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he has done, and would do it, were it in their power ; and which they are attempting to do, even in making the objection. Rather let all condemn, and humble them. selves in the sight of the Lord, for their joining with Satan in rebellion, and imitating and justifying Adam in his transgression, and doing what they could to spread and perpetuate disobedience. And let all adore and give glory to almighty power, infinite wisdom and goodness to that glorious Being, who does in any degree counteract sin and the sinner ; and in any instance pre
; vent the just and natural consequences of it ; and turn all to his own glory, and the greatest good of his kingdom.
II. From the history of the apostasy of man, and the way in which sin entered into the world, we are warned of the folly and danger of disregarding divine revelation, and giving the least heed to any assertions or suggestions which are contrary to the revealed will of God, or which are not warranted by that.
The first suggestion which Satan made was contrary to that which God had declared ; and by giving heed to that, sin was introduced, and has brought sin and ruin on all mankind. And this same deceiver and father of lies has at all times since, and does now, in various ways,
, attempt to lead men to disregard what God has said in his word, and believe those things which are not warranted by it, but are really contrary to those divine oracles. And so far as he succeeds, he gets the advantage of men ; and in this way they fall into his snare, and are led captive by him. This is the continued source of all the sinful practices in the world, and of all the delusions and false religions which take place among mankind.
With what care and circumspection does it become us to examine every doctrine and practice which is pro. posed or suggested to us as right and true; and to reject with resolution and abhorrence every thing of this kind, which is not agreeable to the oracles of God! Upon this law and testimony we ought to keep our eye, with constant, painful care and study, to understand it, and a readiness immediately to reject every thing which is not warranted by that, as dangerous delusion, from
whatever quarter, or by whomsoever it may be proposed, and however plausible and tempting it may be.
III. The particular suggestion of Satan, contrary to revealed truth, by which he tempted our mother Eve to transgress, is worthy to be considered as a warning to
“The serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die.” By hearkening to this lie of Satan she fell into sin and ruin. We may be sure the devil has been ever since urging this same lie upon men, as the great and principal delusion by which he holds them secure in his snare, and tempts them to go on boldly in rebellion. Those who are persuaded to believe this lie, which Satan tries by all means and ways in his power to propagate, are fallen into his snare; and in their attempts to promote it, they are his instruments and servants; and he influences them to the utmost of his power to make their bands strong, and to heighten their confidence, that they shall have peace, and no evil shall come upon them, though they walk after the imagination of their own hearts: And they have his assistance in searching and studying the scriptures to find passages, and to pervert them, so as to strengthen themselves and others in this dangerous delusion, by which their hearts are steeled against any impression by the many awful threatenings in the word of God.
And where he cannot persuade men to believe there is no future punishment for impenitent sinners, he does all he can to keep them stupid and thoughtiess, with respect to it, and make them feel and act as if they were exposed to no such punishment; and to flatter themselves with peace and safety, until sudden destruction cometh upon them. This is one special mean of holding men in security and ease in sin, in the christian world. And Satan has great advantage against mankind, in promoting this delusion, because it is agreeable to their hearts, and it is the nature of sin to be pleased with it, and to make men stupid and unbelieving with respect to the reality and dreadfulness of future punishment, and the danger in which they are of falling into it.
Let all beware of this delusion, by which sin first en. tered into the world, and which has been the mean of
thousands and millions falling into that endless punishment, which they have not believed, or not realized, that it would ever come. Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished.” “ Wo unto the wicked, it shall be ill with him ; for the reward of his hands shall be given him : Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and the glory of his power.”
Let the ministers of the gospel, the watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem, not be silent, but cry aloud, and warn the wicked, to whom God has said, Ye shall surely die ; and sound an alarm to all the secure in their sins, if by any means, they may be awakened from their dead ly sleep, and delivered from their delusions, and fly from the wrath to come, before it shall be too late.
IV. This subject leads us to see and reflect upon the infinitely guilty, miserable and lost state into which mankind are fallen by sin. They begin to sin, as soon as they are capable of moral exercise ; and by one sinful exercise, were they guilty of no more, they undo themselves forever, if not delivered by mere sovereign grace. All their exercises are wrong and sinful, by which they are growing more and more guilty and ill deserving ; and all the light they have, and the favours they enjoy, being abused, render them unspeakably criminal. They are so wholly inclined to sin, and with such strength and obstinacy of heart, fixed in enmity against God and his law, that they stand ready to oppose all means and every method that can be taken and used to recover them from sin and reclaim them; and if left to themselves, will only wax worse and worse, until they plunge into endless ruin, and intolerable misery. They are continually provoking God to cast them into everlasting destruction, on whose sovereign mercy they depend every moment, to save them from dropping into hell ; and by whose forfeited grace, and almighty power alone, they can be recovered to repentance, and from sin and infinite evil. And at the same time they are flattering themselves in their evil ways, involved in the darkness and delusion of sin ; loving darkness, and hating the light, and cannot be told in what an infinitely evil and dangerous case they are ; that is, cannot be made to believe it, though they be told, and are ready to hate their best and only friends, and look upon them as their enemies; while they love their enemies, who are doing all they can to destroy them forever. But who can describe, or fully conceive the sinful, miserable, ruined condition into which mankind are fallen ; and in
SYSTEM OF DOCTRINES.
CONCERNING THE REDEMPTION OF FALLEN,
MAN, BY JESUS CHRIST.
Some general Observations on the Redemption of Man.
1. WE depend wholly on divine revelation for all we know concerning the redemption of man. By this only we learn, that it is possible that man may be recov
. ered from a state of sin and ruin; and that God has determined to redeem man, and is prosecuting this design. And by this only we can know what is implied in this, and what is the way and manner in which it is effected.
Man might justly be left to endless destruction, with. out any remedy, having fallen under the curse of the divine law, which is righteous and good. And that he could be saved consistent with this law, and the maintenance and honour of divine government, could not be known by any creature. And if it were known that it was possible for man to be delivered and saved, consistent with the honour of the divine law and government, it could not be known that God would see fit to do it, until he revealed his will and design in this matter. God was infinitely far from being under any obligations to show favour to man; it depended upon his sovereign will to determine whether man should be redeemed, or not: and if he were redeemed, it must be by the most free, undeserved sovereign mercy. Therefore that God would show any mercy to sinners, could not be known