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ed with the highest honours, on the cross, by the blood of God's own Son. And it was considered as fundamental in that scheme of religion which the apostles preached and wrote under divine inspiration. And to be an enemy to this law, is to be an enemy to God himself, who is its author, and whose image it bears; and to his Son, who died to do it ho


To say that this law ceases to be binding, is to say, that God ceases to be God, or that we cease to be his creatures. For if God is God, and we are his creatures, we ought to glorify him as God, and pay the honour to him that creatures owe to their Creator, unless he has done something to forfeit our love and obedience, or we cease to be moral agents. But to say that the supreme Majesty of heaven and earth has hurt his character, by any part of his conduct, is to say, that he is not an absolutely perfect Being: which is the same as to say that he is not God. Nor can we throw the blame off from ourselves, by saying, that we cease to be moral agents, without casting it on our Maker. For either he is to blame for continuing this law in force, armed with its curse; or we are to blame for breaking this law, and deserve the threatened wo. And to say that it is not in force, is expressly to contradict divine revelation, which says, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But,

10. For God in his holy law to require holiness, and nothing but holiness, of the Christless sinner, and curse him for the least defect, is inconsistent with requiring of him something besides holiness, viz. sin; and promising by covenant, to bless him with great blessings, on condition he performs the sinful action required. For this is to bless, and to curse the same man, at the same time, for the same action. Those very actions of the Christless sinner, who hath no righteousness but his own, in which to appear before God; which by the law he is under, justly deserve, and really expose him to present damnation; cannot, at the same time, qualify him, in the sight of the same God, (considered as searcher of hearts,) for any blessings whatever. For that which merits God's eternal curse, considered in itself, cannot, considered in itself,

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qualify for God's blessing: unless that which is in itself infinitely odious in the sight of God, is a meet qualification for a token of the divine favour. Besides, he who is by divine constitution, at this present moment, liable to be struck dead and sent to hell, without time to breathe one breath more, for doing as he does; cannot by divine constitution, be entitled to any one blessing by those doings; for this would imply two divine constitutions, in their own nature inconsistent, both in force at the same time, the one cursing, and the other blessing, the same sinner, at the same time, for the same action. Which is the same thing, as to suppose a thing to be, and not to be, in the same sense, at the same time: which is an express contradiction.

Objection. If this reasoning is just, then God is at liberty to kill and damn all the ungodly now at this present time before the elect are called in; and so before Christ has seen his seed, and the travail of his soul. And so God was at liberty to have killed and damned every unregenerate sinner in the congregation of Israel, while in Egypt; and so the promise to Abraham, that at the end of 430 years his seed should be brought out of Egypt, might have never been fulfilled. Or he might have killed and damned every unregenerate sinner, in any period afterwards; and the very ancestors of the Messiah himself might have been cut off. And so that great promise to Abraham, in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, might have never been accomplished.

Answer. Christ Jesus may have a covenant right to see his seed, and the travail of his soul; and yet the self-righteous sinner may be under the curse of the law, in perfect consistency. Both these are Scripture doctrines, and both are perfectly harmonious. God may not be at liberty, with respect to Christ Jesus, to kill and damn every unregenerate sinner now in the world; because this would be inconsistent with his promise to him: but yet, with respect to unregenerate sinners themselves, God is at liberty; because God bath made no promise to unregenerate sinners, as such, by which they can any one of them now on earth claim a covenant right, to an exemption from the curse of the law, one single

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Abraham might have a covenant right to a posterity, in number like the stars and like the sands, because God promised this to him; and so, on the same ground, he might have a covenant right to the land of Canaan, and to all the blessings comprised in God's covenant with him; and yet such of his posterity as refused to walk in his steps, and rejected the covenant of grace, and remained under the curse of the law, might have for their parts no covenant right to any one blessing; but rather lie exposed to all the curses written in God's book. And that this was in fact the case, is plain from the whole tenour of Lev. xxvi. Deut. xxvii. and xxviii. Now, if these things are true, then it will follow,

1. That Christless sinners, as they have no covenant right to any good, being by the curse of the law already sentenced to all evil; so all the good which they do receive from God, before they are united to Christ by faith, are, as to them, the fruits of the mere sovereign grace of God, which he is at liberty, with respect to them, to continue or take away at pleasure. Thus it is as to life and all the comforts of life. And thus it is as to all the outward means of salvation, and the inward strivings of the spirit. Every Christless sinner being under the curse of the divine law, God is at full liberty, with respect to them, to strike them dead, and send them to hell at any moment; and so put an eternal end to all the good which they enjoy, and let in all evil upon them like a flood.-See this sentiment illustrated at large through the 20th chap. of Ezekiel. And if this is true, then,

2. The carnal, unregenerate, Christless Israelites, under the Mosaic dispensation, being under the curse of their law, agreeable to Deut. xxvii. 26. and Gal. iii. 10. had, considered as such, no covenant right to one blessing of the Abrahamic covenant, no, not so much as to draw a breath, or live one moment in the promised land where all the peculiar blessngs of that dispensation were to be enjoyed; but God was at full and perfect liberty, with respect to them, to strike them dead, and send them to hell at any moment; and so for ever separate them from that good land, and from all the worldly good things and religious advantages, which were

there to be enjoyed. And on this hypothesis, and on this hypothesis alone, can the divine conduct toward that people be vindicated. For in fact he always did strike dead and send to hell impenitent sinners, under that dispensation at what time he pleased, according to his own sovereign pleasure, just as he hath done ever since. And that he had a right so to do, by the constitution which they were under, is evident from Lev. xxvi. Deut. xxvii. and xxviii. and Ezek. xx.

And accordingly we may observe, that by the divine appointment, the whole congregation of Israel were obliged to acknowledge this as soon as ever they entered into the holy land, in a most public, solemn, and affecting manner, saying, with united voices, AMEN. Deut. xxvii. 2—26. And as soon as they entered into the holy land they did acknowledge it, according to the divine appointment. Josh. viii. 30-35. So that while in an impenitent, unpardoned state, they by their own acknowledgment were under the curse of their law, at the sovereign mercy of their God. And thus the Mosaic dispensation was of old understood; but in later ages, the Pharisees by their false glosses put another sense upon their whole law, justifying themselves, and supporting their claims of having God for their Father, whereby the nation were prepared to reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Whereas, had they retained the ancient meaning of their law like a schoolmaster, it might have led them to Christ. As this view of things, if agreeable to truth, will without more ado settle the present controversy; so it is worthy of a particular consideration.

3. No unregenerate Christless sinner hath, as such, any right, in entering into covenant, to promise and engage' to obey the whole will of God by divine assistance.' Because they have no title to the divine assistance,' for any one holy act. Indeed, it is their duty to obey the whole will of God;' and they are justly liable, in the judgment of him whose judgment is according to truth, to the curse threatened, if they continue not in all things; and that on the foot of mere law, which promiseth no assistance at all to any sinner. And while sinners reject Christ and the grace of the Gospel, they

have by the divine constitution, no title to any inward assistance of the Holy Spirit at all, on the foot of the covenant of grace. For all the promises of God are in Christ Jesus, yea, and in him amen. 2 Cor. i. 20. But as to those who are out of Christ, they are ander the law; and sin hath dominion over them. Rom. vi. 14. This is their standing, and this is their true and real state. They are bound to perfect obedience. They are considered as moral agents. They are held to be without excuse. Rom. i. 21. They stand guilty before God. Rom. iii. 19. They reject the grace of the Gospel. Eternal death is threatened for every transgression, by the divine law. Gal. iii. 10. And the Gospel doth not make void, but establish the law. Rom. iii. 31. As it is written, he that believeth not is condemned already, and the wrath of God abideth on him. John iii. 18. 36. And so every impenitent, Christ-rejecting sinner, lies at the sovereign mercy of God; as it is written, Rom. xi. 7. The election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.

Death and damnation may fill them with terror, and beget reformations, tears, vows, and promises; and so, in the language of the apostle, they may bring forth fruit unto death. For DEATH coming into the view of their consciences, begets all the religious exercises of their hearts, and is the father of the children they bring forth. And this, according to St. Paul, is the state of all those who are married to the law. For sin still hath dominion over them while under the law. But when once they are married unto Christ, they become temples of the Holy Ghost, and so now they bring forth fruit unto God. God is the Father of all the holy exercises of their hearts, he works in them to will and to do, and so all Christian graces are not only called, but in reality are the fruits of the Spirit. Law, death, and hell, will not beget one holy exercise in an unregenerate heart; rather they will irritate the corruption of the carnal mind. Rom. vii. 5. 8, 9. Hence the sinner who, while ignorant of law, death, and hell, hath a good heart, as he imagines; when these come into view his goodness is lost, his heart grows worse; and so far as he can discern, he grows worse and worse, until all his he of acceptance with God, on the foot of law, languishes

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