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self, and worthy of the declarations of his love and good-will to them.
These things fhew, that the doctrine of eternal blessedness may be inferred from the above-cited pallages concerning God's great favour and lovingkindness to his people, even though it were not so oft and fo expressly affirmed, that that loving-kindness is everlasting * ; as also from the words of God himself concerning the incomparable worth of the blessings of his covenant; and particularly from that excellency of them which is so oft mentioned, as diftinguishing them from temporal enjoyments, which satisfy not t, namely, that they abundantly satisfy and fill the soul I; as also from the express decla. ration, 11. lxiv. 4. that the things prepared for them who wait for God are incomprehensible, and surpass all that eye has seen, ear heard, or heart conceived; especially when to all this we join the frequent divine calls to God's people to rejoice with an unspeakable joy, to which mere temporal grounds of joy bear no proportion ||.
The doctrine in view has alfo a necessary connection with, or is necessarily included in, the very nature of some particular benefits of the Messiah, and particularly the great benefit of remission of sin; because the Old Testament, as well as the New, teaches, that death is the fruit of sin; and consequently remission of sio must include deliverance in due time from death. The force of this argument will be more evident, if we consider the doctrine of the prophets, not only concerning the Meffiah's humiliation and sufferings as the cause of remission, but also concerning the completeness and perfection of that remiffion, which is declared in as strong general expressions in the Old Testament as in the
• See the above passages about adoption.
| Pfal. xxxvi. liii.; If. lv. 2. 3. ; Pial. cv. SIY, lx,
+ If. Iv. 2.
# If. xl. lv.
New; as when it is declared, that the Lord will be merciful to his people's iniquities, and remember their fins no more, Jer. xxxi. 34.; that he will separate their fins from them as far as east is from west, Psal. ciii 12. ; that he will blot out their fins as clouds, Il. xliv. 22. ; that he will cast their fins into the depths of the sea, Micah vii. 19.; that though they be as crimson and scarlet, he will make them white as the snow, Il. i. 18.; yea whiter than the snow, Pfal. li. 7.
As the prophets speak of divine forgiveness, as complete and perfect, as of inestimable value, and as the end and effect of the sacrifice of the Mefliah, whom they deferibe as a divine person incarnate ; so they teach, that it is a benefit that is peculiar to the penitent, and has a connection with true blesseuness.
Seeing all pardon granted by a sovereign is an act of grace, preventing a punithment which is due by a standing law for transgression, and which, without such pardon, would be the actual consequence of transgression, divine forgiveness mult prevent a punishment, which otherwise would be the effect of sin, either now or hereafter, or both.
It cannot relate merely or chiefly to preservation from temporal afflictions, because this is not only manifestly contrary to experience, but also to many clear instructions in the Old Testament conc
oncerning temporal afflictions; shewing, that oft-times penitent and pardoned sinners have a larger Mare of them than others; that they are consistent with pardon *; that they are even privileges belonging to adoption t, and consequently, in some respects, fruits of remission, and of the fatherly mercy of God, chastising his children for their good.
2 Sam. xii. 10. 13. compared with Pf. li. 1. 2. 7. &c. + Pl, xciv. 12. and lxxxix. 30. &c. compared with Heb. xii. 4.
Divine forgiveness must therefore relate chiefly to the preventing of punishment in a future state. And if it be objected, That this may be done by an. nihilation, it is obvious, that this sort of pardon, if all men be supposed to be annihilated, must be a pardon common to all, whether they repent of sin, and have an interest in the Messiah's facrifice, and the mercy of God, or not. And if it be objected, That supposing impenitent finners to exist in a future state of punishment, it is a valuable privilege to escape such punishment by annihilation; in answer to this, it is evident, That deprivation of all good, and of being itself, though not the greatest punishment possible, is yet a very great punishment, inconsistent with the above-cited declarations of the perfection of pardon, and the many magnificent commendations of the great blessedness of those who partake of that benefit; the scripture expressions, about the connection between pardon and blessedness, Pf. xxxii. 1. not admitting so. low a meaning as mere freedom from misery; which negative blessedness, if it could be called blessedness, is no more than what stocks and stones are capable of.
The doctrine of adoption, even as it is explained -by the prophets, necessarily implies, that God's children are intitled to a better inheritance than a life of some temporary comforts here, mixed with so much vanity and vexation of spirit, and ending in annihilation. In Malachi iii. where it is said, that God will spare those that fear him, as a man spares his son that serves him, it is declared, that “ they will be his in the day when he makes up his “ jewels;" plainly pointing at a remarkable future period of time, when it would appear, more than ever, how much God's children are the objects of his complacency and good-will, and how much he has their happiness at heart. And as even the prophetic doctrine of fanctification implies, that the
'divine Spirit, in implanting divine love, kindles strong desires after God, " as the soul's portion for
ever ;" such desires being both commanded, pro, duced, and promoted, by him who is able to fulfil them, cannot be eternally frustrated *. When it is declared, that God who dwells in heaven, dwells also with them who are of a broken heart, Il. lvii. 15. his dwelling with them here is a fure pledge of their dwelling with him for ever hereafter; the consolations which, according to the Old Testament, as well as the New, are included in mens enjoying God's special gracious presence, being of a heavenly nature, and earnests of heavenly blessedness. All which is much confirmed by the strong declarations God makes, that he will never forsake his people t, it being the very least thing that can be implied in such promises, that he will not destroy them, by depriving them of being itfelf.
The doctrine of future blessedness is necessarily implied in many passages, where everlasting continuance is affirmed of the several parts and causes of falvation. For though it may be objected, That such expressions relate only to the perpetual continuance of the church, and of the spiritual privileges of the church, considered as a collective body, without inferring the perpetual happiness of individual members; it is evident, in answer to this, not only that the happiness of the whole church, or of any fociety, consists in the happiness of the several parts or members of which it is made up, but also that everlasting continuance is affirmed of the blessings of God's covenant, in passages where those blessings are commended, offered, and promised, not merely to Zion as a collective body, but to particular
* See Pf. xxii. 26. They hall praise the Lord that seek him ; your heart shall live for ever. † Sec lsaiah lxii. 13.
persons, If.lv. 2. 3. Pf. xxii. 26.; or where they are claimed by particular persons as their portion, Pr. lxxiii. 26. And in Ps. ciii. 17. the excellency of God's mercy to them that fear him, as being e. verlasting, is mentioned in opposition to the thort continuance of human life here : what the Plalmist adds, about the extending of that mercy to the seed of such persons, being a confirmation of the continuance of it to those persons themselves. To which we may add, that the perpetual continuance of Zion, and of her privileges, considered as a collective body, proves a future state ; because the perpetual continuance of the present state of things is inconsistent with many instructions contained in the Old Testament, as particularly the expressions concerning the latter day, Job xix. 25. the last days, 11. ii. 2. and the time when the heavens shall wax old as a garment, and be changed as a vesture, Pf. cii. 26. On all which accounts, we have abundant evidence, that expressions of everlasting continuance are to be understood in the highest and most natural meaning, when such continuance is affirmed, either of God's loving kindness to his people, If. liv. 10, or of the righteousness brought in by the Messiah, Dan. ix. or of God's covenant itself, I. liv. 10. or of the light, If. lx. 19. 20. peace, If. ix. 6. life, If. xxxii. or joy, Il. xxxv. 10. li. 11. promised in that covenant. And whereas the word everlasting is sometimes taken in a limited and lower sense, to denote only very long continuance, as when it is applied to mountains or hills, the Prophet Isaiah in effect gives an express caution against that low meaning of the word, when it is applied to God's loving kindness and covenant, If. liv. 10. “ For the mountains (all depart, and the “ hills be removed; but my kindness shall not de
part from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, faith the Lord.” All these arguments receive additional strength