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he injure them when he takes it from them. Had he taken from mankind any thing that was their right, or did he put men in a state of misery, worse than not being, without any fault or demerit of their own; this, indeed, would be hard to reconcile with the notion we have of justice; and much more with the goodness, and other attributes of the Supreme Being, which he has declared of himself; and reason, as well as revelation, must acknowledge to be in him; unless we will confound good and evil, God and Satan. That such a state of extreme, irremediable torment is worse than no being at all; if every one's own sense did not determine against the vain philosophy and foolish metaphysics of some men; yet our Saviour's peremptory decision, Matt. xxvi. 24, has put it past doubt, that one may be in such an estate, that it had been better for him not to have been born. But that such a temporary life as we now have, with all its frailties and ordinary miseries, is better than no being, is evident, by the high value we put upon it ourselves. And therefore, though all die in Adam, yet none are truly punished, but for their own deeds. Rom. ii. 6, "God will render to every one," How? "According to his deeds. those that obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doth evil." ver. 9. 2 Cor. v. 10, "We must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he has done, whether it be good or bad." And Christ himself, who knew for what he should condemn men at the last day, assures us, in the two places, where he describes his proceeding at the great judgment, that the sentence of condemnation passes only upon the workers of iniquity, such as neglected to fulfil the law in acts of charity, Matt. vii. 23. Luke xiii. 27. Matt. xxv. 41, 42, &c. And again, John v. 29, our Saviour tells the Jews, that all "shall come forth of their graves, they that have done good, to the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." But here is no condemnation of any one, for what his
forefather Adam had done; which it is not likely should have been omitted, if that should have been a cause, why any one was adjudged to the fire, with the devil and his angels. And he tells his disciples, that when he comes again with his angels, in the glory of his Father, that then he will render to every one according to his works, Matt. xvi. 27.
Adam being thus turned out of paradise, and all his posterity born out of it, the consequence of it was, that all men should die, and remain under death for ever, and so be utterly lost.
From this estate of death, Jesus Christ restores all mankind to life; 1 Cor. xv. 22, "As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive." How this shall be, the same apostle tells us in the foregoing verse 21, "By man death came, by man also came the resurrection from the dead." Whereby it appears, that the life, which Jesus Christ restores to all men, is that life, which they receive again at the resurrection. Then they recover from death, which otherwise all mankind should have continued under, lost for ever; as appears by St. Paul's arguing, 1 Cor. xv. concerning the resurrection.
And thus men are, by the second Adam, restored to life again; that so by Adam's sin they may none of them lose any thing, which by their own righteousness they might have a title to: for righteousness, or an exact obedience to the law, seems, by the Scripture, to have a claim of right to eternal life, Rom. iv. 4, "To him that worketh," i. e. does the works of the law, "is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt." And Rev. xxii. 14, "Blessed are they who do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God." If any of the posterity of Adam were just, they shall not lose the reward of it, eternal life and bliss, by being his mortal issue: Christ will bring them all to life again; and then they shall be put every one upon his own trial, and receive judgment, as he is found to be righteous, or not. And the righteous, as our Saviour says, Matt. xxv. 46, shall go into eternal life. Nor shall any one miss it, who has done what our Saviour directed the lawyer, who asked,
Luke x. 25, What he should do to inherit eternal life? "Do this," i. e. what is required by the law, " and thou shalt live."
On the other side, it seems the unalterable purpose of the divine justice, that no unrighteous person, no one that is guilty of any breach of the law, should be in paradise: but that the wages of sin should be to every man, as it was to Adam, an exclusion of him out of that happy state of immortality, and bring death upon him. him. And this is so conformable to the eternal and established law of right and wrong, that it is spoken of too, as if it could not be otherwise. St. James says, chap. i. 15, “Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death," as it were by a natural and necessary production. "Sin entered into the world, and death by sin," says St. Paul, Rom. v. 12; and vi. 23, "The wages of sin is death." Death is the purchase of any, of every sin. Gal. iii. 10, "Cursed is every one, who continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them." And of this St. James gives a reason, chap. ii. 10, 11, "Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all: for he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill:" i. e. he that offends in any one point, sins against the authority which established the law.
Here then we have the standing and fixed measures of life and death. Immortality and bliss belong to the righteous; those who have lived in an exact conformity to the law of God, are out of the reach of death; but an exclusion from paradise and loss of immortality is the portion of sinners; of all those, who have any way broke that law, and failed of a complete obedience to it, by the guilt of any one transgression. And thus mankind by the law, are put upon the issues of life or death, as they are righteous or unrighteous, just or unjust ; i. e. exact performers or transgressors of the law.
But yet, "All having sinned," Rom. iii. 23, "and come short of the glory of God," i. e. the kingdom of God in heaven (which is often called his glory) "both Jews and Gentiles;" ver. 22, so that, "by the
deeds of the law," no one could be justified, ver. 20, it follows, that no one could then have eternal life and bliss.
Perhaps it will be demanded, "Why did God give so hard a law to mankind, that, to the apostle's time, no one of Adam's issue had kept it? As appears by Rom. iii. and Gal. iii. 21, 22."
Answ. It was such a law as the purity of God's nature required, and must be the law of such a creature as man; unless God would have made him a rational creature, and not required him to have lived by the law of reason; but would have countenanced in him irregularity and disobedience to that light which he had, and that rule which was suitable to his nature; which would have been to have authorised disorder, confusion, and wickedness in his creatures: for that this law was the law of reason, or, as it is called, of nature, we shall see by and by; and if rational creatures will not live up to the rule of their reason, who shall excuse them? If you will admit them to forsake reason in one point, why not in another? Where will you stop? To disobey God in any part of his commands (and it is he that commands what reason does) is direct rebellion; which, if dispensed with in any point, government and order are at an end; and there can be no bounds set to the lawless exorbitancy of unconfined man. The law therefore was, as St. Paul tells us, Rom. vii. 12, "holy, just, and good," and such as it ought and could not otherwise be.
This then being the case, that whoever is guilty of any sin should certainly die, and cease to be; the benefit of life, restored by Christ at the resurrection, would have been no great advantage (for as much as, here again, death must have seized upon all mankind, because all had sinned; for the wages of sin is everywhere death, as well after as before the resurrection) if God had not found out a way to justify some, i. e. so many as obeyed another law, which God gave; which in the New Testament is called "the law of faith," Rom. iii. 27, and is opposed to "the law of works."
And therefore the punishment of those, who would not follow him, was to lose their souls, i. e. their lives, Mark viii. 35-38, as is plain, considering the occasion it was spoke on.
The better to understand the law of faith, it will be convenient, in the first place, to consider the law of works. The law of works then, in short, is that law which requires perfect obedience, without any remission or abatement; so that, by that law, a man cannot be just, or justified, without an exact performance of every tittle. Such a perfect obedience, in the New Testament, is termed dixi, which we translate righteousness.
The language of this law is, " "Do this and live, transgress and die." Lev. xviii. 5, "Ye shall keep my statutes and my judgments, which if a man do, he shall live in them.' Ezek. xx. 11, "I gave them my statutes, and showed them my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them." "Moses," says St. Paul, Rom. x. 5, "describeth the righteousness, which is of the law, that the man, which doth those things, shall live in them." Gal. iii. 12, "The law is not of faith; but that man that doth them shall live in them." On the other side, transgress and die; no dispensation, no atonement. Ver. 10, "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them."
Where this law of works was to be found, the New Testament tells us, viz. in the law delivered by Moses. John i. 17, "The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." Chap. vii. 19, "Did not Moses give you the law?" says our Saviour, "and yet none of you keep the law." And this is the law which he speaks of, where he asks the lawyer, Luke x. 26, "What is written in the law? How readest thou?" ver. 28, "This do, and thou shall live." This is that which St. Paul so often styles the law, without any other distinction, Rom. ii. 13, "Not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law are justified." It is needless to quote any more