Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

have faid, that which is without measure, bounds, or limitation, and to which there can be no addition. Satisfaction is the answering to the full the demand of another, whether that demand be just or unjust, finite or infinite. Just demands, are such as are exactly proportionable to the damage or demerit of the offence, or to the merit of the thing rewarded, or to any other right of claim. Unjust demands are such as are not thus proportionable, but are either greater or less than the damage or demerit of the offence, or the merit of the thing rewarded, &V. Finite demands are such as are limited, and are capable of being extended to a greater degree. Infinite demands are such as are without bounds, or limitation, and are uncapable of any extension or addition. From which it appears, that infinite fatisfaction supposes an infinite demand, and an infinite demand, if the demand be just, supposes an infinite crime, or an infinite merit, or some other right of claim equally infinite. We will only consider this matter, as it relates to an infinite crime, because the case is the fame, when applied to infinite merit, or to any other right of claim. Now with relation to a crime, it is very uncertain whether there be any such thing as an infinite crime. For, first ^ the committing a crime against an infinite being does not make that crime infinite; and this will appear, if We consider that the crimes which are committed against God, who is an infinite Being, do admit of degrees, some are greater, some are less, whereas in infinity there is no such thing as degrees. We read, 1 Kings xvi. 25.Omri wrought evil in the eyes of the Lord, and did worse than all that were before him. And, 2 Chron. xxxiii. 9. Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants 0s Jerufalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen whom the Lord kM destroyed before the children of Israel. 4 Timr ;t S 3 UL

13. Evil men and seducers Jball (or will) wax worse and worse, &cc. Secondly, It is a question, whether a finite being can be guilty of an infinite crime, seeing the committing a crime against an infinite being does not make it so? Thirdly, Supposing that a finite being can be guilty of an infinite crime, yet it remains a question, whether there has been any such infinite crime ever committed; because it is a thing above our faith and knowledge, whether the greatest crime that was ever committed, even the sin of the devil himself, was infinitely aggravated, and to which there could be no farther degree of aggravation added? For, that is properly an infinite crime, which is without bounds, or limitation, and to which, there could be no degree of aggravation added, to make it yet more criminal. Seeing then that it is so very uncertain, whether there be any such thing as an infinite crime, it will follow, that it is equally uncertain, whether there be any such thing as an infinite demand, and consequently whether there be any such thing as an infinite fatisfaction.

Some farther OBSERVATIONS.

Forasmuch as the justice of God is often reserred to, in certain controversies, it may not be amiss here to observe some common mistakes relating thereto. First, that God is, injustice, absolutely and necessarily obliged to punilh the breach of his laws either in the offender, or in some other that shall be substituted to suffer in the place of the ofsender, Secondly, That he which is substituted to suffer in the place of the offender, must so suffer, in the his suffering shall be strictly, and in the nature of the thing, equal to the demerit of the crime. These premises being taken for granted as true, from hence it hath been inserr'd, Thirdly, That he which suffers, in the sinner's behalf, mu$ be. in all points, equad to, and the fame as the supreme lawgiver; or else, fay they, he cannot so suffer as to fatisfy divine justice, nor can the sinner be difcharg'd upon his account. The foregoing premises being taken for granted to true, and the foregoing inserence being supposed to be justly drawn from them, it has been farther concluded, Fourthly, That forasmuch as the sinner is acquitted upon the account of the sufferings of Christ, therefore Christ is, in all points equal to, and the lame as the supreme God the Father; for other-. ways, fay they, his sufferings would not have been Ib fatisfactory, neither would the sinner be discharged upon their account. A N

But as the foregoing premises are erroneous, so sire the conclusions too hasty, which are drawn from them. For supposing God is, in justice, obliged to punish for the breach of his laws, and supposing his justice could not be fatisfied, except the suffering was strictly equal to the demerit of the crime, which are both mistakes; because if Gpd is obliged to puniih for sin, yet this obligation arises not from his justice, but from his truth and holiness, and because it lies wholly in the breast of the lawgiver, to demand what fatisfacti-. on he pleases for the breach of his laws, provided the demand does not exceed the demerit of the crime. But, I fay, supposing the premises to be true; yet it does not follow from hence, that he which suffers, in the sinner's behalf, must be in su^J respects the fame as the original lawgiver, but the contrary. For if God is obliged, by the laws of equity or justice, to act so strictly in this case then it will follow, first, that the person suffering must be neither superiour, nor inseriour, but exactly equal to, and in all respects the fame as the offender-, because the sufferer is substituted to fill up the she place of, or personate the offender and S 4 not

not the offended. Secondly\ The suffering or pup nishment must be for kind, measure, and duration, neither greater nor less, but exactly equal to the demerit of the offence. Seeing then that it was man which transgressed, it will follow, that he which is substituted to surfer, in man's stead, must be neither superiour, nor inseriour, but exactly equal to, and in all points the fame as man; or else his sufferings will not fatisfy divine justice, neither will the sinner be discharged upon their account. But the truth is, God is, not obliged, from ;thc principles of justice, to make any of the forementioned demands, as has been made evident in the foregoing enquiry, concerning the justice of God; but he may require, or may accept what punishment, or what fatisfaction he himself alone, in his infinite wisdom, shall think fit.

[graphic][merged small]

E N Q^U I R Y

Concerning Faith and Mysteries J

Zl,' OR,;

& fbur-fold enquiry ; firfl, what faith i is; secondlywhat the object of faith "is j thirdly^ what a mystery is

fourthly, whether a mystery is the 'object of faith.

FIR S T, What faith is? In order to answer this enquiry, it is to be observed, that as the understanding has truth tor its object; so also there are various ways by which truth is conveyed to the understanding; namely, first, by our external fenses, w'z. seeing, tearing, seeling, tasting, and smelling. For example, that honey is sweet, is a truth which is conveyed to the understanding by our external fcnse of tasting. Second'y, Truth is conveyed to the understanding by our internal fenses, that is, by the reflections of the mind. For example, that there is a God, is a truth which is conveyed to our understandings by reflection. God is a Being which is immaterial, and so is not she object of our external senses; therefore pur external senses cannot convey that to our JJftderstandings, which comes not within their

reach i

« AnteriorContinuar »