Imágenes de páginas

concerning the Justice of God. and visit me, and revenge me of my persecutors: And, verse 18. Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, which refuseth to be bealed ? Wilt thou be eltogether unto me as a liar, and as waters that fail? These then are the groans of Jeremiah under his burden, and his desire that God would appear for his help, and no longer disappoint his hope and expectation.

As to the other complaint of Jeremiab, Chap. xx. 7. O Lord, thou bast deceived me, and I was deceived: thou art stronger than I, end haft prevailed: I answer, The cafe plainly appears to be this; Jeremiah had cried, or proclaimed the word of the Lord to the people of Judea ; but it was so far from having any good effect upon there that on the contrary they made it, and Jeremiah on the account of it, the subject of their mockery and derision daily, verses 7. 8. Upon this, the Prophet resolv'd that he would make no more mention of God to them, nor speak any more in his name, verse 9. but tho' he had thus resolv'd not to speak to them any more, in the name of God, yet God thought fit to disappoint or deceive his resolution, in that he would not suffer him to sit still, and let them alone in their folly, verse 9. But bis word coas in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones; and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay; that is, he could no longer refrain from declaring the word of the Lord to the people. So chat God's deceiving of Jeremich, and his being stronger than he, was his deceiving or disappointing, and overcoming his resolution of not speaking any more in the name of God, and it was not any failure of prediction, as some have imagined.

As to the case of Jonab, chap. iii. 4. Yet forty days and Nineveh fall be destroyed; I answer, the end of all divine threatening is the preventing the


evil threatened, either by preventing that sin and

folly which makes men the objects of divine dif*pleasure, or else by bringing them to that repentance which makes them the objects of God's pare doning mercy; and therefore when Jonah preach'd, yet forty days and Nineveh shall be destroyed, it was plainly to be understood in that very threatening, that if the Ninevites did repent, and turn to God, it would be a means of preventing the evil threatened, for otherways that threatening would not have been given ; for the Ninevites might justly have reason'd thus, If God had so determin'd the destruction of our city, and if he did intend that his threatening should be so understood as that nothing should hinder the executing of it, then there was no need of this threatening, nor of his care in sending his Prophet so long and tedious a journey to publish it; because it could answer no good end, nor be of any manner of use to us; and therefore it is just and reasonable for us to infer from this very threatening, that God hath sent his Prophet in kindness to us, to warn us of our danger, and so bring us to that repentance and reformation which may avert the evil threaten'd; and it is plain that the Ninevites did thus understand the Threatening; for if they had understood it so that God would not, upon any terms, avert the evil threatened, then this threatening would effectually have driven them to despair, but it could not have brought them to repentance, which we find it did. If it should be here replied, what is this to salve the truth of God, who faid, expressly, yet forty days and Nineveh shall be destroyed, when at the fame time he forefaw that it would not be destroy'd? I answer, as God forefaw that Nineveh would not be destroy'd, so he foresaw that the threatening that destrustion would be the very means by which it would be preventech; and therefore when God


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


faid, yet forty days and Nineveh shall be destroy'd, he could not, with any colour of reason or justice, bc suppcsed to intend any more by his threatening than this, viz. that as the Ninevites, by their fin and folly, had made themselves the objects of God's displeasure, so, if they did not repent and turn to God, his patience and long-suffering Should be exercis'd no longer than forty days more to wards them. And as this is a juft interpretation of God's threatenings, from the nature and reason of the thing, so it is agreeable to that declaration which God made by Jeremiab, chap. xviii. 9--10. At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; if that nation, against whom I bave pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil tbat I thought to do uuto tbem. And at what tince I Mall speak concerning a nation, and concerning 2. kingdom, to build, and to plant it ; if it do evil in 172) fight, tbat it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good wberecoito I said I would benefit them.

Thus we see that those texts, which the objection supposes to impeach God of falfhood and injustice, when they are tried by the standard of human reafon, are very consistent with both. May we all fo know the only true God, and Jesus Chrift whom he hath fent, as that we may be conformed to his likeness, and may be changed from glory to glory, as by the spirit of the Lorda


[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

ENQUIRY Concerning Infinite justice, and infi

nite satisfaction.

T H IS enquiry is two-fold, first, whe

ther there be any such thing as infinite ... justice and, secondly, whether there be L a ny such thing as infinite fatisfations

First, Whether there be any such thing as infinite justice? In order to answer this enquiry, it is necessary to state the notions both of infinite, and of justice. Infinite, is that which is without measure, bounds, or limitation, and to which there can be no addition. Justice, is the balance of common equity, by which is weighed out or dispensed good, and evil, in a proportion exact and equal to the merit, or demerit of things, or to any other right of claim. So that justice, in the administration of good, is the exact mean between bounty and fraud; the balance of justice standing upon such an even poize, as that if it turn to one side it is bounty, if to the other it is fraud : and the exercising either bounty, or fraud, in the administration of good, is-a breaking the balance of justice, that is, it is unjust, strictly speaking. Again, justice, in the administration of evil, is the exact inean between mercy and cruelty; the balance of justice standing upon such an even poize, as that if it turn to one side it is mercy, if to the other it is cruelty : and the exercising of either mercy or cruelty, in the administration of evil, is a breaking the balance of justice, that is,

S 2

it is unjust, strickly speaking. This being fo, it follows, that justice admits of no such distinctions as finite or infinite, because in justice there are no degrees ; justice being the same in all its acts, none is greater or less than others, all and every of its acts, being equally great alike : for in the administration of evil, it is as great an act of justice to proportion a lefser evil to a lesser crime, as it is to proporţion a greater evil to a greater crime : it is the highest act of justice in an inferiour magistrate to punish the smallest offence with a proportionable punishment: and it is the lowest act of justice, even in the su. preme God, to punish the greatest offence with a proportionable punishment; justice being the fame in both cases, viz. an equaling the punishment to the demerit of the offence. Justice may be administered by a finite, or by an infinite being, and it may be administred to a finite, ortó an infinite being, but still justice is the same in either: and if we do suppose an infinite crime (for crimes do admit of degrees, some are greater, fome are less) I say, supposing we do admit of an infinite crime, all that justice is concern'd to do, with relation to this infinite crime, is to proportion a punishment in an exact equality to the demerit of this infinite offence: and there is as much as this done in proportioning a punishment in an exact equality to the leait offence possible. The case is the same with relation to justice in the administration of good; from all which it appears, that there is no such thing, properly speaking, as infinite justice.

Secondly, Whether there be any such thing as infinitive satisfaction? In order to answer this enquiry, it is likewise neceffáry to state the notions of infinite, and of satisfaction. Infinite is, as I

.0.0980.,,**. ...: have

« AnteriorContinuar »