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placed. God's goodness appears in the moral constitution formed for angels, which was, as his been obe ferved, more favourable than mere law, as they had the promise of a reward of eternal life, in consequence 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 seen the goodness of God towards them who fell into fin and endless ruin. Their 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 so good a constitution, in any respect or degree the less; but was, and continues to be as great and perspicuous, 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 abuse 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 endless life in the favour of God. And the constitution,
and form of moral government, which has been conside | ered, was an expression of infinite goodness; and could
not have been formed by any being, but one infinitely good. The law requires nothing but what is necessary for the good of man: The highest happiness conhilted in obedience to this law. The time of trial was to be fhort ; and man was under every desirable advantage, and had every conceivable motive to persevere in obedience. The reward promised was infinitely great,
infinitely more than the longest obedience could merit ja or déserve. And the sanction or penalty threatened was do necessary in order to its being a good law, and was an in instance of goodness, as it was a guard to the law, and tended to secure obedience as it rendered disobedience infinitely dreadful, in the consequence of it, and so was ar an unipeakably powerful motive to obedience.
The appointment of a public head, and Adam, to act : for the whole, as he was, in a sense the whole of man- zi kind, they being all included in him, was a wise and good this constitution ; even the best, and the most in favour bed of mankind of any that can be conceived: Unspeakably 2 more favourable to man, than if every one of the human a race were to act for himself, and be in a state of trial, as of they fhould successively rise into existence. There was not a possibility that Adam would transgress; it was highly probable he would not. And, as has been observed, hè had every desirable and possible motive to obedience, a and a very powerful one which could not have existed, ja had he not acted as a public head, for all his posterity.
All this, as has been observed, was in our favour, and goodness to us. This is the happy state in which mankind were placed under moral government, the best, the happiest situation which could be devised by infinite wisdom and goodness. And it may be demanded, What could have been done, that was not done for mankind, in placing them in such circumstances, and under such a a good law and constitution, consistent with being placed in a state of probation ?
The goodness of God, ought to be celebrated by us, and to excite our constant, fervent gratitude and praise. For, as has been before observed, this goodness is not the less, nor are our obligations to gratitude and práile :* in the least diminished, by the abuse of it ; by which we have lost all the benefit of it, and are become most miferable.
11. Tae fin and eternal ruin of the angels who fell, is suited to give conviction to all, of the vanity, weak, ness and insufficiency of the highest and most excellent creatures; and of their absolute and constant dependance on God : And consequently, that there is no creature, in whom we may safely put any trust, however great and dignified.
This event taught the angels who did not fin, this lelfon more fully, than otherwise they could have learned it. In this they saw their own insufficiency for themfelves ; that they were liable to ruin themselves every moment, and depended on God intirely, for preservation from infinite evil ; and that they were wholly indebted to him, for this favour, which must be sovereign goodness, to which they had no claim, and which God was under no obligation to grant. This they will see more clearly, and acknowledge with greater sensibility forever, than they could have done, if none of them had Inned, and fallen into endless ruin: And by it God will be more loved, praised and glorified, and they will be unspeakably more holy and happy, throughout their end less existence.
God, in his wisdom, ordered it so, that the highest, and most excellent part of the creation, should become mora ally corrupt, and infinitely worse than nothing, by linking into irrecoverable and endless ruin and misery ; to lhew, that the creature, in its best state, is nothing but van.' ly, considered in itself, independent of the power, goodnels and all sufficiency of God; which could not be dire covered to creatures, to the best advantage, in any other way. Which discovery is of the utmost importance I and absolutely necessary to the highest good of the uniVerle. This will remain an everlasting lefton, by which all holy creatures will be taught humility and gratitude ; and God will receive a revenue of praise and glory forever, which could not have existed, had not this event
Providence, &c. Part I. 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 consequently, what is finin us, viz. every deviation of heart from the rule of duty, by omission 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 considered as including all mankind; and was constituted to a& for the whole, being violated, ceased to exist any longer, except in the consequences of the vio. lation of it. But the law pointing out and requiring du. ty, and threatening the transgreffor, is still the rule of our duty, and binding on us ; and in the threatning we are told, what every transgression of ours, deserves; and learn what is the curse under which we are, as finners. For this law, as has been shown, is unchangeable in its nature, and must be binding on every moral agent. Transgressing it, though ever so often repeated, does not gi in the least absolve us from obligation to obey it ; and however great is our aversion from what it requires, and however strong and fixed it be, this does not in the least a excuse us in our disobedience, and remove or abate our obligation to obedience ; but the stronger and more fixo ;
ed our hearts are in opposition to what is required, and , the more and longer such opposition is indulged, the more criminal we are. There is no other law given to us, which requires less than this original law, or that is : not virtually contained in it or enforced by it. To love God with all our heart, soul, Itrength and mind; and our neighbour as ourselves, is always our duty, and all !! opposition to it, and every omission of this duty, in the least degree, is fin. We must therefore look into this time perfect law, and rule of duty, and no where else, in oro 6 der to know what is our duty, and what is sin; and by this alone can we obtain the knowledge of, and ascertain, our own moral character,
CH A P. VIII.
On the Apostacy of Man, and the Evil Consequence
, who was placed in a happy and honourable Situation, did not continue in it; but by transgressing the divine command, and violating the holy covenant, plunged into a state of infinite guilt and wretchedness, under the curse, and threatened penalty of the law of God.
Moses gives a particular history of this first apostacy of man, in the third chapter of the book of Genesis. He does not tell us how long man continued innocent and obedient, after he was created ; or give us a history of what passed, and of all the particular events and transactions which took place in a state of innocency ; such a history being of no use and importance to us, while we continue in the present state. The whole will doubtless be revealed to all mankind at the day of judgment.
The Serpent is said 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 said, “ The serpent was more fubtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.” He appear. ed to have more sagacity 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 serpents Gince the fall of man. He appeared aear the for