OF CREATION IN GENERAL.
Having considered the internal and eternal acts of the divint. mind, I proceed to consider the external acts of God. I shall begin wirh the work of creation, which is what God himself began with; and shall consider the following things concerning it.
I. What creation is. Sometimes it only signifies the natural production of creatures, by generation and propagation ; the birth of persons, in the common course of nature, is called the creation of them, Ezrk. xxi. 30. and xxviii. 14. Eccles. xii 1. Sometimes it designs acts of providence, in bringing about affairs of moment and importance in the world ; as whetl it is said, I form the light, and create darkness. It is to be un* dersiood of prosperous and adverse dispensations of providence, Isai. lv. 7. So the renewing of the face of the earth, and reproduction of herbs, plants, &c. is a creation, Psal. civ. 30. And the renewing of the world, in the end of time is called a creating new heavens and a new earth, Isai. lxv. 17. Sometimes it intends ihe doing somethmg unusual and wonderful; such as the earth's opening its mouth, Numb. xvi. 30. the wonderful protection of the ' hurch, Isai. iv. 5. and particularly the incarnation of the Son of God, Jer. xxxi. 22. To observe no more, creation may be distinguished into mediate and imme* diate; mediate creation is the production of beings, by the power of God, out of pre.existent matter, so God is said to create great whales and other fishes, which, at his command, the waters brought forth abundantly; and he created men, male and female; and yet man, as to his body, was made of the dust of the earth, and the woman out of the rib of man, Gen. i. 21, 27. and, indeed, all that was created on the five last days of the creation, was made out of matter which before existed, though indisposed of itself for such a production.— Immediate creation is the production of things out of nothing, as was the work of the first day^ the creating the heavens and the earth, the unformed chaos, and light commanded to arise upon it, Gen. i. 1—3. These are the original of things; so that all thing ultimately are made out of nothing, Heb. xi. 3. it cannot be conceived otherwise, than that the world was made out of nothing: for, if nothing existed from eternity, but God, there was nothing existing, out of which it could be made ; to say it was made out of pre-existent matter, is to beg the question; besides, that pre-existent matter must be made by him; for he has created all things, Rev. iv. 11. and if all things, nothing can be expected; and certainly not matter ; be that visible or invisible, one of them it must be; and both the one and the other are created of God, Col. i. 16. and this matter must be made out of nothing, so that it comes to the game thing, that all things are originally made out of nothing. Besides, there are some creatures, and those the most noble, as angels and the souls of men, which are immaterial, and therefore not made out of matter, and consequently are made out of nothing; and if these, why not others ? and if these and bthers, why not all things, even matter itself?
II. The objects of creation are all things, nothing excepted in the whole compass of finite nature ; Thou hast created ill things, and for thy pleasure, or by thy will, they are and were created, Rev. iv. 11. these are comprehended by Moses under the name of the heavens and the earth, Gen. i. 1. and more fully by the apostles, Acts iv. 24. and still more explicitly by the Angel, Rev. x, 6. i. The heavens and all in them ; these are often represented as made and created by God, Psal. viii. 3. and xix. 1. and cii. 25. They are spoken of in the plural number, for there are certainly three; we read of a third heaven, 2 Cor. xii. 2, 4. this .s,—l. The heaven of heavens; .ha habitation ol God, where angels dwell, and whtre glorified . saints will be in soul and body to all eternity. Now this is a place made and created by God, 1 Kings viii. 27. it is wh' re the angels are, who must have an uti, some where to be.in ; and here bodies are, which' require space and place, as those of Enoch and Elijah* and the human nature of Christ, here the bodies of those are, who rose at the time of his resurrection ; and all the bodies of the saints will be 10 all .ernity: this is by Christ distinguished as the place of the blessed* from that of the damned, John xiv. 2. 3. Luke xvl. 26. It ia called a city whose builder and maker is God, Heb. xi. 10. for he that built all things built this. 2. There is another heaven, lower than the former, and may be called the second, and bears the name of the starry heaven, because the sun, and moon, and stars are placed in it: Look towards heaven, and tell the stars, Gen xv. S. this reaches from the moon, to the place of the fixed stars. Now this, and all that in it are, were created by God, Gen. i. 16. 3. There is another heavi n, low; er than both the former, and may be called the serial heaven, Gen. vii. 3, 23. This wide expanse, or firmament of heaven, is the handy-work of God, and all things in it; not only the fowls that fly in it, but all the meteors gendered there ; as rain, snow; thunder and lightning. Hath the rain a father f Job. xxxvii. 6. in. The earth and all that is therein, Gen. i. 2, 9, 10. as this was made by God, so all things in it; the grass* the herbs, the plants, and trees upon it; the metals and minerals in the bowels of it* gold, silver, brass, and iron ; all the beasts of the field, and " the cattle on a thousand hills ;"—-" 111. The sea, and all that is in that; when God cleaved an hollow in the earth, the waters he drained of it, he gathered unto it; and gave those waters the name of seas, Gen. i. 10i Psal. xcv. 5. the marine plants and trees, and all the fishea that swim in it great and small, innumerable, Psa!. civ. 25,26< That the planets are so many worlds as our earth is, vaAtnai
th, fixed stars are so many suns to worlds unknown to us, are but the conjectures, however probable, of modern astronomers.
III. The next thing to be enquired into is, When creation began i this was not in eternity, but in time; an eternal creature is the greatest absurdity imaginable; In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, Gen. i. 1. And thou, Lord in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the e*rth, &rc. Heb. i. 10. Some Plilosophers, and Aristotle at the head of them, have asserted the eternity of the world, but without any reason. To say the world, or matter, was co-eternal with God, is to make that itself God; for eternity is a perfection peculiar to God ; and where one perfection is, all are : what is eternal, is infinite and unbounded ; and if the world is eternal, it is infinite ; and then there must be two infinites, which is an absurdity not to be received. Besides, if eternal, it must necessarily exist; or exist by necessity of nature ; and so be self-existent, and consequently God ; yea, must be independent of him, and to which he can have no claim, nor any power and authority over it; whereas according to divine revelation, and even the reason of things, all things were according to the pleasure of God, or by his will, Rev. iv, 11. and therefore must be later than his will, being the effect of it. And as the world had a beginning, and all things in it, it does not appear to be of any great antiquity; it has not, as yet run out six thousand years: according to the Greek version, the age of the world is carried fourteen or fifteen hundred years higher; but the Hebrew text is the surest rule to go by: as for the accounts of the Egyptians, Chaldeans, and Chinese, which make the original of their kingdoms and states, many thousand of years higher still: these are only vain boasts, and fabulous relations, which have no foundation in true history. The origin of nations, according to the scriptures, which ap. pears to be the truest; and the invention of arts and sciences, and of various things necessary to human life; as of agriculture the bringing up of cattle ; making of various utensils of brass and iron, for the various businesses of life; and the find
ing out of letters; with many other things, which appear to be within the time the scripture assigns for the creation: plainly shew it could not be earlier, since without these, men could not be long: nor does any genuine history give an account of any thing more early, nor so early as the scriptures do ; and therefore we may safely conclude, that the origin of the world as given by that, is true ; for if the world had been eternal, or of so early a date as some kingdoms pretend unto, something or other done in those ancient times, would have been, some way or other transmitted to posterity. The time and season of the year when the world was created, some think was the vernal equinox, or spring of the year, when plants and trees are blooming; and have observed, in favour of this notion, that the redemption of man was wrought out at this time of the year, which is a restoration of the world. Others think the world was created in the autumnal equinox, when the fruits of the earth are ripe, and in their full perfection ; which seems more probable : and certain it is, that some nations of old, as the Egyptians and others began their year at this time; as did the Israelites, before their coming out of Egypt; and it may be observed, that the feast of ingathering the fruits of the earth, is said to be in the end of the year; and when a new year begun; see Exod. xii. 2. and xxiii. 16. But this is a mat. terofno great moment.
IV. The author of creation is God, and he only, Iaai. xl. 28. and xliu 5. and xliv. 24. Jer. x. 11. and more divine persons than one were concerned in this work, for we read of ere. ators and makers in the plural number, Eccl. xii. 1. Jobxxxv. 10. Psal. cxlix. 2. Isai. liv. 5. and a plural word for God is made use of at the first mention of the creation, Gen. i. It And this work of creation was wrought by God without any other cause, principal or instrumental; not principal, for then that would be equal with God ; nor instrumental; since creation is a production of things out of nothing, there was nothing for an instrument to operate upon; and since it was an instantaneous action, done in a moment, there could be no
opportunity of using and employing one: besides, this inEtrument must be either God or a creature; not God, because it is supposed to be distinct from him, and to be made use of by him; and if a creature, it must be used in. the creation of itself, which is an absurdity; tor then it must be and not be at the same moment; nor could, nor can creative power be communicated to a creature; this would be to make finite infinite, and so another God, which cannot be ; this would be to make God to act contrary to his nature, to deny himself, which he cannot do ; and to destroy all distinction between the crea* ture and the creator, and to introduce and justify the idolatry of the heathens, who worshipped the creature besides the ere. ator.
V. The manner and order of the creation; it was done at once by the mighty power of God, by his all commanding will and word, Be spake and it was done, he commanded and it flood fust, Psal. xxxiii. 9. Though God took six days for the creation of the world, the work of every day, and every particular work in each day, were done in a moment: on the first day by the word of the Lord the heavens and the earth were at once made, and light was called into being. On the second day the firmament of heaven. On the fourth day he made the sun, moon and stars.. On the filth day, in one moment of it, he bid the waters bring forth fowls, and in another moment of it, created great whales, ano fishes; on the sixth day, in one moment of it, he ordered the earth to bring forth living creatures; and in another moment on the same day, he, created man after his image ; and in another moment on the same day, he created the woman out of the rib of man. Thus pod proceeded from things less perfect to those more perfect, and from inanimate creatures to animate ones, and from irrational creatures to rational ones : when he had finished his work,, he pronounced them all very good. There remains nothing more to be observed but,
VI. The end of the creation of all things; and 1. The ultimate end is the glory of God, Prov. xvi. 4. particularly his infinite and almighty power, Rom. i. 20. Jer. xxxii. 17. Men are call, ed upon by the Psalmist to give thanks to God because he is good ; and the principal things instanced in, are the works of creation ; see Psal. xxxiii. 5. and cxxxvi. 1, 4, &c. to aft which may be added, the rich display that is made of the wisdom of God, Prov. iii. 19, 20. 2. The subordinate end is the good of man, Isai. xlv. 12, 18, particularly the world and all things were made for th? sake of Go i's chosen people ; in which, as on a stage and theatre, the great work of their redemption and salvation was to be performid in the most pub. lie manner ; and they have the best title to the world, even the present world, Christ being theirs, 1 Cor. iii. 22. 23, Psal. xxiv. 1. as well as the new heavens and the new earth are for their sakes, 2 Pet. iii. 13. yea the angels of Heaven are created for their use and service ; they are all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them wh'j are heirs of salvation, Heb. i. 14. wherefore upon the whole it becomes us to glorify God our creator, and to put our trust in him.
OF THE CREATION OF ANGELS.
Though the creation of angels is not expressly mentioned in the account of the creation by M.ses, yet it is implied in it; for the heavens include all that are in them: Moses in closing the account of the creation, observes, Thus the b. avens and the eirth were finished, and all the host of them, Gen. ii. I, Now of the hosts of heaven, the angeis are the principal part, Dan. ix. 35. Luke. ii. 13. and therefore must have been created within the six days; on what particular day is not certain, whether on the first, second, third, or fourth; all have been pitched upon by one or another; most probably the first, on which day the heavens were created. Though angels have not bodies, and so are not in place circumscriptive^ : yet, as they are creatures, they must have an ubi, a somewhere in which they are definitively; so that they are here, and not; there, and much leas every where: it is most reasonable therefore to conclude, that God made the heavens first, and then the angels to dwell in them. The angelic spirits were made altogether; for all those morning-stars, the sons of God, were present, and shouted at the foundation of the earth ; and all the host of heaven were made by the breath of God, Job. xxxviii. 7. Psal. xxxiii. 6. their numbers are many ; a multitude, Luke ii. 13. twelve legions, Matt. xxvi. 53. in Dan. vii. 10. a thousand thousands ; which number is greatly exceeded in the vision John saw, Rev. v. 11. an innumerable company, Heb. xii. 22. Concerning these excellent creatures of God, the following things may be observed.
I. Their names :'as for proper names, though there are many of them in the Apocryphal, and Jewish writings, yet in the sacred scriptures but few, perhaps no more than one, and that is Gabriel, the name of an angel sent with dispatches to Daniel, Zacharias, and to the virgin Mary, Dan. viii. 16. and ix. 21. Luke i. 19. 26. for as for Michael, the Archangel, he seems to be no other than Christ. The names and epithets of angels, are chiefly taken from their nature, Elohim is their principal one, translated gods, Psal.xcvii. 7. Because sent with messages from God, and because God's vicegerents, for a like reason they have the names of thrones, dominions, principalities and powers, Col. i. 16. If the text in Job. xxxviii. 7. is to be understood of angels, it furnishes us with other names and titles of them; as morning stars, and sons of God. They some, times have the name of men given them ; because they have appeared in an human form; such were two of those who appeared like men to Abraham, and afterwards to Lot; and two others seen by the women at Christ's sepulchre, Gen. xviii.2. and xix. 1, 5, 8. Luke xxiv. 4. The more common name is that of angels, or Messengers.
II. The nature of angels, which is expressed by the word spirits; so good angels are called spirits, and ministering spi. rits, Heb. i. 7. 14. and evil angels, unclean spirits, Matt. x. 1. Luke x. 17, 20. It is difficult with us to form any idea of a spirit; we rather know what it is not, than what it is ; A spirit hath notfesh and bones, as ye see me have, says Christ, Luke xxiv. 39. was it corporeal, a legion of spirits could never have a place in one man ; nor penetrate and pass through bodies, through doors bdk.ed and barred, as these angelic beings have ; they are possessed b£ great agility, and with great swiftness and speed descend from heaven, on occasion ; as Gabriel did, who flew swiftly, as swift as light from the sun, or lightening from the heavens ; they are invisible, and among the invisible things created by the Son of God. Once more, being incor. poreal and immaterial, they are immortal; they do not consist of parts, of matter capable of being disunited or dissolved. God, who only has immortality originally and of himself, has conferred immortality on the angelic spirits; and though he can annihilate them, he will not.
III. The qualities and excellencies of angels may be next considered; and they are more especially three, holiness, wisdom or knowledge, and power.—1. Holiness; they are called holy angels, Mark viii. 38. They are subject to the same laws and rules of morality snd righteousness that men are ; for they do his commandments, hearkening to the voice of his word, Psal. ciii. 20.—2. Wisdom and knowledge; it is an high strain of compliment in the woman of Tekoah to David; My Lord is wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of God; to know all things that are in the earth, 2 Sam. xiv. 20. They know much of God, being always in his presence, and behold, ing his face; and much of men, of wicked men, on whom, by divine direction, they inflict the judgments of God; and of good men, the heirs of salvation, to whom they are sent, as ministering spirits : they know much of the mysteries of providence, and of the mysteries of divine grace, Matt. xxiv. 36. —3. Power is another excellency of the angels ; they are called mighty angels, and are said to excel in strength; 2 Thess. i. 7. Psal. ciii. 20. they are capable, indeed, under a divine influence, of holding the four winds of heaven ; and of restraining hurtful things ; they have power, when they have leave, or are ordered to smite the bodies of men with diseases; as the men of S).lom with blindness, yea, with death itself, as seventy thousand Israelites, on account of David's numbering the people ; and a hundred and forty-five thousand Assyrians in one n.ght, as they lay encamped against Jerusalem. Herod the king, being smitten by an angel, was eaten of worms, and .heJ.
IV. Their office and employment, i. With respect to God ; their work is to praise him, to celebrate the glory of his perfect tions ; Praise ye him, all his angels, Psal. cxlviii. 2. and their work also lies in keeping the commandments of God, and to do his will in heaven and in earth, Zech. vi. 4, 5. n. With respect to Christ, on whom they are said to ascend anU descend, as they did on Jacob's ladder, a type of him, Gem xxviii. 12. John i. 51. they attended at the incarnation; they had the care and charge of him in his state of humiliation ; when he had fasted forty days they came and ministered food unto him; Matt. iv. 11. and one of them attended him in his agony in the garden, Luke xxii. 43. they were present at his resurrection Matt, xxviii. 2. Luke xxiv. 4;6, 23. they accompanied him at his assension to heaven, Psal. lxviii. 17, 18. Acts i. 10,11. 1 Tim. Hi. 16. and by them he will be attended at his second coming, 2 Thess. i. 7. Luke ix. 26. in. With, respect to the saints, to whom they are sent as ministering spirits : instances of which are,;—1. Preserving them in their infant state, which is what the apostle means when he says, that God separated hint from his mother's womb. Gal. i. 15. which providence may be thought to be chiefly executed by the ministry of angels. Though it is not certain, yet some scriptures countenance, Matt, xviii. 10. Actxii. 15. that every one has hia guardian angel, since sometimes more angels are deputed to one, and sorrietimes but one to many ; yet doubtless sainta from their birth are under the care of angels.—2» Providing food for them when in want of it, as an angel dressed food for the prophet Elijah, and called upon him to arise and eat, Matt. iv. 11. Psal. lxxviii. 25. 1 Kings xix. 5—8.—3. Keeping off diseases from them* He shall deliver thee from the noitomc pestilence—neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling; for he .shall give his angels charge over thee, i$ct Psal. xci. .1, 7, 11.—+. Directing and protecting in jemrnies* Gen. xxiv. r, 2", 48. so Jacob as he Was travelling, was met by the angels of God, who divided themselves into two hosts for his guard.—5. Keeping from dangers* and helping out of them ; Lot and his family were in danger of being destroyed in Sodom, the angels laid hold on their hands, Gen. xix. 15— 17. the preservation of Shadrach, Meshech, and Abedntgo, in the furnace of fire, and of Daniel in ihe lions' den, is ascrib* ed to angels, Dan. iii. 28. and vi. 22. the opening of the doors of the prison where the apostles were, and setting thent free ; and the deliverance of Peter from prison, were done by angels, Acts v. 19, 20. and xii. ", 10. With respect to things spiritual—1. Angels have been employed in revealing the mind and will of God to men. They attended at mount Sinai* Deut. xxxii. 2. An angel published the gospel, Luke ii. 10. 11. An angel made known to Daniel the time of the Messiah's coming, Dan. viii. 16—19. And an angel was sent to signify to the apostle John, the things that should come to pass in his time, and in all ages to the end of the world. Rev. i. 1.—2. Though the work of conversion is the sole Work of God, yet as he makes use of instruments in it, as ministers of the word, why may he not be thought to make use of angels ? This is certain, they are acquainted with the conversions of sinners, Luke xv. 7, 10.—S. They are useful in comforting the saints when in distress ; as they strengthened and comfort' •d Christ in his human nature, when in an agony, so they comfort his members, as they did Daniel, when in great terror, and the apostle Paul, in a tempest, Dan. ix. 23. Acts xxvii. 23, 24. If evil angels are capable of suggesting terrible and uncomfortable things, good angels are surely capable of suggesting: comfortable things. For—4. They greatly assist in repelling the temptations of Satan; for if they oppose themselves to* and have conflicts with evil angels, with respect to things political and civil, the affairs of kingdoms and states, in which the; hiterost anil church «f Christ are concerned, see Van. tt ttf
20. Rev. xii. 7. they, no doubt, bestir themselves in opposition to evil spirits, when they tempt believers to sin, or to despair, Eph. vi. 12. Zech. iii. 1, 2, 4, 4.-5. They are exceeding useful to saints in their dying moments; they carried the soul of Lazarus into Abraham's bosom, Luke xvi. 22. and thus Elijah was carried to heaven, soul and body, in a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, which were no other than angels, 2 Kings ii. 11.—6. Angels, as they will attend Christ at. his second coming, so they will be made use of by him, to gather the risen saints from the four quarters of the world, Matt. xlii. 40, 41. and xxiv. 31. From the whole it appears, that ang Is are creatures, and so not to be worshipped, Col. ii. 18. the angels themselves refuse and forbid it, Rev. xix. 10. and xxii. 8, 9. yet, notwithstanding, they are to be loved, valued, and esteemed by the saints, see 1 Cor. xi. 10. it is no small part of their gospel-privileges, for which they should be thankful, thai they are come to an innumerable company of angels, Heb. L 14. and xii. 22.
OF THE CREATION OF MAN.
Man was made last of all the creatures, being the chief and master-piece of the whole creation on earth. He is a compendium of the creation, and therefore is sometimes called a mii crocosm, a little world, the world in miniature. Man was made on the sixth and last day of the creation, and not before; nor were there any of the same species made before Adam, who is therefore called the first man Adam. What puts this out of all question, with those that believe the divine revelation, is, that it is expressly said, that before Adam was formed, thtre xoas not a man to till the ground, Gen. ii. 5. Man was made after, and upon a consultation held concerning his creation ; Let ua make man, Gen. i. 26. which is an address, not to second causes, nor is it an address to angels; but the address was made by Jehovah the Father, and the consultation was held by him, with the other two divine Persons in the Deity, the Son and Spirit; a like phrase see in chap. iii. 22. and xi. 7. Isai. vi. 8. The following things may be observed,
I. The author of his creation, God ; So God created man, Gen. i. 27. for we are all his offspring, and therefore are exhorted to remember our Creator, Eccles. xii. 1. or Creators; even Father, Son, and Spirit; hence we read of God our Makers, in various passages of scripture, Job xxxv. 10. Psal. cxlix. 2. Isai. liv. 5. It is pretty remarkable chat the word created should be used three times in one verse, where the creation of man is only spoken of; as it should seem to point out the three divine persons concerned therein, Gen. i. 27.
II. The constituent and essential parts of man, created by God which are two, body and soul; these appear at his first formation ; the one was made out of the dust, the other was breathed into him; and so at his dissolution, the one returns to the dust from whence it was; and the other to God that gave it. 1. The body which is a most wonderful structure ; ever,. muscle, vein, and artery, yea, the least fibre is set in its pri Lr place, to answer its designed end ; and all in just symn.wtry and proportion : to enter into a detail of particulars, more properly belongs to anatomy ; that art is now brought to such a degree of perfection, that by it most amazing discoveries are made in the structure ofthe human body ; as the circalation of the blood,&c. so that if may well be said of out bodies, as David said of his, I am fearfully a id woiiderfilhi madey Psal. exxxix. 14. The erect posture of the body is not to be omitted, by which man is fitted and directed to look upward to the heavens, to contemplate the glory of God. In the Greek language man has his name, Anthropos, from turning and looking upwards. The body of man was originally made immortal; not that it was so of itself; but God, who only has immortality, conferred it on the body of man. It is most clear from the word of God, that death did not arise from a necessity of nature, but from sin; it is expressly said, the body is dead because of sin, Rom. v. 12, 15. n. The soul is the other part of man created by God ; it is an inhabitant of the body, dwells in it, as in a tabernacle, and exists in a separate state after it; all which shew it is a substance, or subsistence of itself. It is not a corporal but a spiritual substance; not« bod\ as Tertullian, and others have thought; but a spirit, at it is often called in scripture, Eccles. xii. 7. Matt. xxvi. 41. Acts vii. 59. The souls of men are called the spirits of aH &tsh, to distinguish ihem from angelic spirits, Numb. xvi. 22. The body may be killed b\ men, but not the soul. Some h lve been, and are of opinion that the souls of men are ex traduce, as Tertullian. But if souls are by natural generation from their immediate parents, they must be derived either front their bodies, or from their bodies and souls, or from their souls only ; not from their bodies, for then they would be corporeal, whereas they are not; not from both bodies and souls; for then they would be partly corporeal, and partly incorporeal, which they are not; not from their souls only, for as an angel is not generated by an angel, so not a soul by a soul. Besides, if the souls of men are derived from the souls of parents, it is either from a part of them, or from the whole; not from a part, lor then the soul would be pariable and divisible, as matter is, and so not immaterial; and as not a part, so neither caa their whole souls be thought to he communicated to them, for then they would have none, and perish ; to such absurdities is this notion reducible, Basides, what is immaterial, as the soul is, can never be educed out of matter ; if the soul is generated out of the matter of parents, then it is, and must be material ; and if material, then coruptible; and if corruptible, (hen mortal. But what puts this matter out of doubt is, the distinction the apostle makes between the fathers of our flesh, and the Father of Spirits Hib. xii. 9,
III, lhe difference of sex in which man was created, is jnale and female, Gen. i. %7. Adam was formed, then Eve, X Tim. ii. 13. Man is a social creature, and therefore <iod in his wisdom thought it not prober that he should be alone, but provided a help-mate for him, to be a partner and companion with him, in civil and religious life. There were but one tnale and one female, at first created, and which were joined ^etfier iq marriage by the Lord himself, to teach, that bat one man and one woman only are to be joined together at one time in lawful wedlock: these two, male and female, first ere. ated, were made after the same image ; for the word man, includes both man and woman ; and Adam was a name common to them both in their creation, and when said to be made after the image of G^d, Gen. i. 26, 27. and v. 1,2. which image, as will hereafter be seen, lies much in righteousness and holiness. But they, Adam and Eve, sought out many inventions, sinful ones, andbO lost their righteousness. Which leads on to consider,
IV. The image of God in which man was created ; Cod said. Lit us make man in our own 'mage, and after our likeness, so God created man in his own image, Gen. i. 26. 27. Whether image and likeness are to be distinguished, as the one respecting the substantial form of man, his soul; the other certain accidents and qualities belonging to him ; or whether they signify the same is not very material; the latter seems probable; since in Gen. i. 27. .where image is mentioned, likeness is omitted; and, on the contrary, in Gen. v. 1. the word likeness is used, and image omitted. He is not in suck sense the image of God, as Jesus Christ the son of God is who is the express image of his Father's Person. Though there was in him some likt uess and resemblance of some of the perfections of God; which are called his im'uable ones, and by some communicable ; as holiness, righteousness, wisdom, &c. yet these perfections are not really in him, only some faint shadows of them ; the renewed and spiritual image of Ciod, in regenerate persons, is called a partaking of the divine nature, 2 Pety. i. 4. that is wrought in them, and impressed on them, which bears some resemblance to the divine nature. The seat of the image of God in man, is the whole man, both body and aoul; wherefore God is said to create man in his image ; not the soul only, nor the body only; but the whole man, Gen. i. 27. and v. 1. at the resurrection of the dead, the saints will most fully appear to bear the image of the heavenly One, 1 Thes. v. 23. i. The first man was made in the image of God in bio body in some respect; hence this is given as a reason why the blood of a man's body is not to be shed, because, In the image of God made he man, Gen. ix. 6. There is something divine and majestic in the countenance of man, in comparison of brute creatures. And it may be observed, that the perfections of God, many of them, are represented by the members of the human body ; as his all-seeing providence by eyes ; his attention to the petitions of his people, by ears, open to their cries ; and his power to deliver, by an arm and hand ; and his pleasure and displeasure, by his face being towards good men, and against bad men. I see no difficulty in admitting that the body of Adam was formed according to the idea of the body of Christ in the divine mind, and which may be the reason, at least in part, of that expression : Behold, the man is, or rather was as one of us. n. The principal seat of the image of God in man, is the soul. And this appears,—1. In the nature of the soul, which is spiritual, immaterial, immortal, and invisible, as God is. Moreover, the soul carries some shadow of likeness to God in its powers and faculties. 2. The image of God in the soul of man, of the first man particularly, appeared in the qualities of it; especially in its wisdom, and understanding, and in its righteousness and holiness, Eccles. vii.29. 3. The image of God in the whole man, soul and body, or in his person, lay in his immortality, natural to his soul, and conferred on his body ; and also in his dominion over the creatures. 4. This image lay too intthe blessedness of man, in his original state; for as God is God over all and blessed, and is the blessed and only Potentate ; so man, in a lower sense, was blessed above all the creatures. Adam's knowledge was natural knowledge; his holiness and righteousness, natural holiness and righteousness; the covenant made with him, a natural covenant; the communion he had with God, was in a natural way ; and all his benefits and blessings natural ones ; but believers in Christ are blessed with all spiritual blessings in him, and have a spiritual image enstamped upon them, which can never be lost; and into which they are changed from glory to glory, till it becomes perfect.
OF THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD.
Providence, of which we are now about to treat, must be considered as distinct from foresight, foreknowledge, and pre* destination; which all respect some act in the divine mind m eternity; this may be called eternal providence; but providence in time, which is what is now under consideration, and may be called actual providence, is the execution of whatsoever God has foreknown and determined; Who worked) all things after the counsel of his will, Eph. i. 11. The wise man says, There is a time to every purpose under the heaven; whatever is done under the heavens in time, there was a purpose for it ia eternity, Eccles. iii. 1—11. Purpose and providence, exactly tally and answer to each other; the one is the fulfilment of the other; Surely, as I have thought, saith the Lord, so shall it come to pass ,' and as I have purposed, so shall it stand, Lsai. xvi. 24.
The providence of God is not only expressed in scripture, by his sustaining, upholding, and preserving all things; but by his looking down upon the earth, and the inhabitants of it, Psal. xiv. 2. It may be argued from the senses which he imparts to men. He has placed the eyes and the ears in the head of the human body, to look out after and listen to what may turn to the advantage or disadvantage of the members of the body; hence the Psalmist reasons, He that planted the ear, shall he not hear ? he that formed the eye, shall he not see ?
The words provide and providing, are sometimes used of men in general, and of masters of families in particular, who are to provide things honest in the sight of all men, both for themselves, and for all under their care; and, If any provide not for his own, he is worse than an infidel, Rom. xii. 17. 1 Tim. v. 8. which provision may give us an idea of the providence of God ; in that branch of it particularly, which concerns the provision which he, as the great master of his family, makes for it; The eyes of all wait upon thee, and thou givest them their meat in due season, fc?c. Psal. cxlv. 15, 16. even the
r, very ravens and their young, such mean and worthless crea> tures, are provided for by him ; Who provideth for the raven his food, when his young ones cry unto God? Job xxxviii. 41. Providence, with the heathens was reckoned as a deity, is represented like a good housewife, or mistress of a family, administering to the whole universe, and was pictured like a grave elderly matron ; this is one of the tides of the goddess Minerva
The providence of God is expressed by his care of his creatures ; Doth God take care of oxen 11 Cor. Ix. 9. It is particularly said of the land of Canaan, that it was a land which the Lordcareth for ; from one end of the year to the other, Ueut. xi. 12. God's sustentation of the world, his government of it, the view and notice he takes of it, the provision he makes for all creatures in it, and his care of, and concern for them; this is providence. I shall proceed,
I. To prove a divine providence, by which all things arc upheld, governed, guided, and directed. I. This appears from the light of nature. Hence the heathens held a providence ; all nations, even the most barbarous ; all the sects of the philosophers owned it, but one, the Epicureans, and that from a foolish notion that it was unworthy of God, and affected his happiness. Pythagoras, Plato, the Stoics, Seneca, Menedemus, the philosopher, all were advocates for the doctrine of providence. Chrysippus and Cicero wrote on the same subject also. Paul, in a discourse of his before the philosophers at Athens, concerning God and his providence, produces a passage from Aratus, one of their own poets, in proof of the same ; We are also his offspring, Acts xvii. 28. \\. Divine providence may be concluded from the Being of God ; the same arguments that prove the one, prove the other; if there is a God, there is a providence ; and if there is a providence, there is a God ; these mutually prove each other ; wherefore, when the Psalmist had observed, that ^;jhe fool said in hjs heart, there is no God, he imm. rliaielv ob^"•▼es the providence of God; The Lord looked down from the heaven upon the children of men, Psal. xiv. 1, 2. Those who allow there is a God, must confess that he does some, thing, and something famous and excellent; and nothing is more excellent than the administration of the world. To me, says Lucilius, he that does nothingi seems entirely not to be, to have no being. The oracle of Apollo, at Miletus, calls providence the first-born of God : and it is easy to observe* that the Lord puts the idolatrous heathens upon proving the truth of the deities they worshipped, by acts of providence, see Isai. xli. 22, 23. ni. The providence of God may be argued from the creation of the world; as the Being of God may be proved from thence, so the providence of God. God, the great builder of all things, does not act by them as an architect, that builds an house and has no farther concern with it, but leaves it to stand or fall of itself; or that builds a ship, and has nothing more to do with it; he takes the government of it, and steers and directs it; without his support and government of it, it could not long subsist: besides, there must be some ends for which it is created ; which ends it cannot attain and answer of itself; but must be directed and influenced by the Creator of it. iv. The perfections of God, and the display of them, make a providence necessary, particularly his power, wisdom, and goodness : since God has created the world, had he not supported.it, but left it to chance and fortune, it would have seemed as if he could not have supported it; since he made it with some views, and to answer some ends, had it not been guided by him, to answer these ends where had been his wisdom ; and to make a world of creatures, and then neglect them, and take no care of them, where would have been his goodness? v. It may be concluded from the worship of God ; which this is a powerful inducement to, and the ground of. Hence Cicere could say, " There are some philosophers* (meaning the Epicureans) who suppose that God takes no care of human affairs; but, says he, if this is true, what piety can there be ? what sanctity ? what religion ?" They are the ijberypes of the age, who in any period deny the providence
of God; such were those of that cast among the Jews, who said, The Lord hath forsaken the earth; and the Lord seeth noty Ezek. ix. 9. Zeph. i. 12. vi.' The settled and constant order of things, from the beginning of the world to this time, clearly evince a divine Providence ; the ordinances of the heavens, of the sun, moon, and stars, have never departed from their stated and fixed order and appointment; nor the covenant of the day and of the night ever been broken, Jer. xxxi. 35. Every year, in the winter-season, grass, herbs, and plants, wither and seem to die ; when, in the returning spring, which never fails to come, there is a reproduction of all these, a sort of a new creation of them ; Thou sendest forth thy Spirit; and they are created, and thou renewest the face of the earth, Psal. civ. 30. I'o all which maybe added, the constant succession of men in all ages ; One generation passeth away and another generation cometh. All which can never be without an all-wise disposing Providence, vn. Were there not a supporting and superintending providence concerned in the world, and the things of it, all would soon fall into confusion and destruction. If God, that, has hung the earth upon nothing, let go his hold, it would drop into its original chaos, it would soon and easily be dissolved, did not the Lord bear up the pillars of it. vin. The many blessings of goodness, the daily benefits and favours, which are continually bestowed by God on his creatures, manifestly declare his providence : he has not left himself without this witness of it his provdential goodness in any age to any people, ix. The judgments of God in the earth, at different periods of time, are a demonstration of the providence of God. Who can believe that the universal deluge, and saving eight persons only in an ark, were the effects of chance, and that the burning of Sodom and Gomorrah, was by accident, as a common fire is sometimes said to be ? The same may be observed of the captivities of the Israelites, the destruction of their neighbours, the Moabites, Edomites, &c. so that the name of one of them is not to be found in the world, as was foretold ; when they, though scattered up and down in it, are yet preserved. God is known by the judgments which be executeth, Psal. ix, 16. x. The fears of punishment and hopes of reward in men, shew the consci. ousness they have of the notice God takes of them and their actions, which is one branch of providence. Their fears declare their sense of a divine Being, why else were some of the Roman Csesars, as Augustus, Tiberius, and Caligula, so ter. ribly frighted at thunder and lightening? Verily he is a God thatjudgeth in the earth, Psal. lviii. 11.
II. I proceed to observe some distinctions which have been used by some, and may be useful to explain and confirm the doctrine of providence. 1. Providence may be considered as immediate and mediate, Immediate providence, is what is exercised by God, without the use of any mean, over and above means, and what means cannot reach unto. Yea, God's works are sometimes contrary to the nature of things, of means, and second causes ; as when he caused waters which naturally flow, to rise up and become heaps ; and the Sun, which naturally goes forth and forward as a giant to run his race, to stand still, as in the days of Joshua; and to go back ten degrees on the dial of Ahaz, in the times of Hezekiah. He suffered not fire to singe the garments of Daniel's three companions, when, cast into a furnace of fire ; and caused lions, naturally voracious, to shut their mouths, and not touch Daniel, when cast into their den. Mediate providence is what is exercised in the use of means, or by them ; he sometimes makes use of means to produce great and noble effects, which are unlikely ; as when with a small army, he gives victory over a large one. Semetimes he makes proper means ineffectual to answer the end of them; what seems more for the safety of a country than a well mounted cavalry, and a well disciplined and numerous army ? and yet these are vain things for safety. Ordinarily, God works by means. There is a chain of second cause than depend upon the first; the Lord hears the heavens, and the hea» venshear the earth, and the earth hears the corn, and the wine, aid the oil, and they hear Jezreel. Hos, ii. 21t 22. He exercises his providence commonly by the use of means, to shew men that they are to make use of means, and not slight them ; no, sot even when events are certain to them ; as the cases of Hi zekiah, and Paul's mariners shew, Isai. xxxviii. 21. Acts xxvii. 31. Ii. Providence may be considered both as ordinary and extraordinary—C rdinary providence, is what is exercised in the common course of means, and by the chain of second cau es. From this law, fire burns, and sparks fly upward^ heavy bodies descend, and light ones ascend. Extraordinary providence, is that in which God goes out of his common way, and which consists of miraculous operations; as when he ordered rocks to be smitten, and waters gushed out; and rained manna near forty years in a wilderness. nt. Providence mav be considered as universal and singular; or, as gtneraland particular. Universal or general providence, is what is concerned with the whole world, and all things in it. A singular or particular providence, is concerned with every individual, and especially with rational creatures and their actions. Most certair. it is, that God, not only in his providence is concerned for the world in general, but for all individuals in it ; every star, Isai xl. 26. the cattle on a thousand hills, and even a sparrow, Matt. x. 29. iv. Providence may be considered as both common and special. Common providence is that which be'ongs to the whole world ; God is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works, Psal. cxlv. 9. Special providence is what concerns the church of God in all ages. The Jewish Church, under the former dispensation; and the christian church under the gospel. God, as the God of providence, is the Saviour and Preserver of all men ; but especially of them that believe, 1 Tim. iv. 10. v. Providence may be considered as real and moral: real, is what concerns things, and the essence of them, by which they are sustained and preserved. Moral providence, or what is commonly called God's moral government of the world, respects rational creatures, angels and men ; a reasonable service is required of reasonable creates. I shall next observe,
III. The author of providence, the efficient Cause of it, and the instruments made use of by him in the administration of it. Elihu puts such a question as this, Who hath disposed the whole world? Job xxxiv. 13. the answer to it must be, All things are of him, in creation ; and all things are through him in providence ; and all things are to him directed and ordered to his glory, Rom. xi. 36. My father worketh hitherto, not in creation ; for the works of creation were finished: but in pro. vidence. Our Lord addresses his Father as the Lord of heaven and earth ; and adds, All things are delivered unto me of my Father, to subserve the ends of his mediatorial kingdom in a providential way, Matt. xi. 25. Christ, the Son of God, is equally concerned with his divine Father in the work of providence ; for whatsoever things he (the Father) doth, those al. so doth the Son likewise, John v. 17, 19. Nor is the holy Spi. rit to be excluded from the work of providence ; the renovation and reproduction of things, every returning spring are ascribed to him ; Thou sendest forth thy Spirit, and they are created; thou renewest the face of the earth, Psal. civ. 30. the government of the world, and the ordering and disposing of all things in it, are attributed to him, without the counsel and direction of others ; Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, &fc, or, being his counseller, hath taught him? &?c. Isai. xl, 13,14. The instruments God makes use of in the administration of providence are many.
I. Angels, good and bad. Good angels are the ministers, of God ; These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth, they are ministering Spirits, sent forth to minister for them who are heirs of salvation, see Psal. ciii, 19, 20. Zech. vi. 5. Heb. i. 14.— Evil angels are also sometimes employed; they were made use of in the plagues of Egypt; for the Psalmist says, God cast upon the Egyptians the fierceness of his anger, wrath and indignation, by sending evil angels among them, Psal. lxxviii. 49. An evil spirit offered himself to be a lying spirit in the mouths of Ahafi prophets, which he had leave to be, 1 Kings xxii. 21—34. Satan obtained leave from the Lord to destroy the substance, family, and health of Job ; and put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot to betray his Lord.
II. Kings, princes, and civil magistrates, good and bad, have been, and are, instruments in the hands of God, Rom. xiii. 1, 4.
III. Ministers of the word, and masters of families, are, in their respective stations, instruments in the execution of the affairs of providence.
IV. Even irrational creatures are employed in providence to execute some parts of it; the beasts of the field, the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea, being at the back and command of the great creator of them. The noisome beast is one of God's judgments; not only creatures of such bulk and strength have been made use of in providence, but even the meanest and most minute; as flies, frogs, and locusts, the latter is called the Lord's army, and his great camp, which sometimes have a commission to destroy a whole country, Joel ii. 11.
V. Inanimate creatures, the several meteors in the air, are under the direction of providence, and subservient to it. God has his treasures of snow and hail, which he sometimes plays upon the inhabitants of the earth ; every meteor in the heavens does his will; Fire and hail, snow and vapour, stormy wind fulfilling his word, Psal. cxlviii, 8. Whatever good or evil come to the children of men, by any and all of these instruments, are not to be attributed to them, but to the God of providence, Riches and honour come of tbee, says David, 1 Chron. xxix 12. in like manner Job through the providence of God, became the greatest man in the East for worldly substance, as well as other things; by the same providence he lost all; and though the Sabeans and Chaldeans were the instruments of it; he does not impute it to them, nor to Satan, who instigated them to it; but to the Lord, Job. i. 21.
VI. The several parts and branches, or acts of providence, of which it consists, are next to be considered ; and they are chiefly these two, conservation, or preservation of all things created, and the government of them; or the wise and orderly disposal of them, to answer the ends for which they are made and preserved. Conservation of creatures, and the sustentation of them in their being ; which is expressed by, Thou preservtst them all, Nehim. ix. 6.—Upholding all things by the word of his power, Heb. i. 2, 3.—By him all things consist, Col. i. 16, 17. 1. that the sustentation and preservation of the creatures in their being, is of God, and must be so, may be proved. 1. From the nature and perfections of God, particularly his independence, Rom. xi. 36. If creatures could or do support and preserve themselves in their being, they would be independent and then there would be more independents than one. 2. From the nature of creatures, which is to be dependent on the Creator; he that gives them life and breath, gives them all things for the support and preservation thereof, he holdeth our soul in life, Acts xvii, 25, 28. Job x. 12. Psal. lxvi. 9. 3. From the weakness of creatures to support and preserve themselves. There is no man that hath power over the Spirit, to r elain the Spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death, to keep it off from him; there is no discharge in that war, Eccles, viii. 8. Men cannot preserve their cattle, in which the chief substance of some men lies; could they, these would always be in good plight and case, and stand, and never fail; their sheep would continue to bring forth thousands, and their oxen would be always strong to labour, Psal. xlix. 7, 9. and cxliv. 13, 14. 4. The same power that was put forth in creation, is required and is necessary for the preservation of the creatures made, Rom. i. 20. Heb. i. 3. 5. Were God to withdraw his supporting hand and preserving power and influence, creatures would soon come to destruction and perish ; the whole fabric of the world would at once fall to pieces ; The earth, and all the inhabitants of it, are dissolved, that is, they would be, were it not for what follows, / bear up the pillars of it, Psal. lxxv. 3. Job was sensible of this, that he was held in life by the hand of God ; he therefore desires he would let loose his hand, and then he knew he should drop and die, for which he was solicitous, Job vi. 9. 6. The whole world is a building, and God is the architect of it; Be that built all things is God; but this building differs from any building of man. A man may erect an edifice, and when he has done, leave it to itself, to stand or fall; and it does stand without him, and oftentimes subsists many years after the architect is dead. But God, the great architect, has not only put together the world, but has made the very matter of which it consists, and for the support of that his almighty power that created it, is requisite and necessary. 7. Every creature is made for some end. The Lord hath made all things for himself, for his own glory, Prov. xvi. 4. wherefore it may be strongly concluded, that he will, as it is necessary he should, preserve them, that such an end may be answered, as it is, in fact; All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord! Psal. cxlv. 10.
II. To what and to whom this preservation extends and reaches. It includes all the creatures God has made ; O Lord, thou prcscrvest man and beast, Psal. xxxvi. 6. yea, every other creature. 1. Some of the individuals of the creation are sustained and preserved, as they were from the beginning; the prima materia, the first matter, of which all things were made, still continues; for matter is never annihilated, though it passcs into different forms and figures. A new star, so called, because not seen before, sometimes appears, but no one is lost. The heavens God has established by his understanding and power, so that they remain as they were ; and though it is said they shall perish wax old as a garment, and as a vesture be changed and folded, Prov. iii. 19. Psal. cii. 25, 2C. Heb. t. 11, 12. yet as a garment folded up siill remains, though in a different form; so the heavens will not perish, as to matter and sub. stance. Angels and the souls of men, are preserved in being, as they were first created; angels die not, nor do the souls of men, when their bodies do, but survive them, and live in a separate state till the resurrection.
2. some of the individuals of creatures, whiih are subject to corruption and death, are yet preservtd, as long as it is the pleasure of God ; as the beast of the field and the bodies of men ; for he pnserveth man and teast, Psal. xxxvi. 6. One generation pazseth away, and another generation comecb, but the earth akideth forever, and is full of inhabitants, fccclea. i. 4, The other branch of providence is government; if a man comes into a house, or a school, or a court of judicature, and taken notice of the order, manner, and discipline of things observed therein, he must conclude within himself, there is some one who presides there, and who is obeyed ; and much more in such motions, in which there is never any failure.
I. Inanimate creatures are governed, and guided, and di. rected by the providence of God, to do those things for which they were created, and so answer the ends ef their creation.
Ii. Animate creatures, but irrational, are governed, guided, and directed in providencce, by an instinct of nature, placed in them by their Creator, to such actions as are agreeable to their nature, and from which they scarce ever swerve ; thus With what art and skill do birds build their nests ? that little creature the ant provides its meat in the summer ; the conies are but a feeble folk, yet are so wise as to make their houses in the rocks. Birds of passage, as the stork, the turtle, the crane, and the swallow, know the appointed times of their going and coming and exactly observe them, Jer; viii. 7: Multitudes of instances of this kind might be given, nt. Rational creatures, as angels and men, are governed in a moral way, by a law, which for substance is the same to both, according to their different nature and circumstances. I proceed to consider,
V. The object of providence; which is the whole universe, all the creatures of it, and whatever is done in it. I. The whole inanimate creation. 1. The luminaries of the heavens. The sun daily sheds its benign influences on the earth to make it fruitful ; hence we read of precious fruits brought f..rth by the tun, Deut. xxxiii. 14. He commandeth the sun, and it rit
eth not, or is not seen for days together ; he causes it to gt down at noon, as it seems to do in an eclipse, and darkens the earth in a clear day. Job i\.7.The stars in their courses fought against Sisera, Judg. v. 20. they are of use, in providence, to mariners on the mighty waters. 2. The meteors in the heavens are under the direction of providence ; He o ndeth up the waters in his thick clouds, and the cloud is not rent under them, Job xxvi. 8. amazing it is, that such a body of water should be wrapped up in so thin a garment as a cloud ; E'ihu asks Job, Can any understand the spreading of the clouds ? Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wonderous work of him which is perfect in knowledge ? Job xxxvii. 16. how such vast bodies move on evenly from place to place, and fall on those parts where in providence they are directed. 3. The winds are also at the disposal of providence ; he commands and raises the stormy wind, and causes it to subside, Psal. exxxv. 7. a clear proof of the Deity of our Lord ; who rebuked the winds and sea, and there was a calm. Rain is a wonderful blessing of providence, and falls by divine direction, sometimes on one part of the earth, and sometimes on another, as God pleases to dispose of it, Amos iv. 7, 8. Thunder and lightening are of God; Canst thou thunder with a voice like him ? Job xl. 9. 4. The providence of God is not only concerned with things inanimate in the heavens, but also in the earth, the several metals and minerals there ; such as gold, silver, brass, iron, &c. There is a vein for silver, and a place
for gold.- iron is taken out of the earth, and brass is ntolien
out of the stones, Job. xxviii. 1, 2. he gives them to whom he pleases, and as much of them as seems meet to him ; and directs men how to employ them, and improve them in trade and commerce, and in arts and manufactories. 5. The sea, as well as all that are therein, is at his command ; this unruly and unwieldy creature is managed by him, at his pleasure, as easily as an infant by its nurse. n. Animate creatures, or creatures with life ; though they have only either a vegetative life, or a sensitive, animal life, arc under the care of divine pro.idence. As every spire of grass proclaims a God so it also declares a providence, Consider the lilies of the field, how then grow, they toil not, neither do they spin, Matt. vi. 28—30. Other creatures that live a sensitive, animal life, are cared for in providence ; He giveth to the heast his food, and to the young ravens that cry, Psal. cxlvii. 9. Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns ; yet your eavenly Father feedeth them. Matt. vii. 26. The Stoics, said, Dii magna curant, parva negligunt; the gods take care of great things, but neglect small ones : but if they are not unworthy of his creation, they cannot be unworthy of his providence, in. Rational creatures, angels and men, are more especially the objects of Divine providence, Good angels are directed by his providence, Dan. iv. 35. Evil angels are under restraints, Job i. 11,12. Men have their life and breath, and all things, from God ; the providence of God is concerned, 1. In the production of them into being. With respect to the time when, place where, and persons of whom he is born, Ecdes. iii. 1, 2. Acts xvii. 26. How wonderful does the providence of God appear in the case of a new.born infant, that when it cannot help itself, nor tell its wants, care is taken that such things should be done for it in that instant which are necessary, Ezek. xvi. 4. and that as it has been marvelously fed and nourished, in the dark cell of nature, as soon as it is brought to the light, the mother's breasts are filled with milk, to which it has a natural desirse ; and her heart is filled with tenderness for it, to do all that is in her power for it, and rather suffer herself, than that should want; this is all owing to divine providence. 2. The providence of God attends men in every stage of life into which they come. Some take to agriculture, or husbandry, in one branch of it or another; some to mechanic ' trades, and manufactories of different sorts ; in all which the providence of God greatly appears ; for as it is in the natural body, -f the whole lody were an eye, where were the hearing? if the whole were hearing, where were the smelling ? So it is in the body politic. The marriage-state of life, into which mos
men enter, is too important an affair to escape the providence of God; there is more truth in that'common saying, than many are aware of, that marriages are made in heaven, Gen. xxiv. 14—27. Ruth iv. 13, 14. When persons are setup in business their success depends on providence, Psal. exxvii. 2. Prov. x. 4, 22. it is an observation worth) of the wisest of men; the Lird muketh poor and maketh rich. All afflictions of whatever sort, are under the direction of providence, be they personal or family, or crosses, losses, and disappointments in trade and business, they are all sent, and set, and bounded by the providence of God, Job. v. 6. and xxiii. 14. he carries from the womb, even to old age and hoary hairs, Psal. lxxi.
9, 18. The term of life, as it is fixtd by God, it is finished by providence ; some die a violent, and others, for the most part a natural death; some in the prime of life, others in old age ; some suddenly, and in their full strength, whilst others drag on a tedious life, and consume and pine away gradually. Nor can the term of life be protracted be\ ond the bounds of days, months, and years, which God has fixed, nor be shortened, as not to be reached unto, Job. xiv. 5. When some are said not to live out half their days,; these live out all the days they are designed in providence to live; and yet live buthali those which, according to their own, and the expectations of their friends, and according to the common term of life ; threescore years and ten, it might be supposed they would have lived; so that if a person dies under five and thirty years of age, he may be said to live not half the days of man, though he has lived all the days that were allotted to him in providence.
There is a special providence, which is concerned with the people of God in particular; God is the Saviour of all men, in a providential way, but especially those of that believe, 1 Tim. iv.
10. Psal. xxxiii. 18. Many are the instances on divine record, of the special providence of God respecting the saints ; as Abraham and Sarah, Gen. xxii. Jacob, Joseph, and David. But besides those instances, and many others, there is a special providence that attends all the people of God. 1. Before conversion, even as soon as they are born; this is what the apostle seems to mean in Gal. i. 15. '1 hough it is not the only nor the principal thing, that may be intended in 2 Tim. i. 9. yet it seems to be part of the sense of ii, and not to be excluded from it; Who hath saved us, and called us; since the people of God are often saved from many imminent dangers, to which their lives are exposed before conversion; and so are saved before called, and saved to be called. 2. At conversion; as effectual calling itself is according to the purpose of God, as to time, place, and means ; so the providence of God is concerned in the bringing of it about agreeable thereunto ; there is a time fixed for it, called the time of life, and the time of love ; the time being come for the conversion of the woman of Samaria, and for the call of Zaccheus, Christ must needs go through Samaria and Jericho, when it does not appear that he had any reason to go through either, but on those accounts. The place where conversion shall be made is also fixed, Acts xviii. 10. wherefore the providence of God is often remarkably concerned either in bringing the gospel to such places, as it was brought to Philippi, for the sake of the conversion of Lydia and her houshold, and of the jailor and his, Acts xvi. 6, 8cc. or in bringing persons to the places where the gospel is, and casting them under the sound of it. Onesimus ran away from his master, was tiken up and cast into the same prison where the apostle Paul was, and by him was begotten in his bonds, Philem. 10. And as the gospel is the ordinary means of conversion, how providentially are some persons brought under it, and converted by it, led by curiosity to hear it, or with a malignant spirit to scoff at it, oppose and persecute it; and ministers, how providentially are they directed to insist on such a subject, to say such things, and drop such expressions, and which, perhaps they thought not of before, which, accompanied with a divine power, issue in conversion. Thus Austin, losing his subject, and digressing from it, fell upon the error of the Manichees, which proved the conversion of a great man of that heresy. 3. After conversion the providence of God appears, as well as before, in preserving his people
from many evils and dangers; angels are ministering spirits to them, have the charge of them, encompass about them, and protect them, Psal. xci. 11. in providing for their temporal good ; in directing them in all their ways ; in delivering them out of their afflictions ; and in being their God and guideeven unto death, Hom. viii. 28. iV. The providence of God is concerned in all actions ; in every thing that is done in the world, from the beginning to the end of it. God is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed, 1 Sam. ii. 3. 1. All natural actions, which are common or peculiar to every creature, as flying to the fowls, swimming to fishes, walk* ing to men and beasts ; all muscular motion is of God. 2. All nect.ssary actions ; such as either arise from the necessity of nature, or are so by the ordmation and appointment of God. Some are so by the necessity of nature ; as waters naturally and necessarily descend and flow ; and fire naturally and necessarily burns what is combustible, when put to it; and heavy things descend, and light things ascend ; that they are under the direction of providence, is clear, because they are sometimes controuled by it ; so the waters rose up and stood on an heap in the Red sea, and the river of Jordan, and made dry land for the Israelites to pass through. The nature of fire was so restrained in Nebuchadnezzar's furnace, that it did not so much as singe or scent the clothes of the three companions of Daniel, cast into it. Other things are necessary by the appointment of God; so for instance, the sufferings of Christ being by the determinate council of God, were necessary ; so likewise offences must come. 3. All free and voluntary actions, which depend upon the free will of man are under the direction of the providence of God. The thoughts, purposes, schemes and determinations of the will of men, than which nothing is more free ; yet these are under the influence of divine providence. What more free and arbitrary than the heart, mind and will, of a sovereign despotic prince; yet the king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water, he turneth it whithersoever he will; as resolute and, determined as it may be, it is in the hand of God; and it is
in his power to turn it as easily as canals of water may be cut by a gardner to water his garden ; or as the river Euphrates was cut by Cyrus, and its course diverted, and its waters drained, so that he could march his army into the midst of Babylon, through which it ran. 4. AH contingent actions, or such as are called chance matters, these fall under the divine providence. What may seem more a contingency, or matter of chance, than shooting of a bird flying, and fetching it to the ground ? when a bow is drawn, or a piece presented and levelled, how uncertain is it, whether it hits the bird or no; and yet 0ne sparrow shall not fall on the ground, that is, be shot, and drop on the ground, without your Father; without his knowledge, will, and providence, Matt. x. 29. and what is more contingent than the killing of a man, unawares, as it is described, Deut. xix. 4, 5. and yet the providence of God is so far concerned, in such an affair, that God is said to deliver such a man into the hand of his neighbour, Exod. xxi. 13. What we call accidental death, is providential: what can be thought more a chance-matter, than the casting of a lot, how it will issue ; and yet the issue, which is of God, is certain: The lot is cast into the lap. hut the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord, Prov. xvi. 33. The fist lot mentioned in scripture is that which was cast on the account of Achan, who had stolen a Babylonish garment, and a wedge of Gold, to find out which, Joshua had recourse to a lot; and in the whole process, how remarkable is the providedce of God, which directed to the tribe, to the family, to the household, and to the guilty person, Josh. vii. 16—20. The next lot, was that which was cast for the division of the land of Canaan, to the tribes of Israel, and which fell exactly agreeable to the prophecies of Jacob and Moses: thus, foT instance, it is suggested in both of them, that the tribe of Zebulon should have its situation by the sea, Gen. xlix. 13. The third lot we read of was that cast by Saul, to find out the person that had sinned, on whose account no answer was returned by the Lord, to an enquiry made, and Saul desired a perfect lot might be given between the people, . and him and Jonathan ; it was cast and the people escaped; it was cast again, and it fell on Jonathan, who had tasted honey that day, contrary to the charge and oath of Saul, xiv, 70—43. Once more, Jonah fleeing from the presence of the Lord, took shipping at Joppa, for Tarshish, when a tempest arose and endangered the ship, and frighted the mariners, who supposed it was for some evil done by some among them, and therefore cast lots to find out the person, and the lot fell on Jonah, whom God in his providence had provided a fish to swallow, when cast into the sea, Jonah i. 7'—17- v. All actions and things done in the world and among men, whether good or evil, are under the direction of providence; or that is some way or other concerned in them. Good actions. Those are of God, the fountain of all goodness; there is no good thing in fallen man naturally, and therefore no good thing comes out of him, nor is any good thing done by him. But of this more, when we come .to treat of the doctrine of effi* cacious Grace. There are many evil things done in the world, in which the providence of God is concerned ; and these are of two sorts, the evil of calamities, and the evil of sin.
1. The evils of calamities, &c. and these are either more public or more private. More public; such are the calamities and distresses on nations and kmgdoms, and bodies of men, and which are never without the providence of God; I make peace and create evil; I the Lord do all these things, Isai. xlv. 7- In this sense arc we to understand the prophets when he says, Shall there be evil in the city, and the Lord hath not done it ? Amos iii. 6. he means any public calamity, affliction and distress. Where is now Thebes with its hundred gates, and Babylon with its broad walls, and the famous Persepolis, and Jerusalem the joy of the whole earth ? it cannot be thought that these cities came to destruction without the concern of providence : where are the famous monarchies which made such a figure in the world, the Babylonian, Persian, Grecian and Roman, of which the latter only has a name, and that is all ? the fall of these, according to divine prediction, has been accomplished by divine providence, famine is one of God's arrows shot out of the bow of providence, Amos iv. 6. Hag. i. 11. and pestilence is another concerning which he says, J will send ox I have sent (he pestilence among them, Jer.xxix. 17. Amos iv. 10. Other calamities are of a more private nature and are either inflicted on wicked men by way of punishment for sin ; wherefore should a living man complain, a man fdt the punishment of his sins ? Lam. iii. 39. or they are inflicted on good men in love, and as fatherly corrections and chastisements ; for whom the Lord loveth, he chasten eth, and scourgeth every son that he rectiveth, Heb. xii. 6. wicked men, though they prosper are not so happy as they may be thought to be; for as our Lord says, A man's life, that is the happiness of it, ttnsisieth not in the abundance of the things which hepsssesstth, Luke xii. 15. Some have much, and have not a power to make use of it, either for their own comfort or the good of others j and where is the difference, between having and not having it ? others on the contrary are profuse and extravagant, and live very luxurious and debauched lives, and bring upon themselves painful or nauseous diseases, and distress of mind: so that they have neither ease of body nor peace of conscience, but racking pain and dreadful remorses; some, their .abundance will not suffer them to sleep, either through fear of losing what they have by thieves, &c. or through care, contriving schemes to encrease it; and some, envy seizes them and gnaws upon them, and they cannot enjoy themselves because a neighbour exceeds them in grandeur and wealth. A good man, though afflicted, is not so unhappy as is imagined ; he has more peace, than the wicked rich man in all his abunr dace; see Psal. xxxvii. 16. Prov.xv. 16* 17. besides,the good man, though poor in one sense, is rich in a better ; he is possessed of the riches of grace, and is entitled to the riches of glory. Hereafter the wicked rich man, will have his evil things; and Lazarus, the afflicted man will have his good things ; the one will be tormented, and the other comforted j and then justice will shine in its true lustre and glory.
3. There are the evils of fault, or sinful actions, from which the ., providence of God is not to be excluded. This is the greatest difficulty to be met with in the article of providence. There are two things to be set down for certain and eternal truths whether we are capable of reconciling them to our own satisfaction and that of othersi or not; the one is, that God is not and cannot be the author of sin ; the other is, that the providence of God has a concern with and in all sinful actions in some .sense or another. That God is not the author of sin is most certain, there is nothing siuful in his nature ; wherefore let no man say, ,when he is tempted, Jam tempted of God, James i. 13. and on the other hand, to exclude the providence of God from all concern in the sinful actions of men, is contrary to the independency of God, in whom all live and move and have their being, moreover to ex..mpt the providence of God from all concern in all sinful action, or in actions to which sin is annexed, would be to banish providence, in a good measure, out of the world ; Let the following things be observed for the settling of this point, and the removing of the above difficulty,
1. God supports men in their being, whilst they are sinning. He could have struck Ananias and Sapphira dead, before they committed the sin they did ; but he did not.—2. God in innumerable instances, does not hinder the commission of sin, when he could do it, if he would : that he can do it is certain, because he has done it ; he withheld Abimelech, Gen. xx. 6. and he that withheld Abimelech. could have withheld Adam, and any of his sons from sinning, whom he has not. He restrained Liiban from hurting Jacob, as Laban himself owned ; and hindered Baalam from cursing Israel, which he would gladly haVe done. And so God could prevent the innumerable sins of men, which yet he does not. We, as creatures are bound to hinder all the evil we can; but God is under no such obligation.—3. God permits sin to be done, or suffers to be in his providence. This is the language of scripture; Who in time past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways; and these ways were sinful ones, Acts xiv. 16. This permission is not a connivance at sin ; nor a concession or grant of it; much less does it express any approbation of it; nor is it barely a leaving men to the liberty of their wills, to do as they please ; as Moses suffered the Jews to put away their wives when they pleased ; as though he were careless and indifferent about it: nor is it a/mere naked permission, but a voluntary one. 4. God is represented as active in things relative to it, he not only suffers men to walk in their sinful ways, but he gives them up to their own hearts' lusts; he gives them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things whicb are not convenient; he sends t/iem strong delusions, that they may believe a lie, Psal. Ixxxi. 12. Rom. i. 28. 2 Thess. ii. 11. Joseph's brethren sold him into Egypt, but God sent him thither. 5. It will be proper to distinguish between an act, and the obliquity of it; every action as an action, a natural one, is of God, the first Mover; but the obliquity and irregularity of the action, as it swerves from the rule of God's law, is from man: this is sometimes illustrated by divines, in such an instance as this. The sun in the firmament, when it exhales a nauseous scent from a dunghill, is the cause of the exhalation; but it is not the cause of the ill scent of it, that arises from the dunghill itself. So, 6. God in his providence, may put in the way of persons, things that are good in themselves; which may give an opportunity, and be the occasion of drawing out the corruptions of men's hearts; thus God in his providence directed Joseph to dream, and tell his dreams, which drew upon him the envy of his brethren ; and God put it into the heart of Jacob to send him to visit them in the fields, where they were feeding their flocks, and gave them an opportunity to form and execute evil against him. God gives to some men wealth and riches, and these are the occasions of much sin to them. He gives a law which forbids men to sin, but, as the apostle says, Sin taking occasion kti the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence, Rom. vii. 8. The gospel also sent to men, is the occasion of stirring up the corruption of their nature, their pride and pas. sions, to an opposition to it, and it becomes the savour of death Xtnto death unto them, 2 Cor. ii. 16, &c. 1. The concern of providence about sinful actions further appears in limiting and set. ting bounds; as to the waves of the sea, saying, hitherto shall thou come, and no further. Thus Joseph's brethren were restrained by the over-ruling providence of God; their first scheme was to put him to death ; this was disconcerted by Reuben, who proposed putting him into a pit, and let him starve there; from this also they were diverted by a motion of Judah's—8. God, in the affairs of providence, is to be considered as the Rector and Governor of the world, and the Judge of the whole earth; and in this branch of it, respecting sin, which he overrules either for the punishment of those who commit it, or of others, or else for good ; he sometimes punishes one sin with another. Plato says, a licence to sin, is the greatest punishment of sin. Sometimes God over-rules the sins of men for good; as the sin of Adam, for the glorifying of his perfections ; the crucifixion of Christ for the salvation of men, and Joseph's being sold into Egypt, for the saving many persons alive, Gen. 1. 20. To conclude this article of providence, let it be observed,—-\. That all the providences of God are executed in the wisest manner ; though they may not sometimes appear clear to us, O the depth of the riches, &c. Rom. xi: 33. 2. They are all done in the most holy and righteous manner, The Lord is righteous in all his ways, mnd holy in all his tvtrks, Psal. cxlv. 17. 3. They are executed with power irresistable; they are immutably performed, according to the unchangeable will of God, who works all things in providence after the counsel of his will; he does what he pleases. Wherefore, we should give to him the glory of all; observe with wonder and gratitude, the several steps of it, respecting ourselves and others; and put our trust in him for things temporal and spiritual; and at all times cast our care upon him, who cares for us ; seeing it is, and always will be, well with the righte, mis, in time and to all eternity.
OF THE CONFIRMATION OF THE ELECT, AND THE FALL OF THE NON.ELECT ANGELS.
Whereas there was a distinction made between them, of elect and non-elect, as has been shewn in a preceding chapter. I shall take notice,
I. Of the confirmation of the elect angels. Now the government of rational creatures is in a moral way by giving a law to them, as the rule of their obedience; and such a law was given to angels, not of a positive nature, nor a law in the form of a covenant; but it was a law implanted in their nature, the same in substance with the moral law writttn, so far as the precepts of it are suitable to spiritual substances; for such of them, and so much of them, as relate to the body and to corporeal actions, cannot agree with angels who are incorporeal. The obedience of angels was due to God, and could ' merit nothing pf him ; nor was their confirmation owing to the merits of Christ. But to the free favour and good will of God choosing them to a state of holiness and hnppines ; and to his putting them under the care and charge of Christ, as the Head of all principally and power, 1 Tim. v. 21. In this state of constant obedience and perfect holiness, they are immutably fixed by the will of God, as appears by their enjoy. ment of the presence of God perpetualK, they are called the angels of heaven; theirconstant and perfect obedience to the will of God, is made the pattern of obedience to it in men, Matt. vi. 10. The consummate happiness of the saints at the resurrection, being like to theirs; which supposes them to have continued in their original state. At the second coming of Christ, he shall descend from heaven with his mighty angels; the wicked will be tormented with fire and brimstone in their presence ; and consequendy the holy angels will be free from that torment.
II. The next remarkable event respecting angels, is the sin and fall of the non.elect angels. The heathens seem to have had some notion of the fall of the evil angels; for Plutarch speaks of daemons or devils, as expelled by the gods, and fallen from heaven. These angels, in their original estate of creation, were in a capacity of obeying the law that was given them; the estate they are now in, is not that in whi.h they were made ; it is expressly said of them, that they kept not their first estate, and abode not in the truth. Jade 6. which supposes a better estate than what they are now in ; but being left to the freedom of their will, which was mutable, they sinned and fell, to which fall of theirs, our Lord has respect, when he says, I beheld Satan, as lighteningy fall from heaven, Luke x. 18. Now concerning this the following things may be enquired into. i. What was the sin of the angels, by which they fell ? this cannot be said with precision, the scriptures being silent about it; yet it is generally supposed, and it is probable from the scriptures, that their sin was, 1. Pride; and which seems probable from 1 Tim. iii. 6, N t a novice, lest being lifted up with pride, he fall into the condemnation of the devil; being guilty of the same sin, he is in danger of the same condemnation, pride goes before destruction, Prov. xvi. 18. They might first begin with contemplating their own perfections and excellences; as their wisdom, knowledge, strength, &c. which might issue in an over.weening opinion of themselves. This may be thought to be confirmed from the manner in which they tempted our first parents to rebel against God ; Te shall be as gods, knowing good and evil, Gen. iii. 5. as also by all the methods they have since taken to get themselves worshipped as gods, 2 Cor. iv. 4. 1 Cor. x. 20. Satan has prevailed upon the poor Indians, both eastern and western, to worship him openly as a devil; and nothing can be a greater instance of his pride, arrogance, and impudence, than the proposal he made to Christ, to give him all tht kingdoms of this world, if he would but fall down and worship him. 2. Some have thought that envy was the sin of the devils by which they fell; led thereunto by a saying in the Apocryphal book of Wisdom, Chap. ii. 24. By the envy of the devil, death entered into the world: envy and pride are inseparable;
the apostle joins these sins together, Jam A iv. 5, 6. the angels might envy the superior power and excellencies of God himself. And especially they might be envious at the Son of God, who they might understand, would in time assume human nature ; though the end and design of it they might not know ; and that in that nature he would sit at the right hand of God, which they were not admitted to. Satan always sought to oppose Christ in his person and offices; and hence he set up antichrist, whose doctrines are doctrines of devils. 3. Unbelief may also be taken into the account of the sin of the angels; they must disbelieve the eternal power of God, and his truth and faithfulness to his word, or they would not have dared to have sinned against him ; indeed their sins seem to be a complication of iniquity ; of pride, envy, and unbelief.— ii. There are several questions commonly asked, relative to the fall of angels ; to which a short answer may be returned ; as, 1. How and by what means they came to fall? they had no tempter ; there were no creatures in being capable of tempting them to sin : this is always spoken of as their own voluntary act and deed. It is very probable, that one of them famous above the rest for wisdom and strength, might begin the apostacy, and others followed his example. 2. It is sometimes asked, When the angels fell? to which may be answered, Not before the sixth day of the creation; for on the sixth day, when all the creatures were made : God saw every thing that be had made, and beheld it was very good. However, certain it is. that the fall of angels was very early: since the devil isi called a murderer from the b,ginning, John viii. 44. 3. This question is sometimes put, What number of the angels fell ? This cannot be said with any precision ; some have thought that as many fell as stood ; grounding it on a passage in Ezek. xli. 18. where it is said, that on the wall of the temple were carved, cherubim and palm-trees, a palm tree between a cherub and a cherub; by ch•rubim they understand angels, and by palm-trees good men, said to flourish like the palm-tree; and who are supposed to fill up the places of fallen angels; bat such a sense of the text cannot easily be established.—» Others have thought, that not so many fell as stood; since evil angels are never said to be innumerable, as the good angels are, Heb. xii. 22. Others fancy that a third part of the angels fell, this they take from Rev. xii. 4. where the dragon is said to draw with his tail the third part of the stars offit a. ven. It is certain that not a few of the angels, but many of them fell; so many possessed one man as to be called a legion, which consisted of some hundreds : yea, it seems there are various kinds of them, our Lord says, this kind goelh not out but by prayer and fasting, Matt. xii. 24, 26. Hi. The state and condition into which the angels were brought by sin, may next be considered. They were originally angels of light; full of light, knowledge, and understanding, but by sinning are become angels of darkness. They were once pure and holy creatures, but through their sin and fall, became unclean spirits, Matt. xiii. 38. Once they were lovers of God, , and of their fellow-creatures, but now at enmity to God, and all that is good, and spiteful and malicious to mankind. Satan is called emphatically the enemy. IV. Their punishment > and which is both of loss and sense ; they have lost the favour and presence of God, and they sensibly feel his wrath and indignation on them; the apostle Peter says, they were cast down to hell, 2 Pet. ii. 4. but where that is, it is not easy to say ; very probably upon their ejection outol heaven, they fell down into the air, since Satan is said to be the prince of the power of the air* Eph. ii. 2. from whence by divine permission they descend and patrol; they do not seem to have their full punishment inflicted on them; or are not yet in full torment, as may be learned from their words to Christ, Art thou come hither to torment us before our time ? Matt. viii. 29. and nre said to be reserved unto judgment, and unto the judgment of the great day; when their full sentence will be pronounced upon them.
* It was a notion of the Chaldeans, that the air is full of Damons, Lcart. £roem. ad. Vit. Plains, p. 5
OF MAN IN A STATE OF INNOCENCE*
Having considered the first and principal events of providence respecting angels, I shall proceed to consider such as respect man.
I. His being placed in the garden of Eden, as an inhabit tant to dwell in, for the support of his animal life ; and for his exercise in the culture and dressing of it. i. As his habitation ; And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden : and there he put the man whom be had formed, Gen. ii. 8. Though Adam was heir and lord of the whole world, yet there was one particular spot more excellent than all the resfy assigned him for his residence; even as a king of a large country has his royal seat, palace, and court in some particular part of it: this garden of Eden was not the whole world, as some have thought: this is clear from the man being said to be put into it when created, which shews that he was formed without it: we read of a land that was at the east of it; see Gen. iv. 16. It is called the garden of God; any spot that was uncommonly fruitful and delightful, is compared unto it, Gen. xiii. 10. Where this garden was, cannot be said with any certainty, whether in Armenia, Assyria, or in Judea) most probably it was in Mesopotamia, since we read of an Eden along with some places in that country, Isai. xxxvii. 12; However, it was so delightful a spot, at its first plantation, that the church of Christ is compared unto it, and is called, in al.* lusion to it, a garden inclosed—&n& her plants, an ir chard, or paradise of pomegranates, Cant. iv. 12, 13. Moreover, it was an emblem of the heavenly state, which is therefore called paradise, Luke xxiii. 43. ii. Adam was put into the gaideft of Eden for the support of his animal life, where grew trees, not only pleasant to the sight, but good for food; and Adam was allowed to eat of them all excepting one, Gen. ii. '16, 17. There are two trees particularly taken notice of; the tree of life, in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowled, t of gold and evil: the former is so called, because with the oher trees «f the garden, it was a means of maintaining Adam's animal
life, and perhaps the chief means of it:. it was a token that Adam had his natural life from God, the God of his life; and that it depended upon him, and that he might expect the continuance of it so long as he kept his state of integrity: it was also an emblem of Christ, who is therefore called the tree of life, Rev. xxii. 2. There was another tree, called the tree of knowledge, ofgood and evil, what that tree was, cannot be said; it is generally supposed to be the apple tree, founded upon a passage in cant. viii. 5. It had its name, not from any virtue it had of ripening the rational powers of man, and of encreasing and improving his knowledge, as say the Jews, who take Adam to be but a great baby, an infant in knowledge; whereas his knowledge of God, and of things natural and moral, was very great: and besides had he wanted knowledge, this tree could not be the means of accelerating and increasing it, since he was forbid to eat of it. But it was so called, either because God hereby tried and made known, whether Adam would obey his will or not; or eventually, since Adam knew by sad experience, what the good was he had lost, and might have enjoyed, nt- Adam was put into the garden of Eden to dres it end to keep it, Gen ii. 15. for the culture of it. This was a proper exercise for man in his state of innocence; for it was never the will of God that men should in any state live an idle life. Yet the work of man in the garden, was without toil and fatigue, he did not eat his bread with the sweat of his brow, as after his fall; but his service in it was attended with the utmost delight and pleasure; nor was it at all dishonourable to him, nor inconsistent with the high, honourable, and happy. estate in which he was. iv. What added to the delight and fruitfulness of the garden of Eden, was a river that went out of it to water it; which was parted into four heads or branches, the names of which were Pison, Gihon, and Hiddekel or Tigris, and Euphrates; symbols of the gospel, and of the everlasting love of God.
II. Another remarkable event in providence, relating to the honour of man in his state of innocence, is the bringing of all the creatures to him to give names unto them, and whatsoever names he gave them they were called by, Gen. ii. 19. The creatures being brought unto him for such a purpose, whether by the ministry of angels, or by an instinct in them, was putting him into the possession of them, as being their lord and proprietor.
III. Another providential event, and which shews the care of God over Adam, and his concern for him, is providing an help-mate for him, and a partner with him, in civil and religious things, man being a sociable creature, and whereas no suitable one could be found among the creatures, he cast the man into a deep sleep, and took out a rib from him, and of that made a woman, brought her to him, and joined them together in marriage ; which shews that marriage is honourable, being instituted in paradise, and not at all inconsistent .with the pure state of man in innocence; it was also typical of the marriage of Christ, the second Adam, and his church, see £ph. v. 31, 32.
OF THE LAW GIVEN TO ADAM, AND THE COVENANT MADE WITH HIM IN HIS STATE OF INNOCENCE.
J Shall endeavour to shew what that law was, that it was in the form of a covenant, and that Adam was a federal head in it.
I. The law given him was both of a natural and positive kind. The natural law, or law of nature, given to Adam, was con' created with him ; imprinted in his nature from the beginning of his existence ; which appears from the remains of it in the hearts of all men ; and from the inscription of this law, in a spiritual and evangelic manner, on regenerate persons, Jer. xxxi. 33. It is comprised in these two precepts, to which it is reduced by Christ, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God wit/i all thy heart; and thou shali love thy neighbour as thyself. Besides, this natural law, there were others of a positive kind. In all dispensations there have been ordinances of divine service,
there now are, and there were under the former dispensation, and so in a state of integrity. The eating of the fruit of a certain tree, is not the only positive law of God; however, it is certain that was one, which was given as a trial of man's obedience. Be it what it may, in which God is disobeyed, it matters not; and by so much the lesser that is which is forbidden, by so much the greater is the sin of disobedience, the more aggravated, and the more inexcusable,
II. This law given to Adam, taken in its complex view, as both natural and positive, was in the form of a covenant; so (he law given to the people of Israel from mount Sinai, is also called a covenant, Exod. xxiv. 7, and Deut. v. l-<-3. yea, the covenant of grace is called a law, Psal. xi 8. The law given to Adam, is expressly called a covenant, as it should seem in Hos. vi. 7. but they, like men, (or like Adam) h*ve tratisgres$ed the covenant. Besides, the terms by which the positive law given to Adam is expressed, manifestly imply a covenant; as that if he eat of the forbidden fruit, he should surely die; which implies, that if he abstained from it, he should surely Jive. To which may be added, the distinction of two covepants of grace and works, called the law of faith, and the law pf works: and a twofold righteousness and obedience yielding to the one, and to the other, the righteousness which is of faith, and the righteousness which is of the law, Gal. iv. 24. Rom. iii. 27. for without the law of Adam, as a covenant, two covenants cannot be fairly made out. This covenant is by divines called by various names, as a covenant of friendship, a covenant of nature, and the covenant of innocence; it is frequently called a legal covenant, the covenant of works, as the scripture calls it, the law of works, and it sometimes has the name of the covenant of life, from the promise of life in it.
III. As in all covenants there are contracting parties, so in this. God is one of the parties in this covenant; nor was it unworthy of God to enter into a covenant with Adam ; for if it was not unworthy of God to make a covenant of conservation, with Noah; a covenant of circumcision with Abraham, and a covenant of royalty with David ; men in a fallen state ; it could not be unworthv of God to make one with Adam in his perfect state ; yea, even since, on the behalf of his people, he makes a covenant with the beasts of the field, the fowls of the air, and the creeping things of the ground, Hos. ii. 18. The other contracting partj was Adam ; who gave a full and hearty assent to what was proposed to him. i lie stipulation on the part of God, was proposing and promising good, on condition of obedience. The stipulation, or astipulation on the part of man, was his free and full consent to yield the obedience proposed, in expectation of the promise fulfilled; as appears from what t,ve said to the seipent, tempting her; God hath said, ye shall not eat of it, neither shall.ye touch it, lent ye die, Gen. iii. 3. which shews that she and her husband believed what God had said; though it should be observed, that man was not left to his liberty ; it was not at his option, whether he would assent to the proposal in the covenant, and the condition of it ; obedience was due to God, whether he promised him any thing or not. The obedience required of man in this covenant was personal; it was to be performed in his own person, and not by another for him. It was perfect obedience that was required of him, both as to parts and as to degrees; it was to be yielded to all the commandments of God, without exception, and it was to be perpetual; it was not to be done for a time only, but always; life, and the continuance of it, depended on it; otherwise, if a stop was made in it, the law condemned, and tiie man became accursed ; Cursed is every one that contt tueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them, Gal. iii. 10. So that man was bound by it for ever, as a law ; but as considered as the condition of a covenant, it was to be yielded to as such, until man was confirmed in his estate, as the angels are ; and, as some divines think, until he had children arrived to an age capable of obeying or sinning.
IV. The law given to Adam, as it had the nature of a covenant, it contained a promise in it, and had a sanction annexed to it. i. It contained a promise; which was a promise of life, of natural life to Adam, and of a continuation of it so long as he should observe the condition of it; just as life was promised to the Israelites, and a continuance in it, in the land of Canaan, so long as they should observe the law of God ; for neither the law of Moses, nor the law of nature, made promise of any other than of a natural life. Some divines, and these of great name and figure in the churches of Christ, think, and indeed it is most generally received, that Adam continuing in his obedience, had a promise of eternal life. I cannot be of that mind. There is, indeed, an ambiguity in the phrase eternal life; if no more is meant by it, than living for ever in his present life ; it will not be denied ; but if by it is designed such a state of glory and happiness, which saints shall enjoy in heaven to all eternity; that must be denied for the following reasons:— 1. Adam's covenant was but a natural covenant; and which was made with a natural man, and which covenant promised no supernatural blessing, neither grace nor glory ; for as for spiritual blessings, these the elect are blessed with only in heavenly places in Christ, Eph. i. 3.—2. It was in another covenant more early than that of Adam's, in which eternal life was promised and secured.-—3. Eternal life is only through Christ as the Mediator; he came to open the way of it, that we might have life, and that more *bund*ntly.—4. If eternal life could have been by Adam's covenant, it would have been by works ; or that covenant was a covenant of works; and if by works, then not of grace. Eternal life is no other than consummate salvation in the future state; and that it is said to be of grace, and denied to be of works ; see Rom- vi. 23.— 5. Life and immortality, or an immortal, eternal life, and the way to it are only brought to light by the gospel, 2 Tim. i. 10. —6. There is no proportion between the best works of man, even sinless obedience, and eternal life wherefore, though the threatening of death to Adam, contains in it eternal death, it does not follow, that the promise of life includes eternal life: aince though eternal death is the just wages and demerit of sin ; yet eternal life is not the wages and merit of the works of men. n. The sanction of the law and covenant made with 1 Adam, was death ; In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die, Gen. ii. 17. which includes death corporal, spiritual or moral, and eternal.—1. A corporal death, which lies in a separation of soul and body; as this was threatened, so the sentence of it was pronounced on the day man eat of the tree; Dust thou art, and to dust thou shalt return, Gen. iii. 19. —2. A spiritual, or rather moral death seized upon him; which lies in a separation of the soul from God, and communion with him.—3. An eternal death, which consists in a separation of soul and body from God; in a loss of the divine presence, and in a sense of divine wrath.
V. In this covenant Adam acted not as a private person for himself only, but as a federal head and representative of his whole posterity; in this he was alone; Eve was not a federal head with him, he was alone, before an help-mate was found for him. That in the covenant with him he was the federal head of them, appears—1. From Adam being a figure or type of him that was to come ; that is of Christ, Rom. y. 14. Nqw in what was Adam a type of Christ, but in his being the federal head of his posterity ?—2. From Adam being called the first man, and the first Adam, and described as natural and earthly, in distinction from whom, Christ is called the second man, and the last Adam, and described as spiritual, and the Lord from heaven ; and these are represented as if the only two men in the world, because the two heads of their respective offspring.—3. From the threatening taking place upon the sin of Adam, not on himself only, but on all his succeeding offspring; through his offence death reigned over them, and judgment came upon them all to condemnation, and by his disobedience, they were made, accounted, and charged as sinners, Rom. v. 12—19.—4. It was no unusual thing with God to make covenants with men, and their posterity, unborn; thus God made a covenant with Noah, and all that should descend from him ; and with Abraham, and his natural aeed; and the covenant at Horeb, with the children of Israel, was not only with them that were then present, and on the spot, but with those that should be descendants of them.— 5- Nor have any of Adam's posterity reason to complain of such a procedure; since if Adam had stood in his integrity, they would have partook of all the blessed consequences of his standing, and enjoyed all the happiness that he did.—■ 6. Since God, in his infinite wisdom, thought proper that men should have an head and representative of them, in whose• hands their good and happiness should be placed; who so fit for it as the first man, the common parent of mankind, made after the image of God so wise, so holy, just, and good ? could it have been possible for all men to have been upon the spot at once, and it had been proposed to them to choose an head and representative for themselves ; Who would they^ who could they have chosen but the first man, that was their natural patent, of whose blood they were made; and who, they might reasonably think, had the most tender affection for them, and would take the greatest care of them, and of their good, put into his hands ? so that it is reasonable to conclude, they would all to a man have united in the choice of him.—-7. To silence all complaints and murmurings, let it be observed, that what God gave to Adam, as a federal head, he gave it in a Way of sovereignty; that is, he might, and might not have given it; he was not obliged to it; it was his own that he gave and therefore might choose whom he pleased in whose hands to deposit it) and who can say to him, What doest thou i
OF THE SIN AND FALL OF MAN.
L I Shall consider the persons sinning, the same to whom the law was given, and with whom the covenant was made; the common parents of mankind, Adam and Eve; first Eve and then Adam ; for Eve was first in the transgression, and then Adam; though Adam was formed first, Eve sinned first, i. Eve; she was beguiled and deceived by the old serpent the devil, to eat of the forbidden fruit, by which she sinned and fell from her original state. Her sin lay in gi ving credit to what the serpent said, Te shall not surely die; in direct opposition to the word of God, Thou shall surely die. The fruit being of so lovely an aspect, so good for food, and having such a virtue in it as to make wiser, at once there sprung up in her, the lust of the Jlesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life; hence she inwardly sinned, before she eat of the forbidden fruit. Much the same progress may be observed in her sinning, which the apostle James observes of sin in common, James i. 15. When she came to Adam, held it up to him to look at, as most lovely to behold, and commended the .deliciousness of it; and no doubt used the same arguments with him to eat, the serpent had made use of with hert he hearkened to her, eat of it, and sinned also. For, Xi. That Adam sinned as well as Eve, is most certain ; for though it is said, Adam was not deceived; the meaning is, that he was not first deceived ; when she is said to be in the transgression, the sense is, that she was in the transgression first ; we read of Adam's transgression, Rom. v. 14. His sin lay in hearkening to his wife, to her solicitations and requests, upon which it is put, Gen. iii. 17. Some think that he was not deceived by her; that he knew what he did, and what would be the consequence of it; he sinned with his eyes open ; but from a vehement passionate love and affection for her ; because he would not grieve her ; and that she might not die alone, he chose to eat and sin and die with her: but then this was all very criminal. However, Adam sinned, and his sin is more taken notice of than the sin of Eve. ' In Adam all died ; for he being the federal head of all his posterity, he sinned not as a single private person, but as the common head of all mankind, 1 Cor. xv. 21, 22.
II. How creatures so wise and knowing, so holy, just, and good ; made after the image and likeness of God, came to sin as they did, deserves an enquiry : To what could their sin and fall be owing ?—i. Not to God; he forbid if; was displeased with it; and resented it to the highest degree. JLeft us
a little consider what concern God had in this affair. 1. What
he did not do.—-1. He did not restrain the serpent from
tempting ; nor withhold man from sinning. Satan, full of spite
and malice, and moved with envy at the happiness of man,
most freely and voluntarily entered into a scheme to destroy
him ; and our first parents, with the full consent of their wills,
and without any force upon them, took and eat the forbidden
, fruit.—2. God did not withdraw any favour from man he had
bestowed upon him, nor any power and strength to stand
which he had given him ; for when God does any thing of
this kind, it is by way of punishment for a preceding sin or
sins; but no such punishment could be inflicted on Adam,
because as yet he had not sinned ; but God left him in the full
possession of all the powers and abilities he had conferred
upon him; so that he could have stood if he would. Now
these negative acts of God could never make him chargeable
with being the author of Adam's sin and fall. 2. There are
other things which God did do, or which are ascribed unto
him, relative to this affair.—.1. He foreknew the sin and fall
of Adam; if God foreknew the most trivial and contingent
events that befal any of his creatures,' then surely such an
event as the fall of Adam ; now God's fore-knowledge of
things future flows from the determinations of his wilh
Wherefore—2. God pre-determined the fall of Adam ; this
fell under his decree, as all things do that come to pass in the
world ; but then neither the fore-knowledge of God, nor any
decree of God, laid Adam under a necessity of sinning ; it is
true, there arises from hence a necessity of immutability, that
is, that the things God has decreed should unchangeably come
to pass, but not a necessity of co-action or force ; as Judas and
the Jews sinned freely, the one in betraying, the other in put
ing Christ to death ; so Adam sinned freely without force or
compulsion notwithstanding any decree of God concerning
him ; so that these do not make God at all chargeable with
being the author of his sin; he and he alone was the author of
it*—3. God permitted or suffered Adam to sin and fall; he willed, and he did not will the sin of Adam, in different respects; he did not will it as an evil, but as what he would overrule for good, as a great good.—1. There was a concourse of divine providence attending this action. Every action, as an action is from God; but the obliquity, irregularity, and sinfulness of the action is from the creature. 5. God may be said, by planting a garden, and that particular tree, of the knowledge of good and evil in it, and by forbidding him to eat of that fruit, to afford an occasion of sinning to Adam; but had he not a right, as the Lord of the whole world, to plant a garden; and as a sovereign Lord, to plant what tree he pleased in it, and to forbid the eating of it, without being blamed for it ? especially when he gave to Adam a power to abstain from it, had he made use of it; and God can no more on this account be chargeable with being the author of Adam's sin, than by giving wealth and riches to a wicked man, which are occasions of his sinning, by his consuming them on his lusts, N. The concern that Satan had in this affair may next be considered; and what he did was not by force or compulsion, but by persuasion; he acted the part of a tempter, and from thence he has that appellation, Matt. iv. 3. Satan shewed great craftiness and cunning throughout this whole affair ; in making use of the serpent, the most subtle of all creatures, which could easily creep into the garden unobserved, which some other creatures could not; and it might be a very lovely creature to look at, adorned with beautiful spots, and of a.bright shining golden colour, as such creatures in those parts; are said to be: what might make her still more fond of it, was its faculty of speaking; whereby she could converse with it about indifferent things. Satan's cunning also appear- ed in going to work with our first parents so early ; as also making his attack on Eve first, and when she was alone, and her husband not with her, to aid and assist, counsel and protect her. He begun, seemingly, with owning the authority of God, and that he had power to forbid the use of any of the trees of the garden; and only questioned whether he had
done so or not: they must surely misunderstand him, and mistake his meaning: and after this and more conversation, the woman began to doubt whether God had said so or not. Thus they sinned and fell, not through any force and compulsion, but through the temptation of Satan, and his seduction. in. The sin, fall, and ruin of man were of himself. It was not through ignorance and want of knowledge that Adam fell, he was created after the image of God, one part' of which lay in wisdom and knowledge. Nor was it through a defect of holiness and righteousnes in him ; for God made man upright, endowed him with rectitude and holiness of nature ; but as he was made mutable, which he could not otherwise be, he was left to the mutability of his will, and so sinned. Should it be said, Why did God make man mutable ? it might as well be asked, Why did he not make him God? for immutability, in the strict sense of it, is peculiar to God. Should the question be altered, \Vhy did not he confirm him in the state in which he was created, as he confirmed the elect angels ? Is this good divinity? The truest answer is, that it did notsoseem good in his sight. To shew his sovereignty, he confirmed the elect angels : but did not confirm, as not the rest of the angels, so neither man. And this should satisfy,
OF THE NATURE, 8&c. OF THE SIN OF MAN.
First, the nature of it may be learned in some measure from the names it goes by ; it is called sin, and the sin, the grand sin, the first and fountain of all sin among men, Horn. v. 12. It is called a transgression, v. 14. a transgression of the law, as every sin is defined, 1 John iii. 4. It is called disobedience, Rom. v. 19. disobedience to the will of God, and to his law; and as obedience to God is well pleasing to him ; so disobedience, in any case, is highly resented by him. It is often called th' offence, it being in its nature, and in all its circumstances, very offensive to God, and abominable in. his sight.
II. The aggravations of this sin were, the place where it was committed, and the time when, with other things. i. With, v.
respect to place; it was committed in the garden of Eden. Had it been in a remote part of the world, or in a desert where, this tree grew, and where scarce anything else was to be had; it would in some measure have extenuated the crime ; but in a garden, where he had enough of every thing, it was a very aggravated crime ; and by how much the less that was which was forbidden him, by so much the greater was his crime in not abstaining from it; 11. With respect to the time when it was committed ; that is, how long after the creation of our first parents. This cannot be precisely determined; some make the time after it too long, and others too short. Some think that the first Adam kept his state of integrity as lorjg as the second Adam lived here on earth; but this is a mere fancy. Some have supposed that he fell on the tenth day of September, and they suppose the creation of the world began with that month ; so that as Adam was created on the sixth day, his standing could be no longer than three or four days ; and this is supposed for no other reason, but because the Jews in after times, had their grand feast on that day. Others are of opinion, that he fell the same da\ he was created ; but the text on which it is founded will not support ir, Psal. xlix. 12. However, it must be very early that man fell, since Satan is said to be a murdereryrom the beginning, John viii. 44. Now this was an aggravation of Adam's sm, that he should be guilty of it so soon. Hi, The sin of Adam was a complicated one ; he sinned against light and knowledge, when he was in full power to have resisted the temptation : it was the height of ingratitude to his Maker, and a want of thought, of care, concern, and affection for his posterity, with whose all he was intrusted. Some have laboured to make it appear, that Adam by his sin transgressed the whole Decalogue, or the law of the ten commandments, and no doubt but many, the most, if not all were broken,
III. The sad effects and consequences of this sin. i. A loss of original righteousness followed upon it. This was signified by the nakedness of our first parents, which was immedi. ately perceived by them after their fall. n. Guilt on the consciences of our first parents presently appeared, and thai in an endeavour to hide themselves from the presence of God, among the trees of the garden. Fear followed upon a consciousness of guilt in Adam; / zvas afraid, &c. as there is in every man more or less, a fearful looking for of judgment and indignation. Through guilt, shame, and fear, Adam hid himself, but to no purpose ; there is no fleeing from the presence of God, and yet such a notion possesses his posterity, Rev. vi. 15—17. in. Loss and want of knowledge and understanding, were soon perceived in him. The last instance of hiding himself, betrays his ignorance and folly, as if the trees in the garden could secure him from the sight and vengeance of the Almighty ; instead of gaining the knowledge he unlawfully sought after, he lost much of what he had ; his posterity are represented as foolish, ignorant, and devoid of understanding; There is none that understandeth, Rom. iii. 11. iv. Our first parents, upon their sinning, were immediately obnoxious to the curse of the law, and it was pronounced on them, along with the serpent. Adam upon his sinning, was at once stript of the immortality of the body, which God had bestowed on it, and became mortal: a spiritual or moral death seized upon all the powers and faculties of his soul; and eternal death is the just wages of sin, which is no other than the wrath of God revealed against all unrighteousness, and which comes upon the children of disobedience, Eph. ii. 3. This is the grand curse, the flying roll in Zechariah's vision, that goes over the whole face of the earth, and cuts off the sinner on this, and on the other side; and which the wicked will hear at last denounced on them, Go ye cursed ! But the righteous will be saved from it, because Christ has redeemed them from the curse of the law, and delivered them from wrath to come. v. Ejection out of paradise is another thing which followed on the sin of Adam ; So he drove out the man, Gen. iii. 24. there are many other effects of the sin and fall of Adam ; as general corruption and depravity of all the powers and faculties of the soul: the
members of the body yielded as instruments of unrighteousness ; a propensity and proneness to all that is sinful; a disinclination to all that is good, yea, an aversion to it; an inability to do any thing that is spiritually good: this is what we commonly call the corruption and depravity of nature, the effect of the first sin of Adam. This is the pandora, from whence have sprung all spiritual maladies, and bodily diseases ; all disasters, distresses, mischiefs, and calamities.
OF THE IMPUTATION OF ADAM'S SIN
TO HIS POSTERITY.
Two things follow on Adam's sin with respect to his posterity ; the imputation of the guilt of it to them, and the corruption of nature derived to them from it. I shall begin with the first, which is expressed in very strong terms, Rom. v. 19. For as by one man's disobedience, many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shallmany bemade righteous. To set this doctrine in the best light I can, I shall observe the act of disobedience, by which men are made sinners.—Who they are that are made sinners by it.—In what sense they are made so through it.
I. The act of disobedience; whose it is, and what. i. Whose it is: It is sometimes expressed by one that sinned; and more than once called, the offence of one, Rom. v. 15. and yet more clearly, By one man sin entered; and is called one man's offence, and one man's disobedience, 12—19. The common parent of all makind is expressed by name; this offence and disobedience is called the transgression of Adam ; and so 1 Cor. xv. 22. in Adam all die. 2. What this disobedience was, appears from what has been already said, it was disobedience to the law and will of God, in eating the fruit which he had forbid ; so disbelieving the word of God, and giving credit to the serpent. It was this one act of disobedience, by which Adam's posterity were made sinners. No sooner had Adam committed this first sin, by which the covenant with him was broke, but he ceased to be a covenant.head; he was no more in a capacity of yielding sinless obedience; and so could not procure life fot himself and his ; wherefore he no longer standing as a federal.head to his posterity, they had no more concern with his after sins, than with his repentance and good works, both of which, no doubt were performed by him; yet by his repentance they are not reckoned repenting sinners ; nor are his good works accounted to them.
II. Who they are that are made sinners by the disobedience of Adam. They are said to be many ; not only Adam and Eve, who were ti ansgressors, and so became guilty and polluted sinners, but even all the;r posterity, descending from them by ordinary generation, were made sinners hereby, A* by one man, sin entered into the world, and death by sin ; and so death passed upon all men. for that or in whom all have sinned, Rom. v. 12. By the offence of one, judgment came upon oilmen to condemnation, v. 18. I say, all descending from him by ordinary generation, are made sinners by his sin, and none else. Had God made more worlds than one, and worlds of men too; yet as these would n' thave descended from Adam, they would have had no concern in his sin : had God rai.ed up children to Abraham out of stones, which he could have done; yet such so raised up in such a miraculous mannner, and not descending from Adam, could not be affected with his sin ; and for a like reason the human nature of Christ must be excepted from any concern in it. Christ was an head to Adam, as he was chosen in him, given to him in covenant to be redeemed and saved by him; but Adam was no head to him; The head of Christ is God, and he only, 1 Cor. xi. 3.
III. In what sense Adam's posterity are made sinners by his disobedience. Not by imitation, as say the Pelagians ; men may become more sinful by imitation, but they do not at first become sinful by it. But this cannot be the case here ; for,—1. Death the effect of Adam's sin, and the punishment inflicted for it, takes place on such who never sinned after the similitude of Adam,s transgression, Rom. v. 14. namely, infants dying in their infancy. Now since death, which is the punishment of sin, takes place on them, that supposes guilt, or otherwise punishment could not injustice be inflicted on ihemj and as they are not made sinners by Adam's sin through imitation of it, they must become guilty, or be made sinners in some other way. 2. Death, the effect of Adam's sin, and the punishment of it, takes place on such as never he ard of it; and consequently cannot be made sinners by it, through imi* tatioD of it. They that are without law, perish without law, being sinners ; and therefore as they cannot be made sinners by Adam's sin, through imitation of it, they must be made so another way; see Kom. ii. 12—15. 3. This sense makes a man no more a sinner by Adam's disobedience, than he is by the disobedience of his immediate parents, or any other whose ill examples he follows. Adam seems to be too remote an ancestor to imitate; more likely immediate parents ; and yet children do not follow the examples of their parents, bad or good. Indeed, sin in general does not come by imitation; but it is from a corrupt nature; and there are many sins which are never seen committed, yet are committed by those who never saw them; as murder, acts of uncleanness, &c. Did Cain sin by imitation when he murdered his brother ? Did Lot's daughters sin by imitation when thev contrived to commit incest with their father ? It is possible that defects in nature may meet in one man, so as he was born blind, deaf, and dumb ; and not capable of seeing and hearing, and knowing what sins are committed, and yet be as vicious as any of the sons of Adam. Nor is the sense of the phrase, '* made sinners by one man's disobedience," what the more modern Pelagians and Arminians give into; that by a metonomy of the effect, sin being put for the punishment of it, men become sufferers, or are obnoxious to death, and suffer death on the account of Adam's disobedience: this is to depart from the common and constant sense of this word, sinners. Nor can any instance be given of the apostles use of the word in this sense, either in the context or elsewhere, it always signifying a sinful, guilty, and defiled creature ; one that is guilty of a
crime, and obnoxious to death for it; it is contrary to the apostles scope and design in the context, which was to shew how death came into the world, namely, by sin. Besides, it is granting us too much for themselves ; it makes their cause indefensible, for if men are obnoxious to death, even though but a corporal dcath, they must have a conctrn in it, and be, in some way or other, guilty of it; or such a punishment, in justice, could not be inflicted on them. What greater punishmem is there among men, for the most enormous crime, than death ? And why should men suffer death for Adam's sin, of which they are in no sense guilty. Nor is the sense of the phrase," made sinnersjby one mans disobedience,"that Adam's posterity dtrive a corrupt nature from him, through his sin ; this is indeed a truth, but not the truth of this passage; it is true that all men art. made of one man's blood, and that blood tainted with sin. But then there is a difference between be. ing made sinners, and becoming sinful, the one respects the gui't, the other the pollution of nature; the one is previous to the other, and the foundation of it; men receive a corrupt nature from their immediate parents, but they are not made sinners by any act or acts of their disobedience: It remains that the posterity of Adam are only made sinners through the imputation of his disobedience unto them. This imputation is not to be considered in a moral sense, as the action of a man committed by himself, whether good or bad, is adjudged and reckoned unto him as his own, whether in a way of praise or dispraise; as the zealous good work of Phineas, in slaving two persons in the very act of sin, was counted unto him for righteousness ; that is, was judged, reckoned, and esteemed a righteous, worthy, and commendable action ; but in a forensic, judicial, and law-sense, as when one man's debts ore in a legal way placed to the account of another, as if they Were his, though not personally contracted by him. This sense is to be confirmed and illustrated,—1. From the signification of the word used, Katestatftesan, constitutes in a judicial way, just as Christ was made sin, or a sinner by tmputa. von, by the constitution of God, as if he had committed the sins, though he had not; and not imputing the trespasses to them, though they were the actual transgressors. 2..From its being the disobedience of another, by which men are made sinners, and therefore they can in Do other way be made sinners by it; than by the imputation of it to them. 3. From the punishment inflicted on persons for it. The punishment threatened to Adam in case of disobedience to the law and will of God, was death, Gen. ii. 17. be that condemnation to a corporal, or to a moral, or to an eternal death, to any or all of them, it supposes them guilty of that offence, and 'hat ihe guilt of that offence is made over to them, and reckoned as theirs, which can only be done by imputation; or they cannot be righteously condemned and punished for it in either sense. 4. That this is the sense of the clause, made sinner* b., the disobedience ofonet appears from the opposite clause; so by the obedience of one sba'l many be made righteous: now the many ordained to eternal life, for whom Christ died, and whom he justified, are made righteous, or are justified only through the imputation of his righteousness to them, and he is made sin by the imputation of their sins to him, 2 Cor. v. 21. In like manner are Adam's posterity, or all men made sinners through the imputation of his disobedience to them. It is no objection, that Adam's disobedience or sin is not now in act;~as soon as it was committed as an act, it ceased; and therefore not to be imputed. The same may be objected to the obedience of Christ. The sins of the saints before the coming of Christ, ceased to be in act as soon as committed ; and yet Christ died for the redemption of transgressions that were un. der the first Testament, and the sins of all the people of God were laid upon him by imputation. Though this imputation. is God's act, it makes him no more the author of sin, than the imputation of Christ's obedience, makes God the author of that obedience ; as not God, but Christ, is the author of the obedience imputed ; so not God, but Adam, is the author of that disobedience Imputed to his posterity; nor is this doctri e chargeable with cruelty and injustice. Subjecting children to penalties for the sins of their parents, is justified by the laws, customs, and usages of all nations, who make treason punishable in the posterity of men. A nobleman when he commits treason against his sovereign, is not only striptof his titles, honour, ana estates himself, but his children are also, and rtduced to poverty and misery, until the attainder is ta» ken off. And if treason against an earthly king is punishable in this manner, then much more treason against the King of kings, and Lord of lords, as Adam's sin was. The text in Ezec. xviii. 2—-4. is not to the purpose; that the proverb, The father's have eaten sour grapes, and the childrtrCt teeth art tti on tdge, should be no more used in Israel, but the soul that sins should die; since this speaks not a word of Adam ; but of good men, and just men, thatdonot follow their father's evil wa\ s, and so shall not be punished for any sins of theirs, and is restrained to a certain case and time. The case of the man born blind, is also quite impertinent, since that also respects pot Adam's, gin, but the sin of man and his parents, and a particular disaster, blindness. To close this point, let it be observed, that the ground of the imputation of Adam's sin to his posterity, is not his being the natural head, but the ground is the federal headship of Adam ; that Adam stood in this relation, has been proved in a former chapter, and vindicated from exceptions to it.
OF THE CORRUPTION OF HUMAN NATURE.
I. I Shall prove that there is such a depravity and corruption of mankind, i. The heathens themselves have acknowledged and lamented it; they assert, that no man is bom without sin ; that there is a fatal portion of evil in all when born, and that the cause of viciosity is rather from our first parents, and from first principles, than from ourselves; Cicero particularly laments that men should be brought into life by naiure as a stepmother, with a naked, frail, and infirm body, and with a mind or soul prone to lusts.—2. Revelation asserts it; the scriptures abound with testimonies of it, see Job xiv. 4. John iii. 6. Rom. iii. 9. Gen. vi. 5. Jer. xvii. 9. Matt. xv. 19.—3. Reason confirms it, that so it must be ; that if a tree is corrupt, it can bring forth no other than corrupt fruit ; that if the root of mankind is unholy the branches must be so too. —4. All experience testifies the truth of this; no man was ever born into the world without sin ; no one has ever been exempt from this contagion and defilement of nature, there is none that doeth good, no not one, Rom. iii. 10. of all the mil. lions of men that have proceeded from AJam by ordinary generation, not one has been found without sin.—5. The necessity of redemption by Christ, and of regeneration by the Spirit of Christ, shews that men must be in a corrupt state, or there would have been no need of these. Regeneration, and sanctification are absolutely necessary to a man's enjoy, ment of eternal happiness ; except a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God; and without holiness no man shall see the Lord, John iii. 3. Heb. xii. 14. but what occasion would there have been for man's being born again, or having a new or supernatural birth, if he was not defiled by his first and natural birth ; or of being sanctified, if he was not unholy and unclean.
II. The names by which this corruption of nature is expressed in scripture deserve notice, since they not onh serve to give more light into the nature of it, but also to confirm it; it is often called sin itself, Rom. vii. 8, &c. It has the name of indwelling sin ; the apostle speaks of it as such with respect to himself, sin that dwtlleth in me, Rom. vii. 17. it is not what comes and goes, or is only a visitor now and then, but an inhabitant, and a very troublesome one ; it is like the spreading leprosy in the house, which was not to be cured until the house was pulled down. It is said to be the law of sin, and a law in the members; which has force, power, and authority with it, Rom. vii. 23. Sometimes it is called the body of sin, because it consists of various parts and members. as a body does; it is an aggregate, or an assemblage of sins, and ineludes all in it, Rom. vi. 6. Sometimes it goes by the name of the old man, because it is the effect of the poison of tht;o!d serpent; it is near as old as the first man ; and is as old as every man in whom it is, Eph. iv. 22. Very often it is called flesh, because it is propagated by the flesh, and is carnal and corrupt, and is opposed to the spirit or principle of grace, which is from the Spirit of God. Once more, it is named lust or concupiscence; which is sin itself, and the mother of alt sin; it consists of various branches, called fleshv lusts, and worldly lusts, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, The Jews commonly call it, the evil figment, or imagination.
III. This corruption of nature is universal, i. With respect to the individuals of mankind. This corruption, immediately upon the sin of our first parents, took place. Their immediate offspring took the contagion from them ; the first man born into the world, Cain, the corruption of nature soon appeared in him ; nor could he be easy umil he had shed his brother's blood, which he did: and though Abel is called righteous Abel, as he was, through the righteousness of Christ, yet he was not withont sin ; or otherwise, why did he offer sacrifice, and by faith looked to the sacrifice of Christ, which was to be offered up to make attonement for his sins, and those of others ? In the room of Abel, whom Cain slew, God raised up another seed to Adam, whom he begot in his own likeness, after his image ; not in the likeness and image of God. The posterity of this man, and of Cain, peopled and filled the whole world before the flood. The account given of them is this, that the eanh was corrupt through them ; and that the imagination of the thoughts of man's heart was only evil continually, Gen. iv. 25. As for the inhabitants of the new world, who sprung from Noah and his three sons, who descended in a right line from Seth, much the same is said of them, Gen. viii. 21. In short, all nations of the earth were a seed of evil doers, a people laden with iniquity ; They are corrupt, &?c. Psal. xiv. 1—3. see Hum. iii. y—12. The conten
tions and wars which have been in the world, in all ages, are a strong and continued proof of the depravity of human nature ;for these come of lusts that war in the members, James iv. 1. Look over ihr histories of all ages, and of all nations in them, and you will find ihem full; all events which have rism from the pride, ambition, and lusts of men ; even among the people of God: such that say they have no sin, deceive themselves, and the truth is not in them. 11. This corruption of nature is general, with respect to the parts of man, to all the powers and faculties of his soul, and to the members of his bod. .—1. To the powers and faculties of the soul of man, his heart is deceitful and desperately wicked ; yea, the imagination of the thoughts of his heart, the very substratum of thought; tht understanding is darkened through the blind* ness and ignorance ihat is in it; the affections are inordinate, run in a wrong channel, and are fixed on wrong objects.— 2. All the members of the body are dt filed with it; the tongue is a world of iniquity itself, and defiles the whole body ; the several members of it are used as instruments of unrighteousBess, Rom. iii. as the throat, lips, mouth, and feet, all employed in the service of sin.
IV. The time when the corruption of nature takes place in man; the lowest date of it is his youth; The imagination of man's heart is eviljrom 'tis youth, Gen. viii. 21. This depravity of nature is in some passages carried up higher, even to man's birth; The wkktd are estranged from the womb; They go astray as soon as they be born, sptaking kes, Psal. Iviii. 3. even such as are born of religious parents, have a religious education, and become religious themselves, are called trans* gressors from the womb, Isai. xlviii. 8. David carries the pollution of his nature still higher, when he says ; Behold I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me, Psal li. 5. He does not say, my sin, and my iniquity, though it was his, being his nature ; but sin and iniquity, in being what was common to him with the rest of mankind, and therefore must design the original corruption of his nature. To this
sense of the words it is objected that David speaks only of his mothers sin ; and broad hints are given that her sin was the sin of adultery. This shews how much the advocates for the purity of human nature are pinched with this passage. Nothing of this kind is suggested in the sacred writings, but on the contrary, that she was a pious and religious person ; David valued himself upon his relation to her, and pleads to be regarded for her sake, Psal. lxxxvi. 16. Besides, if this had been the case, David would have been illegitimate ; and by a law in Israel, would have been forbid entering into the congregation of the Lord, and could not have bore any office in the church or state ; nor did it answer the design and scope of David to expose the sins of others, especially his own parents, whilst he is confessing and lamenting his own; nor does the particle in belong to his mother, but to himself; the sense is not, that his mother being in sin, or that she in and through sin, conceived him ; but that he was conceived being in sin, or that as soon as the mass of human nature was shaped and formed in him*, and soul and body were united together, he was in sin, and sin in him; or he became a sinful creature. It is further urged, that David speaks not of other men, only of himself. But that all mankind are corrupted in the same manner, other passages are full and express for it, Job. xiv. 4. John iii. 6. Psal. lviii. 3. Eph. ii. 3. And if David, a man so famous for early piety and religion, one after God's own heart, whom he raised up to fulfil his will, was tainted with sin in his original formation, then surely the same must be true of all others ; who, after him, can rise up and sav, it was not so with him i Lastly, some will have these words to be figurative, and hyperbolical, and only mean, that he had often sinned from his youth ; but men, in confessing sin, do not usually exaggerate it, but declare it plainly, ingenuously, just as it is ; and indeed the sinfulness of nature, cannot well be hyperbolized.
V. The way and manner in which the corruption of nature is conveyed to men, as to become sinful by it.—1. It cannot be of God, or by infusion from him, he is of purer eyes thaji fcb behold it. Some of the ancient heretics fancied, there were two first principles, or beings; the one good, and the other evil: but this is to make two first causes, and so two god^— 2. Nor can it be by imitation of parents, either first or immediate ; there are some who never sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, and yet die : there are many born into the world who never knew their immediate parents, and therefore could not imitate them. Some their fathers die before they are born ; and some lose both parents before capable of im nation ; and if the taint is at their formation, and before their birth, it is impossible to be by imitation. 3. Nor does this come to pass through souls being in a pre-existent state. Some of the heathen philosophers, as P\ thagoras and Plato, held a pre-existence of souls, before the world was; and which notion was adopted by Origen. Some think this notion was embraced by some of the Jews in Christ's time, and even by some of his followers ; as is urged from John ix. 1—3. but then it is not alio we dof by him. And some moder n christians have imbibed the same Heathenish and Jewish notion, but without any colour of reason or scripture authority. 4. Nor is this to be accounted for by the traduction of the soul front immediate parents; or by the generation of it, together with the body from them. Austin was once inclined to this; but it is so big with absurdities, as has been seen in the preceding chapter, that it cannot be admitted; That this corruption of nature Is conveyed by generation, seems certain, see John iii. $* for since nature is conveyed in that way, the sin of nature mast come also in like manner, But how to account for this, consistent with the justice, holiness, and goodness of God, is a difficulty, and is one of the greatest difficulties in the whole scheme of divine truths. Some have thought it more advisable to sit down and lament this corruption, and consider how we must be delivered from it, than to enquire curiously in What way and manner it comes into us ; as a man that is fallen into a pit, does not so much concern himself how he came into it, as how to get out of it, and to be cleansed from the
filth he has contracted in it. But a sober enquiry into th'r» matter, with a due regard to the perfections ot God, the sacred scriptures, and the analogy of faith, may be both lawful and laudible. i. Let it be observed then, that the contagion of sin does not take place on the body apart, nor on the soul apart; but upon both when united together, and not before. The body, antecedent to its union to a rational soul, is no other than an animal, like other animals : and is not a subject either of moral good or moral evil; as it comes from a corrupt body, and is of a corruptible seed, it has in it ihe seeds of many evils, as other animals have, according to their nature: but then these are natural evils, not moral ones; as the savagcness, fierceness, and cruelty of lions, bears, wolves, &c. But when this body comes to be united to a rational soul, it becomes then a part of a rational creature, it comes under a law, and its nature not being conformable to that law, its nature, and the evils, viciosities of it, are formally sinful. Should it be said, that matter cannot operate on spirit; this may be sooner said than proved. How easy is it to observe, that when our bodies are indisposed through diseases and pain, what an effect this has upon our minds; from the temperament and constitution of the body, many incommodities and disadvantages arise unto the soul: to what passion, anger and wrath, are men of a sanguine complexion subject ? and to what is insanity owing, but to a disorder in the brain? as by thoughts in the mind motions are excited in the body, whether sinful, civil, or religious; so motions of the Oody are often the means and occasion of exciting thoughts in the mind. n. It is not fact that souls are now created by God pure and holy; that is, as Adam's soul was created, with original righteousness and purity; with a propensity to that which is good, and with power to do it. But they are created with a want of original righteousness and holiness; without a propensity to good, end without power to perform ; and a reason will be given presently, why it is so, and why it should be so. Such a creation may be conceived of, without any injury to the perfections of God, That the souls of men should be now so created it is just and equitable, as will appear by the following considerations: Adam's original righteousness was not personal, but the righteousness of his nature; he had it not as a private single person, but as a public head, as the root, origin, and parent of mankind. It was but just that they should be deprived, as he of the glory of God ; and in the room of it, unrighteousness and unholiness take place. To all this agrees, what a learned author well observes, " God 'i6 to be considered by us, not as a Creuor only, but also as a Judge ; he is the Creator of the soul, as to its substance; in respect to which it is pure when created. Moreover, God is a Judge, when he creates a soul, as to this cirsumstance ; namely, that not a soul simply is to be created by him ; but a soul of one of the sons of Adam: in this respect it is just with him to desert the soul, as to his own image, lost in Adam ; from which desertion follows a want of original righteousness; from which want, original sin, itself is propagated." God in this proceeds according to the original law of nature, fixed by himself; which according to the invariable course of things, appears to be this, with respect to the propagation of mankind. That when matter generated, is prepared for the reception of the soul; as soon as that preparation is finished, that very instant a soul is created, and ready at hand to be united to it, and it is. Now the law for the propagation of mankind by natural generation was given to Adam in a state of innocence, and as sosn as created, In. crease and multiply; he after this corrupted and defiled the whole frame of his nature, and that of all his posterity. Is it reasonable, that because man has departed from his obedience to the law of God, that God should depart from his original law, respecting man's generation ? It is not reasonable he should, nor does he, nor will he depart from it: this appears from cases, in which, if in any, he could be thought to do so ; as in the case of insanity, which infects a man's blood and family, and becomes a family disorder, and yet to put a stop to this, God does not depart from the order of things fixed by him : and so in the case of such who are unlawfully begotten, in adulter} or fornication ; when what is generated is fit to receive the soul, there is one prepared and united to it. A man. steals a quantity of wheat, and sows it in his field; nature proceeds according to its own laws, fixed by the God of nature ; the earth receives the seed, though stolen into its bosom, cherishes it, and throws it out again, and'a plentiful crop is produced. And shall nature act its part, and not the God of nature ? The rather he will go on in this constant course, that the sin of men might be manifest, and that sin be his punishmem. It is by the just ordination of God, that things are as they be. Here we should rest the matter; in this we should acquiesce; and humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God.
OF ACTUAL SINS AND TRANSGRESSIONS.
From the sin of Adam arises the corruption of nature, With which all mankind are infected; and from the corruption Qf nature, or indwelling sin, arises many actual sins and iniquities ; which are called in scripture, The works of the flesh; the lusts oftieJieib, Eph. ii. 3. the deeds of the body, Rom. viii. 13. the deeds of the old man, Col, iii. 9. corrupt fruit, brought forth by a corrupt tree, Matt. vii. 1G—20. Actual sins are the birth of corrupt nnture, When lust ka'b concdvedt it bringtth forth sm, James i. 15. Out of the heart, as from a fountain, proceed evil thoughts, &?c. Matt. xv. 19. Actual sins arc deviations from the law of God; for sin is the transgression of the law, 1 John iii. 4. Actions, as natural actions, are no. sinful; but an action is denominated good or bad, from }ts agreement or disagreement with the law of God ; it is the irregularity, obliquity, and abberation of the action from the rule of the divine law, that is sin. When we distinguish actual sins from original sin, we do not mean thereby that original sin is not actual. The first sins of Adam and Eve were actual sins, transgressions of the law of God; Eve was in the transgression; that is guilty of an act: we read of Adam's transgression, which designs the first sin he committed. And original sin, as derived from the sin of our first parents, is also actual. But actual sins are second acts, that flow from the corruption of nature. My business is not now to enlarge on particular sins, by explaining the nature, and shewing the evil of them; which more properly belongs to another part of my scheme that is to follow, even Practical Divinity. I shall therefore only treat of actual sins very briefly, in a doctrinal way, by giving the distribution of sins into their various sorts and kinds, reducing them to proper classes, and ranging them under their respective heads.
I. With respect to the object of sin, it may be distinguished into sins against God ; sins against others, our neighbours, friends, and those in connection with us ; and against ourselves, for which distinction there seems to be some foundation in Sam. ii. 25. Iftne man sin against another, the judge shall judge him; but if a man sin against the Lard, who shall intreat for him?—~\. There are some sins that are more immediately and directly against God. The sins of David against Ui iah, lire confessed by him to be against the Lord; Against thee, Thee only, have I sinned, Psal. Ii. 4. But there are some sins more particularly pointed at him ; Their tongues and their doings are against the Lord, Isai. iii. 8. Such are they as Eli. phaz describes, who stretch out their hands against God, Job. xv. 2j, 26. their carnal minds being at enmity against God. Particularly sins against the first table of the law, are sins against God; such as atheism, blasphemy of his name, Idolatry ; Taking the name of God in Vain: Want of love to God, and of fear of him, no regard to his worship, private and public ; a profanation of the day of worship, and a neglect of the ordinances of divine service. 2. Sins against others, are the violations of the second table of the law ; as disobedience to parents, murder, unchastity, and taking away a man's property, privately or publicly, by force or fraud. 3. There are sins against a man's self; fornication, 1 Cor. vi. 18. Drunkenness and Suicide | no man has a right to dispose of his own life j God is the giver, or rather lender, of it, and he only has a right to take it away.
II. With respect to the subject of sin, it may be distia* guished into internal and external; sins of heart, lip and life ;
or of thought, word and action i. Internal sins, sins of ihe
heart; the plague of sin begins there, it is thus summed up by the apostle, the lust of the flesh, the lust of lie eye, and the pride of life, 1 John ii. 15.
Errors in the mind, come under this sort of sins, 2. Sins of the lip, or of words, which are external, openly pronounced, whether respecting God or man, and one another; as all blasphemy, evil speaking, cursing, lying,obscene and unchaste words, all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour and evil speaking; all foolish talking and jesting, which are not convenient ; yea every idle word comes into the account of sin, and will be brought to judgment; see Eph. iv. 25, &c. 3. Outward actions of the life and conversation ; a vain conversation, a course of sin, the garment spotted with the flesh, right eye and right hand-sins, and all that the members of the body are used as instruments in the commission of.
III. With respect to the parts of sin s they may be divided into sins of omission and sins of commission ; a foundation for it is in Matt, xxiii. 23. and xxv. 42—+4. and both these sorts of sins are very strongly expressed in Isai. xliv. 22—24. Sins of omission are against affirmative precepts, sins of commission are against negative precepts, doing what is forbidden to be done ; see James iv. 17.
IV. Sin may be distinguished by the principle from whence it arises. Some sins arise from ignorance, as in the princes of the world, that crucified the Lord of life and glory ; the sins of others are presumptuous ones, see Luke xii. 47, 48. Some sins are through infirmity of the flesh, which men are betrayed into through the deceitfulness of sin, which is the case oftentimes of the people of God.
V. Sins may be distinguished by the degrees of them into lesser and greater ; some are more aggravated than others. with respect to the objects of them and with respect to time and place when and where they are committed, with other circumstances; some are like motes in the eye, others as beams. Our Lord has taught us this distinction, not only in Matt. vii. 3—5. John xix. 11. This appears from the different degrees of punishment of sin his doctrines taught, and his miracles wrought, and repented not, that it would be more tolerable for Tyre, Sidon, Matt. xi. 20—24. According to the laws of Draco, all sins were equal. Not such are the laws of God ; nor such the nature of sin according to them.
VI. Sins may be distinguished by their adjuncts. As— 1. Into secret and open sins. Secret sins are such as are secretly committed, or sins of the heart; which distinction may be observed in Psal. xix. 12, 13. Others are done opehly before the sun, 1 Tim. v. 24. 2. The papists distinguish sin into venial and mortal: which cannot be admitted without a limitation, or restriction; for though all sin is venial or pardonable, through the blood of Christ; none is pardonable in its own nature ; all sin is mortal, and deserving of death. Yet— 3. Sin may be distinguished into remissible and irremissible. AH the sins of God's people are remissible, and are actually remitted. On the other hand, all the sins of abandoned sinners that live and die in final impenitence and unbelief, are irremissible; He that made them will not have mercy on them, to forgive their sins ; and he that formed them will shew them no favour, Isai. xxvii. 11. There is one sin which is commonly called, the unpardonable sin, which is the sin, or blasphemy, against the Holy Ghost; and of which it is expressly said, that it shall not be forgiven, neither in this world, nor in the world to come, Matt. xii. 31. But not every sin against the Holy Ghost is here meant. It lies in the denial of the great and fundamental truth of the gospel, salvation by Jesus Christ, in all its branches. Atonement and justification being denied to be by Christ, there can be no pardon ; for there will be no more shedding of blood, nor another sacrifice for sin ; therefore, there remains nothing but a fearful looking for of judgment, and indignation, to come on such persons.
Upon all which may be observed, from what a small beginning, as the sin of our first parents might seem to be, what great things have arisen; what a virtue must there be in the blood of Christ, to cleanse from such sins as these, and all of them! And how great is the superabounding grace ot God, that where sin has thus abounded, grace should superabound!
OF THE PUNISHMENT OF SIN.
In this article I have nothing to do with men as elect of non-elect ; but as they are all the fallen race of Adam. My concern is with men considered in Adam, as the head of the covenant of works, and the representative of all mankind. Punishment of sin, original and actual, may be considered as temporal and eternal; both in this life, and that which is to come. There is an everlasting punishment into which the wicked go after death ; and there is a punishment in this life ; Whtrefore should a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sin? Lam. iiu 37. that is for punishment in the present state.
I. Temporal punishment, or punishment in this life, is dtie to sin ; and this is both inward and outward, or of soul and boday, i. Punishment inward, or of the soul, lies,—1. In a loss of the image of God upon it; There is none righteous, no ■Hot one, Rom. iii. 10, 23. 2. In a loss of the freedom of will, and of power to do good. Man has not lost the natural liberty of his will to things natural; but the moral liberty of his will to things moral: his free will is a slave to his lusts; he is a home,born slave. 3. In a loss of knowledge of divine things; his understanding is datkened with respect to them; he is darkness itself. 4. In a loss of communion with God. Adam sinned, and was drove out of Paradise, and all his sons are alienated from a life and fellowship with him. 5. In being destitute of hope, and subject to horror and black despair. The sinful soul of man is hopeless and helpless. n. Outward punishments of the body, or what relate to the outward thing* of life ; are as follow :—-1. Loss of immortality of the body
The btdy is dead, or is become mortal, because of sin, Rom. viii. f and it is liable, on the same account, to various diseases. 2. Labour of body, with toil, fatigue, and weariness, is another penal effVct of sin. Man is born to I hour as the sparks fly upward ; so the word ma) be rendered, Job v. 7» And it may be observed, that the punishment pronounced on Eve, that her conception and sorrow should be multiplied ; and that in sorrow she should bring forth children, is continued in her daughters ; some of the greatest calamities and distresses in life, are described and expressed by the pains of a woman in travail. 3. Loss of dominion over the creatures, is another sort of punishment of sin. Adam had a grant over all the creatures, and these were in subjection to him, But by sin man lost his power over them. 4. The many distresses in person, in family, and in estate, are the penal effects of sin ; the curses of the law, for the transgression of it, come upon men, and on what they have ; in the city, and in the field ; in basket, and in store; in the fruit of their body, and of t eir land ; in the increase of their kine, and flocks of sheep; when these are affected, and there is a failure in them, i is for sin. 5. Public calamities are to be considered in this light, as punishments of sin ; as the drowning of the old world ; the burning of Sodom and Gomorrah ; the captivities of the J'.ws; the destruction of other nations and cities; the devastations made by wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, Sic.
II. There is an eternal punishment of sin, in the world to come forever. This takes place in part on wicked men as soon as soul and body are separated; the wicked rich man when he died, in hell lift up his eyes being, in UrmenU This punishment will be both of loss and sense ; it will lie in an eternal separation from God, and will be poured forth like fire; and both are expressed in that sentence, Depart from me ye cursed, into everlasting pre, Matt. xxv. 41. The reasons of the eternal duration of punishment for sin, are, because it is committed against an infinite and eternal being. Besides, the wicked in the future state, will always continue
sinning: to which may b'e added, that there will be no repentance for sin there, no pardon of it, no change of state ; He that is unjust, let him be unjust still, fcfc. Rev. xxii. 11. But of this more hereafter. The reason why this punishment, to which all are subject, is not inflicted on some, is because of the suretyship-engagements of Christ for them., and his performance of those engagements; whereby he endured all that wrath and punishment due to their sins in their room and stead, and so delivered them from it, which otherwise they were exposed unto; the dawn of which distinguishing grace the next Part of this work will open and display.