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righteous, how could he then judge the world ? says the apostle, Rom. iii. 6. His will is the mea. sure of justice to us. He doth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can say to him, What dost thou ? Dan. iv. 35. If once we quite the will of God for the standard and measure of justice, then we wander and lose ourselves, and are never like to find any other thing that can with any shadow of reason pretend to the place. . (3.) This appointment of God is most just, be
cause it was made in way of a contract. · There was a covenant between God and Adam ; God did pro pose the whole matter to him; and the substance of it was this, Do, and live, fin, and die. Man was content, and that upon deliberation, with the terms; and therefore the justice of God is clear in this matter.
(4.) God did, warn man beforehand of this pu, nishment; and therefore he is very just in the matter: which will appear very considerable, if we observe that, as man is unquestionably obliged to obey God, fo God has an unquestionable right to command; and that not only upon account of his supereminent excellency, but on account of his creation, preservation, and innumerable benefits; therefore he commanding to man what is just and equal, may do it upon what penalty he pleases, without any shadow of injustice; as I shall make appear by this plain and familiar instance. I suppose the lord of a mannor to have placed or made a precipice in some part of his land, and that he forbids his servant to go there, and tells him if he do, he will be sure to fall there and be killed. Who would say that he were guilty of that servant's death, if the servant should go there! And,
I say, God can with as little justice be charged with the death of finners, or with severity, since he gives them fair warning. They choose damnation, and their destruction is of themselves. This was perfectly the case with man at first: and that afterwards he fell under a fatal inability to abftain from fin, no more clears him, or makes God. faulty, than it would clear the servant formerly mentioned, or make his master blame-worthy, if the way to that precipice lay stooping downward, and the servant should, upon the beginning of the defcent, run with so full a carreer, that he were not able to halt till he had broke his neck. This I suppose would not reflect upon the master, that he did not remove the precipice, or alter the way; and this is the case between God and man.,
5. Consider the influence that this penal sanctie on has upon them that are saved; and wherein we may see that God was most just in appointing it. It is the means to bring them to heaven. It moves ministers to preach, Knowing the terrors of the Lord, we persuade men, i Cor. v. 11. And it moves the hearers to accept of salvation; as appears froin the frequent use our Lord makes of this arguinent. And in the original constitution of the law, it was designed as a mean, not only for the reparation of its violated honour, but alla to deter men from breaking the law: Therefore God is most just in the whole of his conduct in : this matter ; since the greater the penalty was, the more likely a mean it was to hold men in the way.
6 I thought to have further cleared the equity of this appointment of God, whereby sin is oro daind thus to be punished, from the confiderati. on of the neceflity thereof in order to the govern.
ment of the world. If men have yet fuch bold,
punishments, what would they have done, if there so had been only some light temporary punishment to
be inflicted? This consideration would lead me too
far from the subject in hand; therefore I but name . it, and proceed to the
VI. And last general, which I proposed for the improvement of this doctrine. I have unfolded, at some length, the crime charged upon you: I have proved, both in general and in particular, that ye have all finned, and thereby come sort of the glory of God. I have shewed what the satisfaction is which justice requires: I have likewise made appear, and have given you some account, how reasonable it
is that justice should carry its demands so high. It - remains now, that we shortly represent your mife
ry froin the whole. But here indeed I am at a loss how to begin; and if once I.begin, shall find myself at no less a strait where to end. Sinners I. have proved you; and miserable I shall now endeavour to represent you upon this account.
1. If a vast loss can make you miserable, then indeed ye shall be so. Your loss can be imagined by none, but these who enjoy the advantages you lofe, or these who are already in the place of torment, and have their eyes opened to see their own condition. It is such a loss, that you cannot from one place have a full prospect of it, I mean, of that little portion of it which may be known without feeling: and therefore we ihall give you . . fome different views of it, as it were from distinct places, at each of which ye may see some, and but forne small part of it.
(1.) I lay your loss (hall be great, for ye shall lose the world with all its delights, comforts-and
satisfactions. Are ye now polsest of a competent estate, a flourishing family, health of body, content of mind, and a fair stock of reputation ? ye shall lose all these things : and will not this be a vast lofs to you? Are not these the things that bound your desires, and terminate all your wishes and enquiries? I sear they are so to most of you. They who have their portion only in this life, feek no more but these things. All the question with such is, Who will shew us any good, any worldly good? And if they lose these things, then indeed they lose all. They may say their gods are taken away, and what have they more? Whatever is desirable to the eyes, or pleasant to any of your fenfes, ye shall at once for ever and eternally be deprived of. And is not this a vast loss? Since it must be fo, in many of your eyes, ye shall lose that which ye valued above heaven and Christ. It may be some of you cleave so fast to a present world, that neither the promises, nor the threats of the gospel can induce you to quite your hold; yet notwithstanding of all your endeavour to keep them, ye shall lose them all. Death will part you and them: and, O how great will this loss be to you who have no more!
(2.) When God punishes you, ye will sustain the loss of the gospel which now you enjoy: and this will appear to be a vast loss then. The gospel has in it treasures for the poor, eyes for the blind, feet for the lame, understanding for the fimple, peace for rebels, pardons for condemned inalefactors, a title to heaven for the heirs of hell, life for the dead, happiness for the miserable: and to lose all these, what loss can be comparable to this? This loss, when it is now spoken of, may appear finall to you: but the day is coming, when
ye will learn to put a high value upon it, after ye have lost it.
(3.) Ye will sustain a vast loss; for infallibly ye lose heaven, if ye continue in your sins: and who can tell what a loss that is ? Who can found the depth of these rivers of pleasure that are at God's right band for evermore? Who can weigh that far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory? Who can take the dimensions of that vast inheritance of the saints in light? Who can declare the sweetness of the fruits of that paradise of pleafure? What eye can discern, or let in just apprehenfions of that bliss-giving light which the laints enjoy above, where there are no clouds to obscure the face of their sky? Well, what ever there is of these things, all these ye lose. O immense loss indeed!
We only name these things, designing now to hasten to another subject. Would ye know how great a loss ye sustain in the first instance mention, ed? We may send you to those who are wallowing in the delights of the fons of men, and who are glutting themselves with a present world. They will tell you strange things of your loss by the removal of worldly comforts. If ye would understand how great your loss is, by the removal of the gospel; go to these who have got a heart to embrace it, and they will give you a surprising account of their enjoyments by it: but who can tell what heaven is ? they only who have been there; and even scarce they, for surely they feel, they enjoy more than can be expreft. Now all these things ye lose: but need I say more? Ye lofe God, ye lose your own fouls; and if ye lose your own souls, and gain a world, what profit have ye? yea, ye sustain a vast loss; what must then your