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and obey him in every thing; and, by consequence, he was conscious to himself that the least defect would be an infinite evil, and so would deserve an infinite punishment; and he knew that it was the nature of God to render to every one according to his deserts: he was certain, therefore, from the reason and nature of things, antecedent to that threatening, that the least sin would expose him to an infinite punishment. From this view of the case, it is plain that that threatening was just, and Adam did most perfectly approve of it as such. It was no more than it was reasonable for Adam to expect, and meet for God to inflict, for any transgression of the law of nature. And it was against the law of nature for Adam to eat the forbidden fruit, when once God had said he should not. It was practically denying God's supremacy, casting off his authority, and actually setting up his will against the Lord's. If anv sin, therefore, deserved an infinite punishment, surely that did.

Remark. And here, by the way, from this view of the case, we may gain a certain knowledge of what God meant by Thou shalt surely die; or, as it is in the original, In dying thou shalt die; and may be certain how Adam understood it. He did not mean that Adam should be annihilated; for such a punishment was not equal to the crime. He might, without injustice, have annihilated Adam, had he remained innocent; for he that gives Being, of his mere good pleasure, may, of his mere good pleasure, take it away again: nor could Adam have brought God into debt by a thousand years' perfect obedience; for he owed himself, and all he could do, to God his Maker. Rom. xi. 35. God meant to punish Adam according to his deserts; but annihilation would not have been such a punishment: and therefore it is certain that this was not what God meant. Adam knew that sin was an infinite evil, and so deserved an infinite punishment, and that it was meet it should be punished according to its deserts, and that it was the nature of God to do so; but annihilation was not such a punishment, and Adam could not but know it: and therefore Adam could not understand death in this sense. God meant to punish Adam according to his deserts. And what did he deserve? Why, an infinite punishment; i. e. to

have all good taken away, and all kinds of evil come upon him for ever. Well, what good had Adam in possession? Why he had a natural life, resulting from the union of his soul and body, with all the delights and sweetnesses thereof; and he had a spiritual life, resulting from the gracious influences of the Holy Spirit, and consisting of the image of God and sense of his love, with all the delights and sweetnesses thereof; and he was formed for immortality, and so was in a capacity of eternal life and blessedness, in glorifying God, and enjoying him. Here, therefore, he was capable of a natural, a spiritual, and an eternal death; to have soul and body rent asunder for ever; to be forsaken by the spirit of God, and given up to the power of sin and satan for ever, and to have God Almighty become his everlasting enemy. All this he deserved; and therefore God meant all this. he should deserve; and therefore he could not but understand the threatening to comprehend all this. makes it still more certain, that this was the

All this he knew

Besides, that which meaning of that first

threatening, is, that God has since very expressly threatened eternal death as the wages of the least sin. Rom. i. 18. Gal, iii. 10. Mat. xxv. 46; (and the word DEATH itself is plainly used to signify eternal death and misery. Rom. vi. 23. Rom. viii. 13.) So that either now he means to punish sin more than it deserves, or he intended then to punish sin less than it deserved; or else eternal death was what he always meant, by threatening death as the wages of sin. If he means to punish sin now more than he did then, it is too much now, or not enough then; both which are equally contrary to the reason and nature of things, and equally inconsistent with the impartial justice of the divine nature, which always inclines him to render to every one according to his deserts; nor more nor less and therefore eternal death was intended in that first threatening. But this by the way.

And lastly, as that constitution was holy and just, so also it was good; because it put Adam, (personally considered,) under better circumstances than he was before. For, while in a state of pure nature, perfect obedience could not have given him any title to eternal life; but, as was said before, God might have annihilated him at pleasure, after a hundred

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or a thousand, or ten thousand years, without any injustice to him. (Job xxii. 2. Rom. xi. 35.) But now, under this constitution, he had an assurance of eternal life upon perfect obedience. For inasmuch as God threatened death in case he should sin, it is evidently implied that he should have lived for ever in case he had been obedient. So that there was infinite goodness manifested to Adam, (personally considered,) in this constitution; eternal life being thus promised, of mere unmerited bounty. And besides, after a while, his state of trial would have been at an end, and he confirmed in an immutable state of holiness and happiness; of which confirmation the tree of life seems to have been designed as a sacramental sign. Gen. iii. 22. Rev. ii. 7. xxii. 14. Whereas, had he remained in a state of pure nature, he must have been everlastingly in a state of probation, had it pleased his Maker to have continued him in being. So that, upon the whole, it is plain, this constitution, as to Adam, personally considered, was holy, just, and good; and Adam had great reason, with all his heart to give thanks to God his Maker, for his goodness and condescension, that he would be so kind, and stoop so low, as to enter into such a covenant with a worm of the dust; and, no doubt, he did so with the sincerest gratitude. We proceed, therefore, to consider,

(2.) That if all his posterity had been put under this same constitution, one by one, from age to age, as they came into being, to act singly for themselves, it had also, as to them, been HOLY, JUST, and GOOD. As it was better for Adam than a state of pure nature, so it would have been, for the same reason, better for us. We, (had we remained in a state of pure nature, i. e. without any constitution at all,) should have been, each one of us, under the same infinite obligation to perfect obedience to the law of nature, and equally exposed to the same infinite punishment for the least sin, as he was, and as much without a title to life upon perfect obedience, and as liable to be everlastingly in a state of probation. And, therefore, such a constitution would have been as great a favour to us as it was to him; and we equally under obligations to gratitude and thankfulness to God therefor. But,

(3.) It was as well for our interest, in the nature of the thing,

in all respects, that Adam should be made a public head and representative, to act not only for himself, but for all his posterity, as if we had been put to act singly for ourselves; and, in some respects, better. For Adam was, in the nature of the thing, in all respects, as likely to stand as any of us should have been, and, in some respects, more likely; for he had as good natural powers; as much of the image of God, and as great a sense of his obligations, as any of us should have had; and had, in all respects, as many motives to watchfulness; and, in some respects, more; in that not only his own everlasting welfare lay at stake, but also the everlasting welfare of all his posterity too. Besides, he had just received the law from God's own mouth, and he was in a state of perfect manhood when his trial began. So that, upon the whole, in the nature of the thing, it was more likely he should stand than that any of us should; and, therefore, it was more for our interest that he should act for us, than we for ourselves. But if we had been put to act singly for ourselves, under such a constitution, it had been much better than to be left in a state of pure nature, and so we should have had great cause of thankfulness to God for his condescension and goodness; but to have Adam appointed to act for us, was, in the nature of the thing, still more to our advantage; on the account of which, we have, therefore, still greater cause of thankfulness to the good Governor of the world. It is infinite wickedness, therefore, to fly in the face of Almighty God, and charge him with unrighteousness, for appointing Adam our head and representative. We ought rather to say, "The constitution was holy, just, and good: yea, very good; but to us belongs shame and confusion of face, for that we have sinned."

OBJ. But God knew how it would turn out; he knew Adam would fall, and undo himself and all his race.

ANS. When God called Abraham, and chose him and his seed for his peculiar people, to give them distinguishing advantages and privileges, and that professedly under the notion of great kindness and unspeakable goodness; yet at the same time he knew how they would turn out; how they would be a stiff-necked people, and would kill his Prophets, his Son, and Apostles, and so be cast off from being his people. He

knew all this beforehand; yet that altered not the nature of the thing at all; did not diminish his goodness, nor lessen his grace. And the Jewish nation, at this day, have reason to say, "The Lord's ways have been ways of goodness, and blessed be his name; but to us belong shame and confusion of face, for that we have sinned."

OBJ. Yes, but God decreed that Adam should fall.

ANS. He did not decree that Adam should fall, any more than he did that the seed of Abraham should turn out such a stiff-necked, rebellious race. He decreed to permit both to do as they did; but this neither lessens his goodness, nor their sin for God is not obliged to put his creatures under such circumstances as that they shall never be tempted nor tried; and when they are tried, he is not obliged to keep them from falling; it is enough that they have sufficient power to stand, if they will; which was the case with Adam. Besides, God had wise ends in permitting Adam to fall; for he designed to take occasion therefrom, to display ail his glorious perfections in the most illustrious manner. So that we may say of it, (and should, if we loved God above ourselves,) as Joseph does of his brethren's selling him: Ye meant it for evil, but the Lord meant it for good. So here, satan meant it for evil, but God meant it for good; even to bring much glory to his great name: therefore be still, and adore his holy sovereignty; and, at the same time, acknowledge that the constitution, in its own nature, was holy, just, and good; yea, very good. These things being considered, I proceed to add,

(4) That, in such a case, God, as supreme Lord and sovereign 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; for, as the case stood, there could be no reasonable objection against it. Adam was not held up to hard terms. The threatening, in case of disobedience, was strictly just. The constitution, in its own nature, was vastly for the interest of Adam and of all his race. Adam was already constituted the natural head of all mankind; for God blessed him, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replen ish the earth. Gen. i. 28. All his race, had they then existed, would, if they had been wise for themselves, readily

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