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2. Nothing is law, but the rule of action which is founded in the nature and relations of moral beings. It is therefore absurd to say, that there should be no natural sanctions to this rule of action. It is the same absurdity as to say, that conformity to the laws of our being would not produce happiness, and that disconformity to the laws of our being would not produce misery: which is a contradiction; for what do we mean by acting in conformity to the laws of our being, but that course of conduct in which all the powers of our being will sweetly harmonize, and produce happiness? And what do we mean by disconformity to the laws of our being, but that course of action that creates mutiny among our powers themselves, that produces discord instead of harmony, misery instead of happiness?
3. A precept, to have the nature and the force of law, must be founded in reason, that is, it must have some reason for its existence. And it were unjust to hold out no motives to obedience where a law is founded in a necessity of our
4. But whatever is unjust is no law. Therefore a precept without a sanction is not law.
5. Necessity is the condition of all rightful government. There would be and could be no just government, but for the necessities of the universe. But these necessities can not be met, the great end of government can not be secured without motives or sanctions. Therefore that is no government, no law, that has no sanctions.
III. In what light sanctions are to be regarded.
1. Sanctions are to be regarded as an expression of the benevolent regard of the law-giver for his subjects: the motives which he exhibits to induce in the subjects the course of conduct that will secure their highest well-being.
2. They are to be regarded as an expression of his estimation of the justice, necessity, and value of the precept.
3. They are to be regarded as an expression of the amount or strength of his desire to secure the happiness of his subjects.
4. They are to be regarded as an expression of his opinion in respect to the desert of disobedience.
The natural sanctions are to be regarded as a demonstration of the justice, necessity, and perfection of the precept. IV. The end to be secured by law, and the execution of penal
1. The ultimate end of all government is blessedness.
2 This is the ultimate end of the precept and the sanction of law.
3. This can be secured only by the prevention of sin and the promotion of holiness.
4. Confidence in the government is the sine qua non of all
5. Confidence results from a revelation of the lawgiver to his subjects. Confidence in God results from a revelation of himself to his creatures.
6. The moral law, in its precepts and sanctions, is a revelation of God.
7. The execution of penal sanctions, is also a revelation of the mind, will, and character of the lawgiver.
8. The highest and most influential sanctions of government are those motives that most fully reveal the true character of God.
V. By what rule sanctions ought to be graduated.
1. We have seen in a former lecture that moral obligation is founded in the intrinsic value of the well-being of God and of the universe, and conditionated upon the perception of its value.
2. That guilt ought always to be measured by the perceived value of the end which moral beings ought to choose. 3. The sanctions of law should be graduated by the intrinsic merit or demerit of holiness and sin.
SANCTIONS OF GOD'S LAW.
1. God's law has sanctions.
II. What constitutes the remuneratory sanctions of the law of God.
III. The perfection and duration of the remuneratory sanctions of the law of God.
IV. What constitutes the vindicatory sanctions of the law of God. V. Their duration.
I. God's law has sanctions.
1. That sin or disobedience to the moral law, is attended with, and results in misery, is a matter of consciousness.
2. That virtue or holiness is attended with and results in happiness, is also attested by consciousness.
3. Therefore that God's law has natural sanctions, both remuneratory and vindicatory, is a matter of fact.
4. That there are governmental sanctions added to the natural, must be true, or God in fact has no Government.
5. The Bible expressly and in every variety of form teach
es that God will reward the righteous and punish the wicked.
II. What constitutes the remuneratory sanctions of the law of God. 1. The happiness that is naturally and necessarily connected with, and results from holiness or obedience.
2. The merited favor, protection, and blessing of God. 3. All the natural and governmental rewards of virtue.
III. The perfection and duration of the remuneratory sanctions of the law of God.
1. The perfection of the natural reward is and must be proportioned to the perfection of virtue.
2. The duration of the remuneratory sanction must be equal to the duration of obedience. This can not possibly be otherwise.
3. If the existence and virtue of man are immortal his happiness must be endless.
4. The Bible most unequivocally asserts the immortality both of the existence and virtue of the righteous, and also that their happiness shall be endless.
5. The very design and end of government make it necessary that governmental rewards should be as perfect and unending as virtue.
IV. What constitutes the vindicatory sanctions of the law of God. 1. The misery naturally and necessarily connected with, and the result of disobedience to moral law. Here again let it be understood that moral law is nothing else than that rule of action which accords with the nature and relations of moral beings. Therefore the natural vindicatory sanction of the law of God is misery resulting from a violation of man's own
2. The displeasure of God, the loss of his protection and governmental favor, together with that punishment which it is his duty to inflict upon the disobedient.
3. The rewards of holiness and the punishment of sin, are described in the Bible in figurative language. The rewards of virtue are called eternal life. The punishment of vice is called death. By life is intended, not only existence, but that hap piness which makes life desirable. By death is intended, not annihilation, but that misery which renders existence an evil. V. Duration of the penal sanctions of the law of God. 1. Examine the question in the light of natural theology. 2. In the light of revelation.
In examining it in the light of natural theology, I shall, 1. Inquire into the meaning of the term infinite.
2. Show that infinites may differ indefinitely in amount. 3. Remind you of the rule by which the degrees of guilt are to be estimated.
4. That all and every sin must, from its very nature, involve infinite guilt, in the sense of deserving endless punishment.
5. That notwithstanding all sin deserves endless punishment, yet the guilt of different persons may vary indefinitely, and that punishment although always endless in duration may and ought to and must vary in degree, in proportion as guilt varies. 6. That the duration of penal inflictions under the government of God will be endless.
I. Inquire into the meaning of the term Infinite.
1. It literally and properly means not finite, not limited, not bounded, or unlimited, boundless. This is the meaning of the term and the sense in which I shall use it in this discussion.
II. Infinites may differ indefinitely in amount.
1. This is the doctrine of Sir Isaac Newton, and of natural and mathematical science, as most persons at all acquainted with this subject know.
2. It is a plain matter of fact. For example: suppose that from this point radiate mathematical lines endlessly in every direction. Let each two of these lines make an angle of one degree and let the points be sufficiently numerous to fill up the whole circle. Now as these lines extend endlessly in every direction every pair of them form the legs of a triangle whose sides extend endlessly and which has no base or which has no bound in one direction. It is self-evident that the superficial area contained between any two of those radii is infinite in the sense that its superficial amount is unlimited. Thus the whole of space is no more than infinite, and yet there is in the sense of unlimited an infinite amount of space between every two of those radii.
The same would be true upon the supposition of parallel mathematical lines of infinite length no matter how near together: the superfices or area between them must be infinite in amount. Any thing is infinite which has no whole, which is boundless in any sense. In the sense in which it is boundless it is infinite. For example, in the cases supposed the area between any two of the radii of the circle or of the parallel lines is not infinite in the sense that it has no bounds in any direction. For it is bounded on its sides. But it is infi
nite in the sense of its superficial measure or contents. So, endless happiness or misery may be finite in one sense aud infinite in another. They may be infinite in amount taking into view their endlessness, however small they may be in degree. So that in degree they may, and with finite creatures must be finite in degree but infinite in amount. There is and can be no whole of them and therefore in amount they are infinite. God's happiness may be and is infinite both in degree and in duration, which amounts to infinite in the absolute sense.
III. I must remind you of the rule by which degrees of guilt are to be estimated.
And here let it be remembered,
1. That moral obligation is founded in the intrinsic value of those interests which moral agents are bound to choose as an end.
2. That the obligation is conditionated upon the knowledge of this end, and,
3. That the degree of obligation is just equal to the degree of light which the mind has in regard to the intrinsic value of those interests which it is bound to choose.
4. That the guilt of refusal to will these interests is in proportion, or is equal to the amount of the obligation, and,
5. That consequently the mind's honest apprehension or judgment of the value of those interests which it refuses to will, is and must be the rule by which the degree of guilt involved in that refusal ought to be measured. I do not mean that guilt is to be measured by the mind's actual but dishonest estimate of the value of the interests it rejects; but guilt is to be measured by the light enjoyed or by the estimate which the mind would have with the light that now shines around it, were it honest and disposed to receive the light and judge accordingly.
IV. That all and every sin must from its very nature involve infinite guilt in the sense of deserving endless punishment. 1. Sin implies moral obligation.
2. Moral obligation implies moral agency.
3. Moral agency implies light, or the knowledge of the end that moral agents ought to will.
4. This end is the highest well-being of God and of the
5. The idea or apprehension of this end implies the knowledge that the intrinsic value of those endless interests must be infinite.
If the idea of God and of the good of being be developed,