Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

irig and repenting sinner. It is grace to doned, the divine government might spare us from day to day. It was grace not sink into contempt, and the whole

that laid the foundation of our salva-universe conclude that the divine law ition...it is grace that has raised the su- might be trampled under foot with im.

perstructure, and the top stone shall|punity. The atonement which Christ be brought forth with shoutings, cry-has made, answers these ends effectuing, grace, grace unto it.

ally ; but this no creature doings or 4. In the view of this subject, we creature sufferings ever did, or ever see why creature doings can never can. make atonement. It is not uncom- Finally. In the view of this subject, mon to meet with persons who expect we see that sinners will stand in no to be saved on account of something better circumstances in the great day, " which they have done. They admit than if no atonement had been made.

that they have committed some sins, It is true that an atonement has been bei but they have also performed many made for the sins of the world....that (good works, which will be sufficient to Christ has tasted death for every man,

make satisfaction. And if their good and that in consequence of this, salva

works should be insufficient, they re- tion is freely offered to all. But this i fer us to the sufferings they have en- will be no benefit to you, in the great li dured, and conclude that these will be day, if you have despised and rejected li sufficient to atone for their sins. And the Saviour. The atonement of Christ day there is reason to think that this idea has not paid your debts. It was not

is prevalent among mankind. We of intended to do any such thing. Neii ten meet with it among persons of read-ther has it diminished your ill desert. la ing and reflection, and those too who It was not a satisfaction to distributive ad have the bible in their hands. If they justice. Your transgressions all stand czy speak of one who has been a notorious against you in the book of God, and ll profligate, but who has afterwards suf-| there they will stand forever. And if

fered much, how frequently do they you have sinned away your day of hp say, “ true, bis crimes have been great, grace, and neglected to avail yourself 3 but his sufferings too have been great, |of the offered mercy, so far from findand and we hope they have been sufficienting your circumstances better, on acbeli to atone for his guilt.“ Others have count of what Christ has done, you fist supposed that repentance and refor-will find them unspeakably worse. In en mation were a sufficient atonement. | addition to all your other guilt, you pole But, in the light of this subject, we see have been guilty of his blood. You and that no creature doings or creature suf-have trifled with his dying groans and ne ferings whatever can make an atone- bitter agonies. You have made light sii ment for sin. For, why was an atone- of his dying love, and refused his pari ment necessary? Not to excite the doning mercy; and now you must re

compassion of God, for that he feelsceive the reward of your deeds. sunt towards every suffering being. Not to Which niay God prevent, by bringing and take away ill desert, for that the atone- you to speedy repentance, for Christ's hel ment of Christ does not do, nor can sake. Amen.

X. ali repentance and reformation ever acDans complish it. But it was necessary to

NO. II. the manifest the justice of God as the moral governor

of the universe ; it was (Continued from page 352.) Ebony necessary to honor the divine law, From the view which we have taken

to show the evil of sin, and God's of this subject, in the former number, feelings towards it; it was necessary the following interesting reflections to support the divine government and arise: maintain its rights; it was necessary in 1. That vindictive justice is the high order that when the sioner was par- and exclusive prerogative of God; and

ON THE VINDICTIVE JUSTICE OF GOD.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

he alone hath the right, either to pun- and enjoined : “Recompense to ish, or to pardon sin. “ Vengeance is man, evil for evil. If it be possibk mine, saith the Lord; I will render re- as much as lieth in you, live peaceably compense to mine enemies, and re- with all men. Dearly beloved, areng ward them that hate me.” If ven- not yourselves; but rather give plac geance, then, be God's, it cannot be unto wrath ; for it is written, vengeanc long to man. It does not, any further is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord than God hath seen fit to commit a Therefore, if thine enemy hunger, feer small part of his governing authority him; if he thirst, give him drink; for! to civil rulers among men, for the pun- in so doing, thou shalt heap coats of ishment of crimes agaiust the interests fire on his head. Be not overcome of of society. In this, they act by a di- evil, but overcome evil with good.vine commission; an authority dele Romans xii. 17–21. gated from God; and are his ministers II. We are constrained to remark, and vicegerents to execute vengeance that the vindictive justice of God, hor. upon the lawless and disobedient.lever awful and destructive to his subThis is a case, however, standing sin-jects, is a most desirable, amiable and gly, and alone; and it does not mili- glorious attribute. It ought to be loved tate, even as an exception, with the and rejoiced in by all his rational creacommand enjoined upon all, of an uni- ||tures. And it is so for the following versally kind, peaceful and forgiving reasons: temper: for the punishment which the 1. Because it is the guarantee of per civil magistrate executes upon a mis fect security, and of permanent and demeaning subject of the laws, is God's everlasting happiness to all his obedi vengeance, and not man's. Vengeance ent subjects. The justice of God is as belongs to God alone; and therefore impartial as it is inexorable. God will it is, that we are forbidden to invadereward every man according to his his prerogative, by avenging our own works; and neither in rewarding or injuries, rendering evil for evil, or even punishing, doth he act with a view to indulging a spirit of resentment and the interests of a part of his moral ill will towards any fellow-creature.- kingilom, in opposition to the aggreIn the school of Christ, and there only, ||gate interests of the whole or the genare we taught to forgive our enemies, eral good. Does a civil magistrate to do good to them that hate us, and act inconsistently with his official cha. pray for them that despitefully use and racter, a part inconsistent with rectievilly intreat 115. This is the Chris- tude, in strictly executing the latrs upp tian's inode of revenge, and it is the on convicted offenders ? Does he for only revenge which reason and good that incur the charge of partiality or conscience will approve. See how injustice, of having acted with a vier expressly revenge is forbidden in the to the interests of a part, in opposition word of God...how displeasing it is to to that of the whole? No. He deserves hiin...how severely he threateps, and well of his country as an impartial, up. how awfully he will punish it: “ Thus right man. His conduct is most patrisaith the Lord God, because the Phi-otic and benevolent. A righteous king, Jistines have dealt by revenge, and have who would deserve and exhibit the taken vengeance with a despiteful dignified character of a father to his heart, to destroy it for the old hatred, people, by making his subjects as haptherefore, thus saith the Lord God, Ipy as possible under his government, behold I will stretch out mine hand must support his ority with firm upon the Philistines, and I will cut off ness, and impartially execute the laws the Cherethims, and destroy the rem in the punishment of offenders. In

rant of the sea coasts.” Ezek. xxv. 15. flexible justice is essentially connected · But, on the other hand, how strongly with gooilness. A being who is not

is the contrary spirit recommended ljusi, cannot be good : for favor to the

[ocr errors]

J!

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

guilty is cruelty to the innocent. In that the clearest and fullest display of totine, the public good is promoted no the divine justice, doth not consist with lin- further, and in no higher degree, than the salvation of the whole human race; uras justice is impartially administered. and therefore, the greatest possible her 2. As the general good is promoted general good requires the punishment

in exact proportion to the amplitude of a part, as it does the salvation of the

and clearness of these displays of vin- others. redictive justice, the greatest possible Here it will be proper to introduce

good requires the greatest possible dis- an important distinction, necessary to hey plays of it. And are not these displays be made and kept in view, in order to actually made in the divine govern a right understanding of this subject. ment? Could they be more clear and It arises in answer to this question, viz. full upon any other plan? Let us in. If the justice of God require the punquire. The destruction of all moral ishment of the guilty, how can justice beings is not an admissible supposi-be satisfied with the punishment of ontion, as this would defeat the great endly a part of the guilty ? Or how is the of justice. But supposing all mankind general good better promoted by the

were saved and none punished, would salvation of those particular individuhtm?

the displays of justice be as clear and als- who compose the number of the full ? Evidently they would not. The elect, than it would by the salvation of punishment of the sinning angels, it is others, since there is no personal de

true, would be a display of vindictive sert of salvation in either ? To answer arank

justice; but this display would not be these questions, the distinction between so clear and full as it might be, while general and distributive justice is nemankind, who are equally deserving of cessary to be brought into view. The punishment, (I do not say, deserving general good requires the salvation of

of equal punishment) are all pardoned a certain part of the human race. Who bilik and made happy. As the devils are those are, or why those, in preference

a distinct order of beings, commenced to others, is known only to God. Yet the moral existence under different cir-he acts not without reasons, however i bi cumstances, and incurred greater, and unknown they are to us. Infinite wis

more aggravated guilt by their aposta- dom ever acts from the highest and

cy, their punishment would not afford | best reasons. The general good is betEl no

a conclusive evidence of God's dis- ter promoted by the salvation of the pleasure against the sins and rebellion elect, than it would be by the salva

of men...would be no display of divinetion of any of the rest of mankind; the justice towards them...0 proof, by sen and we may set it down for certain,

sible fruits in government, of the same that God will make as many of his ra

inoral character of God, as an infinite tional creatures happy, as can consist with hater of their iniquity, which is expres- with the greatest general good. Perdoppio sed in his written law. It would give haps the number will be by far tho

intelligent beings occasion to think, greater part of the human race. Perthat inan was saved, because not so haps it will appear in the grand conguilty as the devils; or because he was summation at the last day, that there

not so deserving of that punishment for are but a very few state criminals for erbi his disobedience, with which God had execution, in proportion to the numther threatened him, and so not guilty at all. ber of the redeemed and saved. And

By which man would have something perhaps, too, all the seasons of the diwhereof to boast; in either case alikevine counsels and conduct will be underogatory to the honor, truth and ju folded, in the exhibitions of eternity. tice of the divine character. It would | But to return. The general good reafford soine ground to suspect the di- quiring the salvation of a part of the vine impartiality, and so far defeat the human race, it is, therefore, general end of justice. Therefore, it is argued, justice--what is due to the general

[ocr errors]

TETU

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Does parts

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

VOL. 2. ry

Tero

te tibel aders

the e

Fort

200d-or the fruit of a supreme re- || Christ. - Christ at se gard to that end, that they should be from the curse of the it.. exempted from personal punishment. a curse for us." Isaia General justice has both an ultimate, the apostle Joba saith. -** and also an immediate respect to the our sins, he is faittiut and a general good: Distributive justice has give us our sips, and to eles also an ultimate respect to that end, all unrighteousness" but an immediate respect only to the maintains and displays the personal moral character of the crea- ||ous character of impartasa. ture. General justice admits of mercy tice, in all his ways and were to the guilty ; yra, requires it: distri- || salvation of his chosen, ait butive ju tice knows no mercy, but struction of reprobates. la be treats every subject according to his is equally just, and equally good: personal and inoral character, saying, are the accomplishment of “ 'The soul that sinneth, it shall die," purpose, and flow from the se * Cursed is every one that continueth changeable perfections eftis not in all things written in the book of This distinction being made, si: the law to do them.” This is the aw- plained, we proceed to remart. ful fanction of the moral law. In the 3. That if the greatest possible salvation of the redeemed, general and eral good require the clearest and distributive justice, independent of the est displays of divine justice, and ta atonement of Christ, would for ever displays cannot be made but by stand mutually opposed. In the de- punishment of a part of the her struction of the wicked, they conspire, race; then the duration of this on and are jointly exercised.

requires an equal duration of t: llere ihe wisdom and glory of the displays. The atonement of Ck divine plan of redemption appear and though in itself an adequate expresse shine, in perfectly harmonizing the of the divine displeasure, is not a contending claims of general and display of justice sufficiently clear, set tributive justice, by removing all thesible and impressive to the minds á obstacles which were cast by the latter intelligent creatures, unless accoppe in the way of mercy.

So that mer- nied with the punishment of impex cy and truth have met together, right. | tent sinners, as standing, visible mon eousness and peace have kissed each ments of divine justice, in a continue other:" or, justice and grace are har- and eternal state of sufferings. For, movized. Since Christ hath suffered, the impressions of faith must be more the just for the unjust; tasted death feeble and languid than those of sight for every man, and become a propitia- We well know that we more sensiby tion for ile sins of the whole world ; realize, and are more deeply affected God can have mercy on whom he will with what we see, than with what we have mercy; can be just, and the jus- only hear, and merely believe, thought tifier of him that believeth in Jesus. it be without the least doubt. We have The righteousness of God is declared, heard of the burning of Moscow, and and displnyed in the redemption of we fully believe the fact ; but who ea Christ; his infinite love of holiness and realize all the horrors and distresscs of And of sins that he acts as a just that great city in flames, equally with *vely parvloning sin for Christ's an eye witness of the awful scene!

receiving inio bis divine fa- Had we lived at the time, and beat
iendship every true believer, i eye witnesses of Christ, suspended
ing faith in every soul whom bleeding, groaning and dying upon the
ordained unlernal life.cross-had known his true character,

God, as it and understood the language of
Tly satisfi- sufferings; the awful glory of divine

sings of justice in the sufferings of the Sor of

[ocr errors]

vidutive je us the reddet and displayed

[ocr errors]

1.2

God, might have had the deepest im-|| ered, through distinguishing, sovereign pressions upon our minds, perhaps, and unmerited mercy, they will the that we are capable of receiving in more feelingly realize the greatness of this life. Yet as soon as the sensible their salvation, the value of Christ's medium of display was removed, and atonement, and the infinite dignity of

the impression continued but by the his person and character. As the -> power of memory and mental reflec-| damned sink in misery, they will rise

tion, it would constantly langaish and in happiness, and the glory of Christ declive ; the objects become less and be exalted, and rise higher and higher Icss rivid, and gradually affect us less to eternity.

and less, in proportion to the distance In the beginning of the 19th chapter I of time from the scene of recollection of St. John's Revelation, we have the

This was the reason of the institu- most lively and affecting representation of the sacramental supper, in com-tion of the saints in heaven rejoicing in memoration of the death of Christ. the visible displays of God's justice, “ Do this in remembrance of me." It|| in the eternal punishment of his enewas designed to revive and strengtheni mies. “And after these things, I heard the inpression of Christ crucified, by a great voice of much people in heavbringing the object represented byen, saying, Alleluia, salvation and glo

symbols, as nearly as possible intory, and honor unto the Lord our God; esti

sensible view. “ As oft as ye eat this for trueand righteous are his judgments be

bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew-for he hath judged the great whore, the

forth the Lord's death, till he come. which did corrupt the earth with her And were we to be with Christ for fornications, and hath avenged the ever in his glorified state, and have the blood of his servants at her hands.

same nearness of access that Thomas And again, they said, Alleluia, and her of

had, after his resurrection; yet the dis-smoke arose up for ever and ever.?' er

play of dirine justice, by Christ upon As the smoke of their torment arises, the cross, would still be but an object they will swell their son of joy and of failh ; it would need a sensible triumph, and strike eternal anthems of monument to enforce the impression praise upon their golden harps, to rein the deepest and most realizing man-deeming love and power, saying, “Wor

The divine character of the Re- thy is the Lamb that was slain, and hath deerner, though an adequate medium redeemed us unto God with his blood. of expressing the divine justice-yet|Not unto us, not unto us, O Lord, but

that expression must be displayed to unto thy name give glory, for thy merEbel

the finite views and limited capacities cy, and thy truth's sake." of creatures, by gradual and successive Here is the grand consummatior, of discoveries. This can be done in noall God's works....the complete and fiother way than by the punishment of|nal accomplishment of all his eternal the finally impenitent. When the re- || purposes. They all issue and termideemed in glory look down to the dark || nate in one infinitely wise and glorious regions of despair,and view the wretch-end; the greatest possible general good ed millions of their fellow men, and and happiness of his moral kingdom, fellow sinners, weltering in the flames effected by the fullest and clearest disof divine wrath...reaping the wages of plays of his justice: and this good, the sin in a state of continual, intolerable, greatest in degree, rendered eternal in increasing, and eternal misery; they its duration, by the equal continuance will have a deep and increasing sense and increasing clearness of these disof the evil of sin, and the punishment|plays. This is the proper fruit, the it deserves. By the misery of the necessary consequence, and ultimate damned, they will the more sensibly end of the divine eternal predestination feel their own deserts. By viewing of all things; a doctrine which reflects the wrath from which they are deliv- the highest glory upon the divine ehar

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ner.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

2

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

UW

« AnteriorContinuar »