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I. I am to show upon what grounds it was, that God, the great Governor of the world, did consider mankind as being in a perishing condition, i. e. sinful, guilty, justly condemned, helpless and undone. That he did consider mankind as being in a perishing condition, is evident, because he gave his only begotten Son, that they might not perish who should believe in him. If we were not in a perishing condition, his giving his Son to save us from perdition, had been needless: and his pretending great love and kindness in doing so, had been to affront us; to make as if we were undone creatures, when we were not; and as if we were much beholden to him for his goodness, when we could have done well enough without it: and the more he pretends of his great love and kindness, the greater must the affront be. So that however we look upon ourselves, it is certain that God, who sees all things as being what they are, did actually look upon us as in a perishing, lost, undone condition. And if he considered us as being in such a condition, it must have been because he looked upon us as sinful, guilty, justly condemned, and altogether helpless; for otherwise we were not in a perishing condition. If we could have helped ourselves a little, we should not have needed one to save us, but only to help us to save ourselves: but our salvation, in scripture, is always attributed wholly to God; and God every where takes all the glory to himself, as though, in very deed, he had deserved it all; (Eph. i. 3-6. and ii. 1-9.) so that it is certain, God did look upon mankind as being in a perishing condition, sinful, guilty, justly condemned, and altogether helpless and considering us in such a condition, he entered upon his designs of mercy and grace; and therefore he every where magnifies his love, and looks upon us as infinitely beholden to him, and under infinite obligations to ascribe to him all the glory and praise, even quite all: That no flesh should glory in his pre

sence; but he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. 1 Cor. i. 29. 31.

It is of great importance, therefore, that we come to look upon ourselves as being in such a perishing condition too; for otherwise it is impossible we should ever be in a disposition thankfully to accept gospel-grace, as it is offered unto us. We shall rather be offended, as thinking the gospel casts reproach upon human nature, in supposing us to be in such a forlorn condition as to stand in a perishing need of having so much. done for us; as the Jews of old scorned it, when Christ told them, If they would become his disciples, they should know the truth, and the truth should make them free. They took it as an affront, and were ready to say, "What! Just as if we "were in bondage! Indeed, no. We were never in bondage "to any man: we have Abraham to our father, and God is (6 our Father; but thou hast a devil." John viii. 31–48. They would not understand him; they were all in a rage: and so it is like to be with us, with regard to the methods which God has taken with us in the gospel, unless we look upon ourselves as he does; so wretched and miserable; so poor, blind, and naked; so helpless, lost, and undone. It is the want of this self-acquaintance, together with a fond notion of our being in a much better case than we are, that raises such a mighty cry against the doctrines of grace, through a proud, impenitent, guilty world.

And since God does thus look upon us to be in such a perishing condition, and upon this supposition enters on his designs of mercy and grace, here now, therefore, does the question recur, Upon what grounds is it that he considers us as being in such a perishing condition? Grounds he must have, and good grounds too, or he would never thus look upon us. If we may rightly understand what they are, perhaps we may come to look upon ourselves as he does; and then the grace of the gospel will begin to appear to us in the same light it does to him. The grounds, then, are as follow:

1. God, the great Governor of the world, does, in the gospel, consider mankind as being guilty of Adam's first sin, and, on that account, to be in a perishing condition. In Adam all died, (1 Cor. xv. 22;) but death is the wages of sin, (Rom. vi.

23 :) therefore, in Adam all sinned; for by one màn sin entered into the world, and death by sin: and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned, 1. e. sinned in Adam, (Rom. v. 12;) for (ver. 19.) by one man's disobedience many were made sinners. And accordingly, by the ofence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation: and hence all are by nature children of wrath. (Eph. ii. 3.)

OBJ. But how can we be guilty of Adam's frst sin? It was he committed it, and not we: and that without our consent, and a long time before we were born.

ANS. Adam, by divine appointment, stood and acted as our public head. He stood a representative in the room of all his posterity; and, accordingly, acted not only for himself, but for them. His sustaining this character rendered him a type of Christ, the second Adam, who has laid down his life in the room and stead of sinners. And his being spoken of in scripture as a type of Christ, with respect to this character of a public head, proves that he did actually sustain such a character. (Rom. v. 14.) And, therefore, as by the obedience of Christ, many are made righteous; so, by the disobedience of Adam, many are made sinners, (ver. 19.) i. e. by the imputation of Christ's obedience, believers become legally righteous; righteous in the sight of God, by virtue of an established constitution; and so have the reward of eternal life. So, by the imputation of Adam's first sin, his posterity, by ordinary generation, became legally sinners; sinners in the sight of God, by virtue of an established constitution, and so are exposed to the punishment of eternal death, the proper wages of sin. Now, it is true, we did not PERSONALLY rise in rebellion against God in that first transgression, but he who did do it was our representative. We are members of the community he acted for, and God considers us as such; and, therefore, looks upon us as being legally guilty, and liable to be dealt with accordingly; and so, on this account, in a perishing condition. But, perhaps, some will still be ready to say, "And where is the justice of all this ?" Methinks the following considerations, if we will be disinterestedly impartial, may set the matter in a satisfying light:

(1.) That the original constitution made with Adam, as to himself personally considered, was holy, just, and good.

(2.) That if all his posterity had been put under the same constitution, one by one, from age to age, as they came into being, to act for themselves, it had also been holy, just, and good.

(3.) That it was, in the nature of the thing, in all respects, as well for our interests that Adam should be made our public head and representative, to act not only for himself, but for all his posterity, as that we should each stand and act for himself singly; and, in some respects, better.

(4.) That, in such a case, God, as supreme Lord and sovéreign Governor of the whole world, had full power and rightful authority to constitute Adam our common head and public representative, to act in our behalf. Let us, therefore, distinctly consider these particulars :

(1.) It is to be noted, the original constitution made with Adam, (Gen. ii. 17.) as to himself personally considered, was holy, just, and good, as will appear if we consider the circumstances he was under, antecedent to that constitution or covenant. For,


In the first place, antecedent to that covenant-transaction, he was under infinite obligations, from the reason and nature of things, to love God with all his heart, and obey him in every thing. From the infinite excellence and beauty of the divine nature, and from God's original, entire right to him, as his creature, and absolute authority over him, as his subject, did his infinite obligation so to do necessarily arise. was fit; it was infinitely fit and right that he should look upon the infinitely glorious God, his Maker and Governor, as being what he was, and as having such a right to him, and authority over him, as he had, and that he should be affected and act accordingly, antecedent to the consideration of any covenanttransaction. And, no doubt, this was actually the case with him before that covenant was made; for he was created in the image of God; (Gen. i. 27.) and so his heart was full of a sense of his glory, and of admiring and adoring thoughts. He felt that he was not his own, but the Lord's; and he loved him, and was entirely devoted to him, in the temper of his mind, conscious of the infinite obligations he was under thereto. And further, it is certain that God was the sole Lord and owner of this lower world, and all things in it; and that

Adam had no right to any thing but by a divine grant. And it is certain it was fit that Adam should be put into a state of trial, and that God had authority to do it.

And now, since he was naturally under such infinite obligations to love and obey God, his Maker, God, the supreme Lord and sovereign Governor of all things; since he had no right to any of the trees of the garden, but by the free grant of God; and since it was fit he should be put into a state of trial, and God had authority to do it: since these things were so, it is evident that constitution was HOLY: In the day thow eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die. God had a right to make such a law, for Adam was his, and all the trees in the garden were his, and he was, by nature, GOD, SUPREME LORD AND SOVEREIGN GOVERNOR of the whole world, and it was fitting he should act as such; and it was infinitely fit that Adam should have a sacred regard to his authority in all things, because he was such; and that his eternal welfare should lie at stake, and be suspended upon his good behaviour. And, no doubt, Adam viewed things thus, and was thoroughly sensible that God had a right to prohibit that tree upon pain of death, and that he was under infinite obligations to have a most sacred regard to his will in that matter. Thus that constitution was holy.

And if we consider, in the next place, that, as has been ob→ served, Adam was under infinite obligations to love God, his Maker, with all his heart, and obey him in every thing, resulting from the very reason and nature of things, it will appear that the threatening was just; and no more than what he must have expected, had he fallen into any sin whatsoever, antecedent to any constitution at all. Adam, in a state of pure na ture, i. e. prior to any covenant-transaction, was under infinite obligations to perfect love and perfect obedience; the least defect, therefore, must have been infinitely sinful; and so, by consequence, must have deserved an infinite punishment.— And it was meet that God, the Governor of the world, should punish sin according to its real desert: in the nature of things it was meet, antecedent to any express declaration of his design to do so; and Adam knew all this. He knew what obligations he was under to God, to love him with all his heart,

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