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ments be granted, or its violated honours amply restored, oppose all his efforts to obtain liberty or to preserve life.
Now thus it stands with sinful 'man, re. specting the great Governour of heaven and of earth. The divine law, which was given as a rule of conduct, has been broken in a thou. sand instances; and its language to the candi. date for eternal happiness, on the ground of human worthiness is, Pay me that thou owest! - Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them. This demand is founded in equity, and can neither be evaded nor complied with by the culprit: he lies under an arrest of jus-, tice; and unless the demands of the claimant be answered by the sinner, or his substitute, he must remain perpetually a debtor, and feel the weight of its sentence forever. • Without an adequate atonement,' says the ingenious Blacklock, "no sinner can possibly escape the hands, or elude the awards of justice. But such a compensation can by no means be given, if the delinquent's capacities of suffering be li
mited, or his station and character of no higher importance than those of his brethren; for the malignity of moral evil is too diffuse and permanent to be cured by any exemplary punishment, whose duration and extent are circumscribed. Even penitence itself cannot obliterate the evils which it deplores. Transgressions already past, and recorded in the books of heaven, are not to be reversed by resolutions of future reformation. The purest virtue of which human nature is capable, extends not to the sanctity of those laws which are prescribed for its obedience. Our best actions demand the exertions of mercy and forgiveness: how then can we atone for them that are bad?"
Let it, therefore, be remembered, that on the ground of personal desert, no sinner can be saved. This is absolutely impossible: and the reason is obvious. He has violated the divine precept, and no future conduct, however exemplary and exact, can atone for crimes previously committed. "The punishment of vice,' says Mr. Jenyns, “is a debt due to justice, which cannot be remitted without compensation : repentance can be no compensation : it may change a man's dispositions, and prevent his offending for the future; but can lay no claim to pardon for what is past. If any one, by profligacy and extravagance, con. tract a debt, repentance may make him wiser, and hinder him from running into further distresses; but can never pay off his old bonds ; for which he must be ever accountable, unless they are discharged by himself, or some other in his stead.' As, therefore, a continuance of happiness was conditionally annexed to perfect and perpetual obedience only; that happiness cannot be enjoyed without entire conformity to the conditions on which it was promised. The scriptures positively assert, that the whole world is become guilty before God—that, by the deeds of the law, there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for, by the law is the knowledge of sin. If, therefore, righteousness. come by the law, then, Christ is dead in vain!'
or is not dependent on God. If dependent, which is the fact, for independence is peculiar to Jehovah, he must be a subject of moral government; for no reasonable creature can exist without being subject to some law expressed or implied; nor can there be a law without a penal sanction. This is absolutely impossible : because the law that requires supreme love to any object as a duty must, as 'it cannot be framed on principles of compas. sion to guilt,' necessarily condemn hatred or opposition to it as a crime. If, therefore, it was right, in the first instance, that man should love his Creator, and conform to the precepts given as the standard of obedience, it must be right to inflict the penalty annexed to transgression.
If, then, it be allowed that man is accountable to the Almighty for his conduct; that the rule of duty is founded in righteousness; and that he has violated this rule; it is, I think, demonstrable that, if salvation by Jesus Christ be rejected, he must suffer the penalty of the law-or, in other words, he must inevitably
perish. This conclusion appears to me indis
The moral law, which is a transcript of the divine purity, is, we are told by one well acquainted with its perfection and extent, summarily comprehended in love to God and love to man. It enjoins nothing but what is absolutely good in itself-what is adapted as much for the creature's happiness, as for the glory of the beneficent Creator: nor does it prohibit any thing but what is positively evil—what is naturally ruinous to the soul and body, as well as derogatory to the supreme Governour of heaven and of earth.
Now, in attending to this incomparable law, there is no fear of excess. 'In the love of God,' says one, there can be no possibility of exceeding, while there is no limitation in the command: nor are we in danger of loving our neighbour better than ourselves; and let us remember that we do not go beyond, but fall short of our duty, while we love him less.'