the foul. Be not confident of your own ftrength. Keep out of the way of tempta tion. Avoid every fnare that may intangle your minds. Indulge to no dangerous liberties; make no uncautious approaches towards folly and fin. That may be effected by flow degrees, which a man would never
at first have consented to be guilty of. He that fears falling down a precipice will be fure not to come near it; and he that would extinguish the fire, fhould withdraw the fuel. Keep thy heart with all diligence; reject every finful thought and fuggeftion. Keep the body in fubjection to reafon and religion by felf-denial and abftinence. Beware of an undue attachment to the world. Your life and treasure is in heaven; and there let your hearts be. Let the word of God dwell in you richly by daily meditation. Pfal. cxix. 11. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not fin against thee. (2.) Pray. Not that we may be totally exempted from temptation; for we came into the world for this very end, that we might be tried and tempted. We cannot reasonably expect that God, in our favor, fhould alter the conftitution of the world, or of the human nature; but we fhould pray, that God would order our Trials in fuch manner, as will beft promote the purity, and probity of our lives. Prov. xxx. 8, 9. Remove far from me vanity and lies; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me, &c. The wife man doth not prescribe any condition; that did not belong to him; but, in general, is defirous of that fituation in life, which God faw would be most favorable to his piety and integrity. Lead us not, fuffer us not to enter, into temptation, i. e. fuffer us not to fall under the power and prevalence of temptation. The example of our Lord is of the greatest force to direct and animate us in our conflicts; he took upon him our nature, and went through all our Trials, on purpose to shew us how to behave under them; and to affure us that, imitating his example, we shall at length be partakers of his glory. And thus by his perfect obedience, his obedience unto death, a facrifice highly pleafing to God, he recovered that life and immortality, which Adam forfeited by his difobedience.
Of Law, or the religious DISPENSATION, ADAM and EVE were under in the GARDEN.
CEN. ii. 17. But of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, G thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eateft thereof, thou xx fhalt furely die. This is Law; clear ideas of which are neceffary to the right understanding of St. Paul's writings.
Law is a rule of action, or duty, commanding or prohibiting, given by the Sovereign to moral Agents, with the penalty of death annexed. Tranfgrefs and die, is the language of Law. And therefore every tranfgreffor, the moment he is fuch, is dead in law; and, for any thing in Law, he must continue so as long as it is true, that he has violated the Law, that is, for evermore. For the Law, which condemns him, can give him no relief; as, in its own nature, it excludes repentance and pardon; nei
ther of which can take place, unless Law is overruled, or the execution of it suspended by the authority and favor of the Sovereign. For Law would not be Law if its fenfe or language were this, the tranfgreffor, who doth not repent and obtain pardon, shall die. Seeing this would be to allow tranfgreffion by Law, upon the uncertain conditions of repentance, and the Sovereign's mercy. "You may fin with impunity, if you do but "repent, and find favor." And fo the Law would be invalidated by itself, as it would allow a conditional tranfgreffion, which would annul the annexed penalty, by fufpending the execution of it forever, in expectation of the finner's repentance, and the Sovereign's forgiveness. For, as the finner may poffibly repent in any future time to all eternity, fo the Law could not at any time be executed. Confequently the Law, by this means, would be rendered for ever infignificant, as it might be violated for ever with impunity. Therefore, to be confiftent with itself, Law must be conceived in abfolute terms, fin and die, fubjecting every finner immediately to the penalty of death, which is the curfe of the Law. Gal. iii. 10, 13. By this rule the Apoftle, having proved that all flesh have fined, concludes, that no flesh, or no part of mankind, can be juftified, or intitled to life, before the Sovereign, by deeds or works of Law. Rom. iii. 20. For the Law works wrath, or fubjects the tranfgreffor to death, the curfe or penalty of it, Rom. iv. 15. On which account it is very properly called, the miniftration, difpenfation, or conftitution, of death, 2 Cor. iii. 7. as it is a conftitution which affords nothing but rigid condemnation for all tranfgreffors.
Hence it follows, that death in Law is death eternal, without hopes of a revival or refurrection. For, as before proved, it is the very nature of Law, never to remit the penalty or forfeiture. The Law, which now condemns the criminal, condemns him to death abfolutely, and for evermore; the everlasting language of Law to every one that breaks it, and for every breach and tranfgreffion, being this, Thou shalt die. And this is the force of the expreffioni moriendo morieris, “in "dying thou shalt die," in the Law given to Adam. It doth not speak of the certainty of the event, as if he should certainly die the day he tranfgreffed; for the event fhews the contrary; nor that he should become mortal from a change in his conftitution, which is a random conjecture, without any foundation in the nature of his conftitution, which was created mortal, or in the force of the words. For the phrafe
is an Hebraism, importing that a thing is, or is done, thoroughly, totally, in the most perfect manner, or the most intense degree, and is to be interpreted according to the nature of the fubject. As Gen. ii. 16. S S comedendo comedes," thou mayeft freely eat" without any restraint. Chap. xxxvii. 33. difcerpendo difcerptus est Jofeph, "Jofeph is torn all to pieces," or most cruelly torn to pieces. Exod. xxi. 19. NET N et medicando medicabitur, and shalt cause him Thus the force of the words, " in dying "thou fhalt die," is this, thou shalt thoroughly, utterly, totally die,
to be thoroughly healed.
or die for ever, without coming to life again. Thou haft justly forfeited thy life and being, and fhalt fuffer a total and eternal extinction of it.
This fenfe and language of Law muft be understood only as a declaration, that the penalty is juft and due; which is all that can be done by Law as a rule of juftice, declaring, in general, that he who is difobedient to his Maker hath justly forfeited his being; and that, in confequence of his difobedience, his Maker may juftly deprive him of it. The Law can only declare the truth of this denunciation, as it hath no power to put it in execution; the execution of this threatening must neceffarily and entirely reft in the hands and power of the Lawgiver; who therefore may mitigate, respite, or fufpend it, as he, judging of circumftances, fhall in his wisdom think proper. This is the prerogative of the Sovereign or Lawgiver, which is allowed to be fit and reasonable all the world over. For if this were not allowed, in proper cafes, there could be no fuch thing as pardon, or the mitigation of the fentence of Law, either with God or man. Which in every nation, and throughout the whole universe, would be a ftate of things the most severe and the moft dreadful.
Thus room is made for the exercife of favor or grace, without doing any violence to truth. The penalty indeed is due, but according to the true natures of things, there may be alleviating circumftances in the cafe of the tranfgreffor, which, though Law can make no provision for them without destroying itself, yet the Lawgiver may, and, in reafon and truth, ought to confider and allow with refpect to the infliction of the penalty. Wisdom and goodness ought to have place in him, and certainly do take place in God, as well as justice. Juftice confifts in executing the penalty of the Law according to the letter of it; which letter (2 Cor. iii. 6.) killeth, or destroys, the finner, by fubjecting him to eternal death, or to a total extinction of life; according to which rule, there could be no place for mercy, and the whole world must be ruined. But wisdom and goodness may mitigate the rigor of this conftitution, not by abrogating the Law, as a rule of life; for fo the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy, just, and good, (Rom. vii. 12.) and can never be abrogated, being, in its general intention, agreable to the everlasting and immutable natures of things. Much lefs by finding out fome expedient to fatisfy Law and justice; which can be fatisfied no other way than by the death of the offender. For juftice, as used in this cafe, is acting ftrictly according to Law.
Nothing, therefore, but the execution of the Law can fatisfy Justice. The wisdom and goodness of the Sovereign may do what the Law cannot do; that is to fay, may fufpend the execution of the fentence as long as he shall think fit; and fo may leave what space he pleases for the finner's repentance, and provide what means he shall think proper to induce him to repentance; and his upon reftore him to the repentance, may affurance of eternal life, by an eternal fufpenfion of the execution of the Law. For as to that, he cannot be limited to any space of time. If he hath a right by prerogative to fufpend at all, it must be a discretionary right to suspend as long as he choofeth. This is grace, or gofpel; by which the finner may be reftored to the hope of immortality, and actu
ally invefted in it, by the wifdom and favor of the Lawgiver. This new, or remedying conftitution, the Apostle calls fpirit, which quickens the finner condemned to death by the letter of the Law, or makes him to live. 2 Cor. iii. 6. Who alfo hath made us [Apostles] able minifters of the New Teftament [or conftitution] not of the letter but of the fpirit; for the letter kills, but the fpirit giveth life. Which fpirit, he informs us, ver. 17, is the Lord, or the Gofpel of our Lord. Now the Lord is that fpirit, that life-giving fpirit, or the latter Adam, who is a quickening, or life-giving, fpirit, 1 Cor. xv. 45.
That the penalty, in the day that thou eateft thereof, thou shalt furely, or utterly die, is to be understood, not of the event, as if he fhould certainly die, but of the demerit of tranfgreffion, that he would deserve to die; and that, notwithstanding this threatning, the Sovereign might refpite the execution of it, and not only allow the tranfgreffor the benefit of repentance, but also appoint means to lead him to repentance, and to eternal life, may be clearly proved from Ezek. iii. 18. xxxiii. 8, 11, 14, 15. Where God repeats the very fame fentence of the Law upon the wicked perfon, whom yet, at the fame time, he charges the Prophet to warn, in order to bring him to repentance, promifing pardon and life in cafe he did repent. Ezek. iii. 18. When [ in dicendo me, whereas] I fay [in the Law] unto the wicked thou shalt furely die; and thou giveft him not warning, nor fpeakeft to warn the wicked from his wicked way to fave his life. Chap. xxxiii. 8. When [whereas] Ifay [in the Law] unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt furely [utterly] die, if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, &c. Ver. 14. Again, when [whereas] Ifay [in the Law] unto the wicked, thou fhalt furely [totally] die; if he turn from his fin, and do that which is lawful and right, ver. 15. — ' vivendo vivet, he shall furely [totally, eternally] live, he shall not die.
חיו וחיה יָמוּת
Thus Law in the rigorous fenfe is to be understood; and thus it stands in connection with the pardon of tranfgreffors, or their attainment to eternal life through the favor of the Lawgiver. That our firft parents, while in the garden of Eden, were under Law, or a rule of Action with the penalty of death annexed, is manifeft from the very form of the prohibition But of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day thou eateft thereof thou shalt utterly die. And the Apoftle Paul evidently fuppofes, that Adam was under Law, Rom. v. 13,
For until the law [of Mofes] fin was [committed] in the world; but fin [though committed] is not imputed [unto death] un ortos vous when Law is not in being. This fuppofes, 1. That Law is the only conftitution which fubjecteth the finner to death. 2. That Law was not in being in the times preceding the giving of the Law of Moses. ver. 14. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Mofes [while Law was not in being] even over them that had not fined after the likeness of Adam's tranfgreffion. That is to fay, "Death reigned all the long space of about 2500 "years from Adam to Mofes, even over those who did not fin, as Adam "did, against Law, making death the penalty of their fin; because du"ring that period, mankind were not under Law, but under the general "covenant,