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EXERCITATION XXX.

$ 1. The vindictive justice of God confirmed by other arguments. { 2.

The common suffrage of mankind herein. § 3. Expressed in sacrifices. $ 4. The anger of God wherein it consists. $5. Arguments proving it necessary that sin should be punished. $ 6. Some of the reasons for the necessity of the priesthood of Christ. $7. No necessity nor use of his death on any other supposition.

$1. That which is proposed to confirmation in these Exercitations, is, that the justice or righteousness from whence it is that God punisheth sin, and which he exerciseth in so doing, is an essential property of his nature. There yet remain some other arguments whereby the truth hereof is confirmed, which I shall only briefly represent, that we be not too long detained on this particular head of our design. Besides, I have both urged and vindicated these arguments already in another way.

$2. In the next place therefore to what hath been insisted on, we may plead the common suffrage of mankind in this matter. For what all men have a presumption of, is not free but necessary, nor can be otherwise; for it is from a principle which knows only what is, and not what may be, or may not be. Of such things, there can be no common or innate persuasion among men.

Such are all the free acts of the will of God. They respect things that might be or might not be, otherwise were they not free acts. If therefore God's punishing of sin were merely an effect of a free act of his will, without respect to any essential property of his nature, there could never have been any general presumption or apprehension of it in the minds of men. But this there is, namely, that God is righteous, with that kind of righteousness which requires that sin be punished, and therefore he doth punish it accordingly. Hence our apostle, speaking of the generality of the heathen, affirms, that they 56 knew that it was the judgment of God, that they who committed sin were worthy of death,” Rom. 1. 32. They are enor, mous sins indeed mostly which he instanceth in. But his inference is from the nature, and not the degree of any sin. They who commit sin are worthy of death, that is, obnoxious to it on the account of their guilt, and which shall therefore be in

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flicted on them. And death is the punishment due to sin. And this is the judgment of God, that which his justice requireth, which because he is just, he judgeth meet to be done. Or this is that right which God exerciseth in the government of all. And this was known to the Gentiles by the light and instinct of nature, for other instruction herein they had not. And this natural conception of their minds they variously expressed, as hath been elsewhere declared. Thus when the barbarians saw Paul bound with a chain, whence they supposed him to be a malefactor, they presently concluded, upon the vipers leaping on his hand, that vengeance from God was fallen on him, which he should not escape, notwithstanding the deliverance which he had at sea. For this dixn, or vengeance, they thought to be peculiarly designed to find out sinners, that had seemed to have made an escape from punishment justly deserved, Acts xxviii. 4. That such punishment is due to sin, they were sufficiently convinced of by the testimonies of their own consciences, Rom. ii. 14, 15. And whereas conscience is nothing but the judgment which a man maketh concerning himself and his actions, with respect to the superior judgment of God; a sense of the eternal righteousness of God was therein included.

$ 3. And this sense of avenging justice they expressed in all their sacrifices, wherein they attempted to make some atonement for the guilt of sin. And this in an especial manner evidenced itself, partly in that horrid custom of sacrificing of other men, and partly in the occasional devoting of themselves to destruction to the same end, as also in their more solemn and

public lustrations and expiations of cities and countries in the time of public calamities and judgments. For what was the voice of nature in those actings, wherein it offered violence to its own inbred principles and inclinations ? It was this alone: the Governor over all is just and righteous, we are guilty: he will not suffer us to live, vengeance will overtake us, if some way or other, some course be not found out to appease him, to satisfy his justice, and to divert his judgments, Micah vi. 6, 7. This they thought to be the most probable way, to bring about this end ; namely, to take another of the same nature with themselves, and it may be dear to them, and to bring him to death, the worst that could be feared or suffered, in their own stead, with an imprecation quod in ejus caput sit upon him.

§ 4. Again, What is affirmed in the Scripture concerning the anger, wrath and fury of God, against sin, and in the punishment of sinners, confirms what we affirm ; see Rom. i. 18. Numb. xxv. 4. Deut. xiii. 17. Josh. vii. 26. Psal. lxxviii. 49. Isa. xiii. 9. Hab. iii. 8. Now, this anger and wrath, especially in the signification of the original words, do denote such commotions and alterations, as the divine nature is no way sub

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ject to. For with God there is neither variableness nor shadow of change, James i. 8. 18. Yet our apostle says, that this anger is revealed from heaven; namely, in the acts of divine providence in the world. Nothing therefore can be intended hereby, but the effects of anger, that is punishment. And so it is declared, Rom. iii. 5. Eph. v. 6. Rom. ii. 5. For the anger or wrath of God is said to come upon men, when they are punished by him for their sins. Yet something in God is declared hereby. And this can be nothing but a constant and unchangeable will of rendering unto sin a meet recompence of reward, Rom. ix. 22. And this is justice, the justice pleaded for, which is inseparable from the nature of God. Hence God is said to judge and punish in his anger, Psal. lvi. 7. And if any thing but this vindictive justice be therein intended, that is assigned to him which ought not to be assigned to a man that is honest and wise. And this doth God no less manifest in the works of his provi. dence than he doth his goodness and patience, though the instances of it neither are nor ought to be continual, because of the future general judgment whereunto all things and persons are reserved.

5. It will be granted by some, that there is such a natural property in God as that which we contend for; but it doth not thence follow, they say, that it is necessary that God should punish all sin ; but he doth it, and may do it, by an absolute and free act of his will. There is therefore no cogent argument to be taken from the consideration hereof, for the necessity of the suffering of Christ. The heads of some few arguments to the contrary, shall put a close to this whole discourse.

First, God hateth sin, he hateth every sin : he cannot otherwise do. Let any man assert the contrary; namely, that God doth not hate sin; or that it is not necessary to him, on the ac'count of his own nature, that he should hate sin, and the consequence thereof will quickly be discerned. For to say that God may not hate sin, is at once to take away all natural and necessary difference between moral good and evil. For if he may not hate it, he may love it. The mere acts of God's will, which are not regulated by any thing in his nature, but only wisdom and liberty, are not determined to this or that object, but he may so will any thing, or the contrary. And then if God may love sin, he may approve it; and if he approve sin, it is not a sin, which is a plain contradiction. That God hateth sin, see Psal. v. 4, 5. xi. 5. xiv. 1. liii. 2. Lev. xxvi. 30. Deut. xvi. 22. 1 Kings xxi. 26. Prov. xv. 5. Hab. i. 13. And this hatred of sin in God can be nothing but the displicency in, or contrariety of his nature to it, with an immutable will of punishing it, thence arising. For to have a natural displicency against sin, and not an immutable will of punishing it, is unworthy of God; for it must arise from impotency. To punish sin therefore according to its demerit, is necessary to him.

Secondly, God with respect unto sin and sinners is called å consuming fire, Heb. xii. ult. Deut. iv. 24. Ísa. xxxiii. 15. and v. 24. and xiii. 14. Something we are taught by the allusion in this expression. This is not the manner of God's operation. God worketh freely, the fire burns necessarily. God I say always worketh freely, with a freedom accompanying his operation, though in some cases, on some suppositions it is necessary that he should work as he doth. It is free to him to speak unto us or not; but on supposition that he will do so, it is nécessary that he speak truly; for God cannot lie. Fire therefore acts by brute inclination according to its form and principle. God acts by his understanding and will, with a freedom accompanying all his operations. This therefore we are not taught by this allusion. The comparison therefore must hold with respect unto the event, or we are deceived, not instructed by it. As therefore the fire necessarily burneth and consumeth all combustible things whereunto it is applied, in its way of operation, which is natural ; so doth God necessarily punish sin, when it lies before him in judgment, in his way of operation, which is free and intellectual.

Thirdly, It is necessary that God should do every thing that is requisite unto his own glory. This the perfection of his nature and existence do require. So he doth all things for him. self. It is necessary therefore that nothing fall out in the universe, which should absolutely impeach the glory of God, or contradict his design of its manifestation. Now suppose that God would, and should let sin go unpunished, where would be the glory of his righteousness as he is the supreme ruler over all ? For to omit what justice requireth, is no less a disparagement unto it than to do what it forbids, Prov. xvü. 15. And where would be the glory of his holiness, supposing the description given of it, Hab. i. 13? Where would be that fear and reverence which is due unto him? where that sense of his terribleness ? where that secrét awe of him which ought to be in the hearts and thoughts of men, if once he were looked on as such a God, as such a governor as unto whom it is a matter of mere freedom, choice and liberty, whether he will punish sin or not, as being not concerned in point of righteousness or holiness so to do? Nothing can tend more than such a persuasion to ingenerate an apprehension in men, that God is such an one as themselves; and that he is so little concerned in their sins, that they need not themselves be much concerned in them. Such thoughts they are apt to conceive ; if he do but hold his peace for a season, and not reprove them in their sins, Psal. I. 21. And if their hearts are fully set in them to do evil, bėcause in some signal instances judgment is not speedily executed, Eccles. viii. 11. how much more will such pernicious consequents ensue, if they are persuaded that it may be God will never punish them for their sins, seeing it is absolutely at his pleasure whether he will do so or not; neither his righteousness, nor his holiness, nor his glory, require any such thing at his hands. This is not the language of the law, no nor yet of the consciences of men, unless they are debauched. Is it not with most Christians certain that eventually God lets no sinner go unpunished ? Do they not believe that all who are not interested by faith in the sufferings of Christ, or at least that are not saved on the account of his undergoing the punishment due to, sin, must perish eternally ? And if this be the absolute rule of God's proceeding towards sinners, if he never went out of the way of it in any one instance, whence should it proceed but from what his nature doth require ?

Lastly, God is, as we have shewed, the righteous Judge of all the world. What law is unto another judge who is to proceed by it, that is the infinite rectitude of his own nature unto him. And it is necessary to a judge to punish where the law requires him so to do; and if he do not he is not just. And because God is righteous by an essential righteousness, it is necessary for him to punish sin as it is contrary thereunto, and not to acquit the guilty. And what is sin, cannot but be sin; neither can God order it otherwise. For what is contrary to his nature cannot by any act of his will be rendered otherwise. And if sin be sin necessarily, because of its contrariety to the nature of God, on the supposition of the order of all things by himself created, the punishment of it is on the same ground neces

$ 6. On the grounds insisted on, it is argued and proved, , that on the suppositions before laid down and explained, namely, that God would glorify himself and his grace in the recovery and salvation of sinners, which proceeded alone from the free counsel of his will ; it was with respect unto the holiness and righteousness of God, absolutely necessary, that the Son of God, in his interposition for them, should be a priest, and offer hiinself for a sacrifice, seeing therein and thereby he could and did undergo the punishment, which in the judgment of God was due unto the sins of them that were to be saved by him.

97. Hereon we lay the necessity of the death and suffering of Jesus Christ; as also our apostle doth declare, Heb. ii. 10, 11. And they who are otherwise minded, are not able to assign so much as a sufficient cause, or just and peculiar reason for it, which yet to think it had not, is highly injurious to the wisdom and grace of God. The reason assigned by the Socinians is, that by his death he might confirm the doctrine that he

sary also.

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