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ON SIN.

er efficient cause of his own sinful C IN radically consists in partial nature and exercises it might be D affection in a being capable of hard to shew ; but suppose it were knowing God; or rather, in his admitted, that he might be the loving the creature more than the cause of his finful exercises, he Creator. This affection of heart must certainly be so by his own is in its nature, hostile to the uni-act ; but it would not follow that ? verse, and involves in itself every the producing act must be a sinful thing that is vile and base ; it is act, or if, in a given case, it should most unjust, it is against reason and be, it would not follow that its the fitness of things; and the sub-finfulness is necessary to the finfulject of it must of necessity be op- ness of the effect. To instance in posed by the universe, as its ene the first fin that existed : The quefmy; and if the interest of the tion is, what was its cause? And whole is more important than the the answer, on the present suppointerest of a part, such opposition lition is, the act of the finner : is fit and reasonable.

But certainly the act causing the Whatever be the cause of sin, first fin, being prior to it, and the its nature will be the same ; enmi- ground of it, could not be a sinful ty to being ; oppofition to the gen-1 act, because to suppose this would eral good. But as sinful man, in be to suppose sin existed before the order to justify himself, is disposed first fin. It is clear then, that the to cast all the blame of fin on its first sin was not produced by a blame. cause, and so ultimately on God able cause in the finner ; consethe first cause ; let us fee, for a quently, all the blame of the first moment, whether there is any evi- lin lay in its nature, and not at all dence that the cause of fin is to in its cause, if, as is now supposed, blame.

the finner himself be the cause. To the question what is the But if the blame of any one fin cause of fin, if it have a positive may be wbolly in its nature, and cause, the answer must be, God, not at all in its cause, this may also or, the finner himself, is the cause. be true of all sin ; an attempt there. That the finner himself is the prop-fore to cast the blame of any fin Vol. I. No. 6.

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upon its causę, supposing the finner | Sun, evinces that body to be bright himself to be the cause, would not / and luminous. only be irrevelant but unreason. Moral evil in the effect then does able.

not prove moral evil in the cause ; Again, it does not appear that God may be the cause of sin, ia the cause of sin is to blame, on the either of, the senses which have ground that God is the cause ; even beeh mentioned, and yet be per: the positive or efficient cause ; the fectly holy; as well as the cause conclusion that it is, is built on the of matter and yet be perfe&tly spihypothesis that there is all that in ritual ; or the cause of pain and yet the cause, which there is in the ef be perfectly happy. Consequently fect, but this hypothesis is falla an attempt to cast the blame of fin cious. God created the material upon its cause, supposing God to world, but God is not material, he be its cause, is unreasonable, it is has made creatures of oppofite na to charge God foolishly, for the tures, the harmless dove and the charge cannot be proved from the Spiteful serpent, but he is not pos. relation of an effect to its caufe. fessed of these opposite natures in | But on the supposition that God co-existence. God causes natural is the cause of fin, can he be rightevil, pain and misery ; But God is eous in taking vengeance? Asnot miserable, but blessed forever. swer ; God's being the cause of If sin be a positive existence and sin alters not its nature, it is still require a positive cause, fo is mat- | lin, enmity to being, opposed to ter a positive existence and requires the total of created and uncreated a positive cause, and the existence good, tending, in its whole nature, of the latter proves God to be ma. to subvert general order, and to -terial, as much as the existence of overturn even the throne of God the former proves God to be sinful. himself; its exiftence then being It may be said that the other ef. supposed, God, as the guardian of fects which have been mentioned, the general good, must oppose and as produced by the divine agency, | punish it. But why was it first are mere negations, the absence of caused ? Suppose we can assign no good, the want of perfection, and good reasons, it does not follow therefore they require no positive that there are none; There may cause of their existence, and that be reasons for it resulting from the this may be the case of sin itself; but | perfections of God, the imperfecif this be true, it is still more evi. tions of creatures, and the ends of dent that the cause, or more prop- | the divine government, which lie erly the occasion, of sin is not to beyond our sight, who are but of blame or sinful. If sin be that state yesterday : But surely before we of a moral being which necessarily presume to cast the blame of fin on takes place on the absence or with God for causing it, we ought to be drawment of the divine presence very certain on good evidence, that and influence, its existence will in causing it, he acted without rezbe so far from proving God to be fon, and when we can demonstrate finful, that it will prove his purity that he did so, and not till then, and holiness in the clearest man: we shall have reason to find fault; ner ; and on the same evidence but if we withhold our censures that natural darkness, being that till then, the divine government state which succeeds on the absence will, with respect to the exilence or withdrawment of the natural of lin, forever remain unimpeach

ed. God has not however left us by the church he might make wholly uninformed on this import- known, to principalities and powe ant point, but has condescended to ers in heavenly places, the manigive us two reasons, at least, of fold wisdom of God.” He cau. his agency in the existence of sin, ses " all things to work together or in hardening the hearts of fin. for the good of them, that love ners, which ought to satisfy us, God.” In the process of this (viz. to lbew his wrath and make work, he makes an immense adbis power known ; and to make vance, upon all former discoveries known the riches of his glory, on the of the divine character. This veliels of mercy which he had afore brings glory to God, and increases prepared unto glory.

the public good. The declarative

glory of God consists in the manletter from a Gentleman to a

ifestation of his perfections. These

manifestations are the riches of the friend.

universe. In this work, the glory DEAR SIR,

of God, and the happiness of his I THINK you will not be dif- | kingdom are inseparably connected.

1 turbed at the length of this let. The happiness of the holy Anter, when you are informed, that gels, as well as of those who are our Lord Jesus is the subject of faved by his redemption, is unalmost every sentence. You are speakably increased, by the discovo not fingular in considering him, as eries which Christ has made, of the distinguished character of the the infinite excellence of God. gospel. The apostle Paul was de- This is done in several particulars. termined to know nothing, among Christ has made a wonderful the Corinthian Christians, but Je- manifestation of the justice of God sus Christ, and him crucified. He in punishing finners. Something of is God manifest in the tiesh. He this was done, when God cast out came to accomplish a work of in the apostate angels from his blissful finite importance to fave finners, presence, and doomed them, för and ultimately, by their salvation, their first revolt, to endless def. and by his whole work, to glori- pair. Their punishment, doubtless fy God. In his prayer, a little be appeared just, and neceffary for fore his crucifixion, he expressed the support of his beneficent gov. this idea to the Father. "I have ernment. Their rebellion appearglorified thee on earth, I have fined to the elect angels an awful ished the work, which thou gavest crime, and worthy of signal wrath. me to do.” This was his errand, The holy would naturally reflect and this he accomplished. On this on the importance of the divine account he is called the “ Bright law, the excellency of God, and ness of the Father's glory, and the the infinite obligations, which his express image of his person.” In creatures are under to him. And this work, he promotes the public the tho'ts of rebellion would excite good. The happiness of all holy horror, and the punishment of rebcreatures is greatly increased by it. els would meet with their appro-And to this end, “ All power in bation. In the condemnation of heaven and on earth is given unto the revolters, God rendered his him—the government is put upon law respectable in the fight of the his thoulders--and he is made head holy angels. They saw it was over all things to the church--that I not to be trifled with : and the

considerations, which were natu- | neceffity of the divine law, and of rally suggested to their minds, on expressing the divine abhorrence of this occasion, gave a fuller convic- sin by punishments, will rise into tion, and a more perfect sense of view, with {uperior demonstration. the importance of law and justice, You cannot but think, the justice than it is reasonable to suppose, of God is displayed, in more than they could have obtained, if sin sevenfold glory, in the latter cafe. had never taken place, and the It will doubtless be unspeakably punitive justice of God had never more illustrious, and convincing in been exemplified. But under the the eyes of his people. mediatorial government of Christ, The atonement of Christ also great advance has been made in adds to the glory of punitive jufthese things. The pernicious and tice. Had not this taken place, unyielding nature of fin, and the the enemies of God might have reirreclaimable perverseness of the proached him, by fuggesting, that finner, were not seen in the in- he punished them wantonly, that ftance of the fallen angels. No he had no benevolence for his crea. offers of mercy were made them. tures, and acted more from palIt was not known, but that they fion and cruelty, than from prinwould have gladly accepted of a ciple. But when his only begotten pardon. They were immediately Son freely took the finners place, given over by a judicial act, to the and became a curse for them power of fin. But under the govo | when creation heard the Father ernment of Christ, the obstinate say, “Awake o sword against nature of fin is bro't into view. It the man, that is my fellow !"appears, that no offers of mercy, | when he was left in the power of no acts of kindness, and no facri- earth and hell-when God would fices which God can make, to pro- not abate an iota in those sufferings, vide for their acceptance into fa- which were necessary to support the vor, can persuade the finner, to re- law, and fully manifeft his abhorturn to duty. He will perfist in rence of fin--when he hid his face his rebellion, in defiance of all the from him in his last extremity threatnings which can be denoun- when the Creator of the world ced, and all the arguments which bowed his head, and gave up the can be offered to reclaim him. ghost, then, then it was evident, This gives an impressive evidence that he punishes from principle, that of the justice of God in the con Christ condemns the wicked, not demnation of impenitent finners. thro' wanton indifference to their -The apostate angels committed sufferings; but with a facred re• but one fin, before their doom be gard to justice. This glorified came irreversible, and that, not justice, magnified the law, and against redeeming mercy. Sinful | made it honorable. men have the offers of mercy, and Christ in his mediatorial governo the means of grace, and continue ment, makes an infinite advance, in rebellion and unbelief, thro' their upon all former displays of the whole lives. They deliberately goodness of God. He gives an iltreat with contempt divine authority lustrious evidence, that his goodand grace. In their condemnation, ness is real, and will indure forthe punitive justice of God will be ever. In his dealings with the eleet displayed to advantage. And the angels, no one could have reason to importance of Spotless purity, the 'entertain any fufpicions of his good.

ness. They obeyed, and lived. | whole influence, true as the needle But it was not known, that his to the pole, they subserve his goodness was such, that he could purposes, accomplish his plan; find it in his heart, to thew mercy bring glory to his name, and blesto finners-to make the sacrifice fings to his people. “O the revealed in the gospel to issue the depth of the riches, both of the invitations of his grace-to furnih wisdom and knowledge of God! fuch means to wait with longsuf | How upsearchable are bis judgfering mercy on ungrateful abusers ments and his ways past finding of every grace and finally to 1 out !” come, in the power of the Holy Your own heart informs you, Ghost, and renew the hearts of that God is the portion of his peo. multitudes, and train them, amidst ple, and that the manifestations of a thousand provocations, for the his perfections are the riches of the world of glory. But this, you see universe. These perfections Christ exhibited in transcendant glory, in has brought into view, in such adthe government of Christ. Here vanced glory, that I shall not wonI conceive, angels must look, for der if you are ready to say, that the most expressive evidence of the they appear a thousand fold more goodness of God. This affords glorious and illustrious, than if the them the fullest confidence, that gospel scheme had never been adopGod will be faithful to his prom ted-if Adam and his race had ises to them. Here goodness retained original purity, and no glows in supreme perfection. How advance had been made on the dissuperior to the manifestation of it, coveries, which God had given of in the dealings of God, with holy himself, in his dealings with the angels, who never have offended ! | elect and apostate angels. And if

In this government of Christ, Adam had stood, by the covenant there is an unspeakably greater of works ; or if on his transgrefdisplay of the wisdom of God, fion, he had been immediately and his ability to govern the uni. fentenced to hell, by an irreversiverse, than we have any reason to ble decree of justice, without the suppose, had ever been made be offers of mercy, no advance would fore. No doubt, God manifested have been made in government, by ụnsearchable wisdom, in his proy- / any thing essentially new, and comidential government, before this paratively little would have been world was created. He did this added to the glory of God, or the in his dealings with the angels.- happiness of his friends. But this But was it ever seen, as it is in his world was created for the glory of management of such a world as God, and the public good. Christ this? Here is a world of linners in undertook the government of it, confusion. All the malice and de to answer these purposes. He fucvices of men and devils, are com çeeds. In proportion as he brings bined against the kingdom of Christ, the glory of God into the view of which he is erecling among men. his friends, he increases their eterEvery artifice and weapon is employ- nal happiness. How inexpreffibly ed to overthrow it. And yet Zi. more exalted then, will be the hapon lives, and increases, and Christ piness of his faiots, than if Adain so controls, and manages all e. had stood ? vents, and has done it already, for You will not now be difficulted thousands of years, that with their 'to allign the reason, why the an

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