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through the deceitfulness of sin, and are overtaken and overpowered at an unawares, and surprized into the commission of them; and which is the case oftentimes of the people of God.
Hence it was said that Not such are the laws of
As-1. Into secret and
greater; V. Sins may be distinguished by the degrees of them into lesse, and for all sins are not equal, as the Stoics say; and some are more aggravated than others, with respect to the objects of them; as sins against God, are greater than those against men; violating of the first table of the law, greater than that of the second: and with respect to persons that commit 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. but when he says, He that delivered me unto thee, hath the greater sin, John xix. 11. And this appears from the different degrees of punishment of sin, which are allotted in proportion to it; so as our Lord speaks of some cities, where his doctrines were taught, and his miracles wrought, and repented not, that it would be more tolerable for Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom, than for them, Matt. xi. 20-24. According to the laws of Draco, all sins were equal, and all were punished with the saine capital punishment; the stealing of an apple, as the murder of a man. Draco wrote his laws, not in ink, but in blood. God; nor such the nature of sin according to them. VI. Sins may be distinguished by their adjuncts. open sins. Secret sins are such as are secretly committed, or sins of the heart; which none but God, and a man's own soul, are privy to; and some pass through it unnoticed and unobserved by the good man himself; and are opposed to presumptuous sins; which distinction may be observed in Psal. xix. 12, 13. Others are done openly, publicly, before the sun, and in sight of all, without fear or shame. Some men's sins go beforehand to judgment; they are notorious ones; condemned by all, before the judgment comes; aud others more secretly committed, they follow after; for all will be brought into judgment, 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 grace of God, and blood of Christ, and is pardoned thereby, excepting one, that will be hereafter mentioned; yet none are pardonable in their own nature; or are so sinall and trifling as to be undeserving of death, only of some lesser chastizement; for all sin is mortal, and deserving of death; The wages of sin, of any and every sin, without distinction of greater and lesser, is death, eternal death, as it must be; for Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things, written in the book of the law to do them: if, therefore, every breach of the law subjects to the curse of it, which is death, then every sin is mortal. Yet, -3. Sin may be distinguished into remissible and irremissible All the sins of God's people are remissible, and are actually remitted. God forgives them all their iniquities, and heals all theit diseases, their spiritual maladies: and on the other hand, all the sins of reprobates, 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 that way, Isai. xxvii. 11. There is one sin which is commonly called, the unpardonable sin, which is the sin, or blashemy, 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; every sin committed against God is committed against the Holy Ghost, as well as against the Father and the Son; he, with them, being the one God, against whom all sin is committed:" nor is it a denial of his deity, and of his personality, though sins against him, yet they arise from ignorance of him, and are errors in judgment; and from which persons may be recovered, and repent of, and renounce: nor is a denial of the necessity of the operations of his grace on the souls of men, in order to their regeneration, conversion, and sanctification, this sin, for the same reasons: men may, and good men too, grieve the holy Spirit by their sins; yea, vex him, as the Israelites; and yet not sin the unpardonable sin: yea, a man may break all the Ten Commandments, and not sin the sin against the Holy Ghost; it is a sin not against the law, but against the gospel; it lies in the denial of the great and fundamental truth of the gospel, salvation by Jesus Christ, in all its branches; peace and pardon by his blood, atonement by his sacrifice, and justification by his righteousness; and this after he has received the knowledge of this truth, under the illuminations, convictions, and demonstrations of the Spirit of God; and yet, through the instigation of Satan, and the wickedness of his own heart, knowingly, and wilfully, and maliciously denies this truth, and obstinately persists therein. So that as he never comes to repentance, he has no forgiveness, here nor hereafter. Not because the holy Spirit is superior to the other divine Persons; for they are equal: nor through any deficiency in the grace of God, or blood of Christ; but through the nature of the sin, which is diametrically opposite to the way of salvation, pardon, atonement, and justification; for these being denied to be by Christ, there can be no pardon; for another Jesus will never be sent, another Saviour will never be given; there will be no more shedding of blood, no more sacrifice, nor another sacrifice for sin; nor another righteousness wrought out and brought in. And, therefore, there remains nothing but a fearful looking for of judgment, and indignation, to come on such persons
Upon all which it 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 100t of bitterness that was which has brought forth so much unwholesome and and pernicious fiuit; such a vast number of sins, and of such an enormous size: what a virtue must there be in the blood of Christ, to cleanse from such sins as these, and all of them; and in his sacrifice to make atonement for them; and in his righteousness to justify from them! And how great is the superabounding grace of God, that where sin has thus abounded, grace should superabound!
OF THE PUNISHMENT OF SIN.
As to the punishment of original sin on those who, it may be thought, not to have added to it any actual sin and transgression, as infants, dying in infancy, I shall be silent; at least, say little. Not that I doubt of the right of justice to punish that sin on Adam's descendants, who have not actually sinned after the similitude of his transgression; since corporal death, a part of the punishment : threatened, does pass upon them, and they are born with a want of original righteousness, a considerable branch of moral death; but if divine justice proceeds further, and inflicts eternal death, or everlasting punishment on them, I think it must be in a more mild and gentle manner than what is inflicted on those who have also been guilty of actual sins and transgressions; seeing, as there are degrees of punishment repecting them, as they are greater or lesser, Matt. xi. 20-24. so there must be a difference of the punishment of original sin, separately considered; and of that attended with numerous actual transgressions. Many unguarded expressions have been dropped, concerning the punishment of such infants, as before mentioned, which are not at all to the credit of Truth. Many conjectures have been made, and schemes formed, that are scarcely worth mentioning. Some have fancied that all such infants are lost; which seems to have something in it shocking, especially to parents. And others think they are all saved, through the electing grace of God, the redeeming blood of Christ, and the regeneration of the blessed Spirit; to which I am much rather inclined, than to the former: but think it best to leave it among the secret things that belong to God; who, we may be assured, cannot do an unjust thing, nor do any injury to any of his creatures; and who, as he is just in his nature, he is merciful in Christ.
In this article I have nothing to do with men as elect or non-elect; but as they are all the fallen race of Adam. The elect, as considered in Christ, the Head of the covenant of grace, are not subject, or liable, to any punishment, here or hereafter; There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus: their afflictions are not punishments for sin; nor is corporal death inflicted on them as a penal evil; nor will any curse befal them in a future state. But my concern is with men considered in Adam, as the head of the covenant of works and the representative of all mankind; as they sinned and fell in him, and were involved in the guilt of his sin; and as they are actual transgressors in themselves; and as they are chargeable with sin, according to the declaration, sanc tion, and tenor of the law; and considered as such, all mankind descending from Adam by ordinary generation, without any exception and distinction, are subject, obnoxious, and liable to punishment.
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; Wherefore should a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sin? Lam. iii. 37. that is, for punishment in the present state.
I. Temporal punishment, or punishment in this life, is due to sin; and is inflicted on account of it; and this is both inward and outward, or of soul
1. Punishment inward, or of the soul, lies, -1. In a loss of the image of God upon it; all have sinned and come short, or are deprived of the glory of God; that is, of the image of God, in which his glory on man lay; one principal part of which image was righteousness and holiness. This man is stripped of, and is become unrighteous; There is none righteous, no not one, Rom. ii. 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 will is not free to that which is good, only to that which is evil; and that liberty is no other than bondage. Man's free-will is a slave to his lusts; he is a home-born slave. Man has los. his power to do good; how to perform that he knows not; through the weakness of the flesh, or corrupt nature, he cannot do what the law requires; he cannot of himself think any thing; and, without the grace of God, cannot do any thing as it ought to be done; for he has no principle of life and motion in him to it; he is dead in trespasses and sins. 3. In a loss of knowledge of divine things; his understanding is darkened with respect to them; he is darkness itself; he has lost his knowledge by sinning, instead of gaining more; There is none that understandeth, and seeks after God, and the knowledge of him. Spiritual things men cannot discern; to do good they have no knowledge; they know not, nor will they understand. And many, through an habitual course of sinning, become hardened; and God gives them up to a judicial blindness and hardness of heart; to vile affections, and a reprobate mind, to do things not convenient; to strong delusions, to believe a lie; and to their own hearts lusts; and nothing worse can befal men than that. 4. In a loss of communion with God. Adam sinned, and was drove out of Paradise, and was deprived of communion with God through the creatures; and all his sons are alienated from a life of fellowship with him: their sins separate between God and them; and, indeed, what communion can there be between light and darkness, righteousness and unrighteousness? the throne of iniquity, or where iniquity reigns, can have no fellowship with God, who commit sin as though they had a law to do it. 5. In being destitute of hope, and subject to horror and black despair. The sinful soul of man is hopeless and helpless: men live without real hope of future happiness, and without God in the world; if their consciences are not lulled asleep, they are continually accusing of sin; the arrows of the Almighty stick in them; the poison of his wrath drinks up their spirits; and his terrors set themselves in array against them: having no view of pardon, peace, and righteousness by another, there is nothing but a fearful looking for of judgment;
499 ndignation, and wrath, tribulation and anguish, are due to every soul of man hat does evil, and to which he is liable; unless the grace of God prevents.
II. Outward punishments of the body, or what relate to the outward things of life, are as follow: 1. Loss of immortality of the body. Adam's body was gifted with immortality; but sinning, he was stripped of it, and be came mortal, and so all his posterity are; which arises not from the constitution of their nature, and the appointment of God, barely, but from sin; The body is dead, or is become mortal, because of sin, Rom. viii. 10. and it is liable, on the same account, to various diseases; they all have their foundation in, and their original from sin; God threatens men for it with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with extreme burning, Deut. xxviii. 22. and these, with many others are inflicted on account of it. To one cured of a disease Christ said; Go home, sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon thee, John v. 14. signifying, that his former disease came upon him for sin, and a worse would, should he continue in it. -2. Labour of body, with toil, fatigue, and weariness, is another penal effect of sin. Though Adam dressed the garden of Eden, in his state of innocence, it was done without toil and fatigue; but when he had sinned, the earth was cursed for his sake, and brought forth thorns and thistles; and he was doomed to labour in it, to dig in. it, to weed and purge it, to cultivate and manure it; and thereby to get and eat his bread in sorrow, and in the sweat of his brow. And this doom continues still in his posterity; man is born to labour as the sparks fly upward; so the word may be rendered, Job v. 7. The earth remains in such a state as requires cultiva tion, plowing, sowing, weeding, &c. in which men must work with their own hands, in a toilsome and laborious manner, or in other arts, to get bread for themselves and families, and have wherewith to give to others. 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; and it is remarked, that of all the creatures, none bring forth their young in so much pain as women; and hence 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 creaturės, is another sort of punishment of sin. Adam had a grant of dominion over all the creatures, and these were in subjection to him. But by sin man lost his power over them; and many of them, instead of fearing and serving him, rebel against him, and are hurtful to him; he is afraid of coming near them, unless God mal es peace with them for him, and preserves him from them; yea, the noisome beast. is one of God's sore judgments with which he threa e is to punish sinful men.
4. The many distresses in person, in family, and in estate, are the penal effects of sin; the curses of the law, for the transgressions 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 their land; in the increase of their kine, and