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placed. God's goodness appears in the moral conftitution formed for angels, which was, as his been obferved, more favourable than mere law, as they had the promise of a reward of eternal life, in confequence of their obedience during a temporary trial. The infinite goodness and munificence of God, is expressed in this, and will be forever celebrated by them, who are confirmed in holiness, and have actually received this reward. And herein is to be feen the goodness of God Their towards them who fell into fin and endless ruin. rebellion, and their being treated according to their de fert, and falling under the threatened punishment, did not render the goodness of God to them, in their original formation, and in placing them under fo good a conftitution, in any respect or degree the less; but was, and continues to be as great and perfpicuous, as it would be if they had continued in this goodness, and had obtained eternal life. And were their hearts right, as they ought to be, they would never cease to exercise gratitude, and be thankful for the goodness of God to them, and to acknowledge that the infinite evil which is come upon them, is the just consequence of their abufe of God's goodness to them.

And the goodness of God to man was great and wonderful, in forming him with a capacity to be a moral agent, and under moral government, and to enjoy endlefs life in the favour of God. And the conflitution, and form of moral government, which has been confidered, was an expreffion of infinite goodness; and could not have been formed by any being, but one infinitely good. The law requires nothing but what is neceffary for the good of man: The highest happiness confifted in obedience to this law. The time of trial was to be fhort; and man was under every defirable advantage, and had every conceivable motive to persevere in obedience. The reward promifed was infinitely great, infinitely

infinitely more than the longeft obedience could merit or deferve. And the fanction or penalty threatened was neceffary in order to its being a good law, and was an inftance of goodnefs, as it was a guard to the law, and tended to fecure obedience as it rendered difobedience infinitely dreadful, in the confequence of it; and fo was an untpeakably powerful motive to obedience.

The appointment of a public head, and Adam, to act for the whole, as he was, in a fenfe the whole of mankind, they being all included in him, was a wife and good conflitution; even the beft, and the most in favour of mankind of any that can be conceived: Unfpeakably more favourable to man, than if every one of the human race were to act for himself, and be in a state of trial, as they fhould fucceffively rife into exiftence. There was a poffibility that Adam would tranfgrefs; it was highly probable he would not. And, as has been obferved, he had every defirable and poffible motive to obedience, and a very powerful one which could not have exifted, had he not acted as a public head, for all his pofterity.

All this, as has been obferved, was in our favour, and goodness to us. This is the happy ftate in which mankind were placed under moral government; the beft, the happiest fituation which could be devifed by infinite wifdom and goodness. And it may be demanded, What could have been done, that was not done for mankind, in placing them in fuch circumftances, and under fuch a good law and conftitution, confiftent with being placed in a flate of probation?

The goodness of God, ought to be celebrated by us, and to excite our conftant, fervent gratitude and praife. For, as has been before obferved, this goodness is not the lefs, nor are our obligations to gratitude and praife in the leaft diminifhed, by the abufe of it; by which we have loft all the benefit of it; and are become moft miferable.

II. THE

II. Tax fin and eternal ruin of the angels who fell, is fuited to give conviction to all, of the vanity, weaknefs and infufficiency of the higheft and moft excellent creatures; and of their abfolute and conftant dependance on God: And confequently, that there is no creature, in whom we may fafely put any truft, however great and dignified.

This event taught the angels who did not fin, this leffon more fully, than otherwife they could have learned it. In this they faw their own infufficiency for themfelves; that they were liable to ruin themselves every moment, and depended on God intirely, for prefervation from infinite evil; and that they were wholly indebted to him, for this favour, which must be fovereign, goodness, to which they had no claim, and which God was under no obligation to grant. This they will fee more clearly, and acknowledge with greater, fenfibility. forever, than they could have done, if none of them had finned, and fallen into endless ruin: And by it God will be more loved, praised and glorified, and they will be unfpeakably more holy and happy, throughout their endlefs existence.

God, in his wifdom, ordered it fo, that the highest, and moft excellent part of the creation, fhould become morally corrupt, and infinitely worse than nothing, by finking into irrecoverable and endless ruin and mifery; to fhew, that the creature, in its beft state, is nothing but vanity, confidered in itfelf, independent of the power, goodnefs and all fufficiency of God; which could not be dif covered to creatures, to the best advantage, in any other way. Which difcovery is of the utmost importance, and abfolutely neceffary to the higheft good of the univerfe. This will remain an everlafting leffon, by which all holy creatures will be taught humility and gratitude; and God will receive a revenue of praife and glory forever, which could not have exifted, had not this event

taken place.

III. Bx

III. By the view we have had of the divine law, and moral government, we may learn, what is the rule of our duty now, and confequently, what is fin in us, viz. every deviation of heart from the rule of duty, by omiffion of what it requires, or doing what it forbids.

The particular covenant made with man in his original state; by which the head and father of the human race was confidered as including all mankind; and was constituted to a& for the whole, being violated, ceased to exift any longer, except in the confequences of the vio lation of it. But the law pointing out and requiring duty, and threatening the tranfgreffor, is ftill the rule of our duty, and binding on us; and in the threatning we are told, what every tranfgreffion of ours, deferves; and learn what is the curfe under which we are, as finners. For this law, as has been fhown, is unchangeable in its nature, and must be binding on every moral agent. Tranfgreffing it, though ever so often repeated, does not in the leaft abfolve us from obligation to obey it; and however great is our averfion from what it requires, and however ftrong and fixed it be, this does not in the leaft excufe us in our disobedience, and remove or abate our obligation to obedience; but the stronger and more fixed our hearts are in oppofition to what is required, and the more and longer fuch oppofition is indulged, the more criminal we are. There is no other law given to us, which requires lefs than this original law, or that is not virtually contained in it or enforced by it. To love God with all our heart, foul, ftrength and mind; and our neighbour as ourselves, is always our duty, and all oppofition to it, and every omiffion of this duty, in the leaft degree, is fin. We must therefore look into this perfect law, and rule of duty, and no where else, in order to know what is our duty, and what is fin; and by this alone can we obtain the knowledge of, and afcertain, our own moral character.

CHAP.

CHA P. VIII.

On the Apoftacy of Man, and the Evil Confequence to him.

MAN, who was placed in a happy and honourable fituation, did not continue in it; but by tranfgreffing the divine command, and violating the holy covenant, plunged into a state of infinite guilt and wretchedness, under the curfe, and threatened penalty of the law of God.

Mofes gives a particular history of this firft apoftacy of man, in the third chapter of the book of Genefis. He does not tell us how long man continued innocent and obedient, after he was created; or give us a hiftory of what paffed, and of all the particular events and transactions which took place in a ftate of innocency; fuch a history being of no use and importance to us, while we continue in the present ftate. The whole will doubtless be revealed to all mankind at the day of judgment.

The SERPENT is faid to be the tempter, by whom Eve was deceived, and led to eat of the fruit of the forbidden tree; and then gave it to Adam, and he eat of it also. It is faid, "The ferpent was more fubtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made." He appeared to have more fagacity than any other of the brute creation. Probably he had an erect and very beautiful form, and had nothing of the appearance and form of ferpents fince the fall of man. He appeared near the for

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