Page images
PDF
EPUB

tive state ; and a happiness more abundant is communicated through the mediation of Jesus than man could have enjoyed, had he fulfilled the covenant of works. May not this consideration silence every objection which can be entertained against that dispensation ?-Are we not constrained to conclude that our interests were inconceivably dear to our Creator, when upon the breach of one plan ordained for life, a second was devised :- When, upon the failure of our first representing head, his only begotten, and beloved Son was appointed the second.

This feeble attempt, to vindicate the divine procedure in the appointment of Adam to be our federal head, I shall conclude with the remarks of two authors equally eminent for their talents, natural and acquired; the one a distinguished ornament of the state, the other a singular light in the church. “God made man righteous at first, and gave him a righteous law; and in as much as man owed an infinite subjection to the author of his being, he owed an exact obedience to this law of his Maker: Yet God was pleased to give him this law, not only as the rule of his obedience, but as a covenant of life and death, wherein the first man made a stipulation for himself and his posterity: And this was just, for he had in himself the race of mankind. All succeeding generations are only pieces of Adam. The law, which was, his covenant, was a just and righteous law; a law suitable to the endowments and pow

ers of his nature. Again, the blessedness which, by his obedience, he was to obtain, was not of his own creating; it was the free gift of God; and it is but reasonable that the Lord of this gift should give it in what manner he pleased; and it could not be unjust that the Lord, who gave this blessedness, should give it under what condition he pleased. But he gave it under most just and reasonable conditions, even an obedience to a just and reasonable law which suited with the ability and perfection of human nature. And therefore when, upon the breach of the covenant by man, he withdrew that blessedness from him and his posterity, he did no more than was most just for him to do. And we thus stand guilty of that sin which our first father committed, and are deprived of that life and blessedness which our first father had."* Such is the reasoning of an eminent civilian on this subject, and to his remarks we shall add the observations of a distinguished divine. “That God was righteous in this constitution is not to be disputed. For it does not become us to question the right of God, or to enquire too curiously into it; much less to measure it by the standard of any right established among us despicable mortals, when the fact is obvious. We are previously to judge of God, “thou art righteous in what thou speakest, and pure in thy judgment.” Truly he is unacquainted with the majesty of the Supreme King, who presumes to scan his actions, and call his equality to account. A freedom which no earthly father would bear in a son, no king in a subject, no master in a servant. And do we, mean worms of the dust, take upon us to use such freedom with the Judge of the whole universe ? As often as our murmuring flesh dares to bawl out, the ways of the Lord are not equal ; so often let us oppose to it, are not thy ways unequal ? Nevertheless we more calmly acquiesce in the determinations of God, when we understand the reasons of them. What if we should consider the matter thus? If Adam had, in his own and our name, stood to the conditions of the covenant; if having finished his state of probation he had been confirmed in happiness, and we his posterity in him; if fully satisfied with the delights of animal life we had, together with him, been translated to the joys of heaven, no body would have complained that he was included in the head of mankind: every one would have commended both the wisdom and the goodness of God: not the least suspicion of injustice would have arisen in any one, on account of God's putting the first Adam in a state of probation in the room of all.-How shall that which in this event would have been deemed just, be unjust in a contrary event? For the justice or injus

* Lord Chief Justice Hale's meditation upon the Lord's prayer.

[ocr errors]

event."*

tice of actions is not to be judged of by the

The application suggested by this doctrine is both obvious and important.

We learn from this doctrine, that the Lord God is an adorable sovereign; that he possesses an unquestionable right to dispose of his creatures as appeareth good in his sight. In forming a plan for the government of this world, he is not obliged to consult the creature; to enquire at the bar either of man or angel what scheme may be reasonable or proper: He acts like a God with a sovereign, absolute independence for the advancement of his own glory. He is revealed under a variety of titles the most majestic, to express his infinite supremacy, his unlimited dominion over all beings, and all their actions.—The LORD of hosts; the CREATOR of the ends of the earth ; the King of kings, and Lord of lords are some of those names of royalty which he assumes to point out his adorable prerogatives.

« The Lord sitteth King forever; he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand,” defeat the accomplishment of his purposes, or say unto him, as an impeachment either of his wisdom or justice, what dost thou? In wbat elevated, imperial style does Jehovah assert his authority over all, and his right to dispose of them as his soverand say,

* Witsius's Economy of the Covenants, vol 1, chap. 2, sec. 16, 17.

eignty may dictate? “See now that I, even I am he; and there is no God with me: I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand. For I lift up my hand to heaven,

I live forever. I am the first and I am the last; and besides me there is no God.”

The sovereignty of this holy Lord God appears visible in every operation of his hand; in the creation of all things, no less than in their government and disposal. He forms an innumerable variety of beings; endows them with different qualities, and ordains them to different spheres of glory and happiness in the mighty scheme. He creates the angels first; enstamps upon them the brightest semblance of his own perfections, and assigns them the highest rank in the order of intelligences. They are thus called his holy angels; his mighty angels; ministering spirits, the angels of his presence, teaching us that they are admitted more intimately into the counsels of Jehovah, than other orders of beings, and promoted to a higher agency in the execution of his designs. Man, again, was placed next to the angels, formed after the image of his God, fitted both for advancing his glory, and being happy in his fellowship. Other beings are merely animal, and designed for no other than sensual enjoyments. But shall these inferior parts of creation rise up, and murtur against the arrangements of their

« PreviousContinue »