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What appears unjust to us, we think hateful always when we think on it, or see it; what is hateful at one time, is so always; and the way to remove that hatred is, to remove the object, or to hinder it from appearing to us at all, to for
Whatever be said of punishment of sin, it is certain, that the knowledge and hatred of sin, supposing it to exist, is essential to God. It is not an arbitrary thing, but essential, that he sees it all, sees it always, cannot forget it, and therefore always hates it; and if, as was observed before, a finite superior degree of holiness is an infallible cause of a superior hatred of' sin, the greatest holiness must cause the greatest hatred of it.
It is a moral disposition, and must incline to manifest itself in a manner worthy of the subject of it, and suitable to the object. All hatred inclines to manifest itself, and just hatred inelines to manifest itself in a manner becoming the being who has that hatred. Reason tells us, that the way be. coming a sovereign, or governor, is punishment; and as one of the least manifestations of hatred is withholding manifestations of favour, or all benefits, that itself, in the present case, would be misery.
It is an essential perfection in God, both to give always the greatest reason to creatures to love him, that is, to act always in that manner that is most worthy of his own approbation, and their's, or to be holy and happy, and to manifest the greatest hatred of sin after it is committed. Thus vindictime justice is but a different view of infinite holiness and goodness, the most lovely moral perfections in the world. It is essential to God to approve and love this holiness and justice; and in or. der to holiness in us, that is, in order to be happy,
and to be just, it is necessary to approve of it likewise.
We can have no just or reasonable joy, without both loving God, and consequently loving and approving of his vindictive justice; and, on the other hand, we can have no reasonable joy, without expecting God's love and favour to us; and therefore it is necessary we know his righteousness manifested in the remission of sins; without which, we can neither truly love him, nor expect his love ; that is, we cannot be happy, without knowing that he favours us in a just and holy way.
No sacrifice of a mere creature in the room of multitudes, can be a manifestation of the greatest essential eternal hatred of sin, or the greatest motive of an eternal law against it. It is not sufficient to have any knowledge of the harmony of vindictive justice, and of mercy in our redemption, but such a knowledge as shall acquiesce, approve, and adore, that justice, and delight in contemplation of it, as perfectly amiable, and to believe, that we had no reason to despise God, and God no reason in us to love us ; for if we believe it was just to give us no favour, all that is given is free.
We can conceive no divine excellency more ami. able, than the beauty of infinite holiness, or justice and mercy; no manifestation of them comparable to this; excepting the beatific vision itself, we can conceive no contemplation of divine glory so excellent in itself, so suitable to us : and a suitable impression of it (which still admits of degrees) must increase the joy of the beatific vision itself; for the more love we have to an intelligent being, the more delight we have in viewing its excellency and happiness.
God manifested in the flesh is an object which contains both the brightness of the glory of the Creator, and the brightness of the glory of the
creation. The three several orders of excellency and beauty spoken of before, are here joined together in the nearest union; absolutely supreme or divine glory, supreme created intellectual glory, and supreme visible or material glory. His human nature has the beauties of the intellectual and material universe united in it. Our present joy or happiness in this life is
proportionable to our knowledge and love of God in Christ. That knowledge and love admits of degrees.
It is just to be always making progress in it. One of the most manifest and most necessary means of heightening it is this, to be reflecting on our moral imperfections, sins and corruptions, to be making progress in the knowledge of them, which is a very easy study, if we were sincerely inclined to it, since the materials lie so near us.
Sense of need makes a favour precious; and sense of unworthiness heightens gratitude to God, which is an essential ingredient of the greatest joy, present or future.
It is impossible to love God, without hating ourselves; because it is impossible to love holiness, without hating the contrary disposition.
Reflection on our physical perfections or faculties, is useful; but it is in order to see the goodness of the Author of them, and the evil of those moral imperfections that have abused them.
But in a state of complete bappiness, the mind must be free of moral imperfections. For the inward reflection and contemplation of deformity in ourselves, is inconsistent with fulness of joy. But a just mind cannot reflect on its own perfections,
hough it must be conscious, and reflect on them, Otherwise than as derived from the original and essential source of good, and as infinitely inferior to that original
The enjoyment of the absolutely supreme object is consistent with the enjoyment of the supreme or highest created intellectual glory, in the society of all the most excellent creatures, and with the en. joyment of the supreme or greatest visible material glory, in a place of the greatest light and beauty; and these inferior enjoyments, which, if alone, would be cloying, will not be so, when un uncloying incorruptible joy is joined to them, and enlivens them.
To conclude, therefore, both the things mentioned in the question are ingredients of happiness, the best enjoyment of the best outward objects, and such internal perfection, that the consciousness and reflection on it must be joyful.
Edinburgh, Printed by J. Ritchie.