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Ans. 2. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, and all the holy inhabitants of heaven, love that character of God which is exhibited in his law; and yet they do not love misery itself, or take any pleasure in the pains of the damned, considered merely as pain. If God did take pleasure in the pains of the damned, considered merely as pain; if this were the character which he exhibits of himself in his law; then to love this character would be the same thing as to love misery. So that this is implicitly, and by fair construction, imputed to the Father of the universe, when it is said, that to love that character of God which is exhibited in the divine law, is the same thing as to love our own misery.' But to say, that God and the holy inhabitants of heaven take pleasure in the pains of the damned, considered merely as pain, is to impute to them a spirit of disinterested malice.

But to justify our enmity against God by such an imputation, is exceeding impious. But on the other hand, if God may love that character of himself which is exhibited in his law, and yet not love misery itself; then, were we regenerate, were we made partakers of the divine nature, we might be like God; and be affected as the holy inhabitants of heaven are; and so might love that character of God which is exhibited in the divine law, and not love misery in ourselves, or in any other beings.

A wise and good father, when he inflicts just punishment on a haughty, stubborn child, for some heinous crime, approves and loves his own conduct, and the character which he exhibits therein ; but yet he does not love his child's misery, itself, or take pleasure in his pain, as such, or desire his child to take pleasure in it. And if the proud, baughty, stubborn, impenitent child should say, “To love a whipping father is the same thing as to love to be whipped; but to love to be whipped is to love misery; but to love misery is a contradiction, and in its own nature impossible, and contrary to the law of God, which requires me to love myself;' every obedient child in the family would be able to see the fallacy of the argument. And love to their father's honour, would make them love him for vindicating his honour in the just punishment of such a son. Nor is there a father on

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earth, hearing such language as this from a child, but that would think it proper and fit that his upcircumcised heart should be so humbled as to accept the punishment of his ini. quity before he pardoned him. Nor would he forgive him, until he should feel and say, 'I deserve to be whipped. It is good enough for me. It becomes my father to do it. Nor is it a blemish, but a beauty in his character, to be disposed to chastise such a baughty wretch as I am.' For the father approves of his own disposition 10 punish his child. He knows that it becomes him. And until his child knows it too, he cannot but disapprove of him, as a stubborn, impenitent child. And yet no father ever desired his child to love misery. Nay, on the contrary, did the child love to be whipped, did whipping give the child pleasure, it would cease to be of the nature of a punishment. It would gratify the child, and frustrate the father. To say in this case, that 'to love a whipping father is the same thing as to love to be whipped,' is to say, that the father whips the child merely for the pleasure of whipping it, and takes delight in its misery, for itself: and so is guilty of disinterested malice, which no nian ever was guilty of, and which to charge on the Deity is the highest blasphemy. For if the father loves his own character, and delights in his own conduct toward his child, without loving the child's misery itself; then nothing binders, but that the child might love his father's character and conduct too, without loving its own misery. For a more particular answer to this objection, see Essay on the nature and glory of the Gospel.

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SECTION VIII.

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Geo. i. 97. So God created mun in his own image, in the

image of God created he him.

Question. How was it possible for Adam before the fall, to love that character of God which was exhibited to him in the law, consistently with the love of his own happiness ?

for ever.

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THE difficulty which attends this question may come into view, if we consider,

1. That a state of eternal misery is infinitely worse than not to be. Existence itself is desirable to mere nature, only as it implies a capacity for the enjoyment of happiness. Nature dreads annihilation, as thereby all happiness is lost

But it is better to be without happiness, than it is to be not only without happiness, but miserable. Pure misery is worse than non-existence. Hence abandoned guilty sinners often wish for annihilation. And had Adam for the first transgression been threatened with annibilation, it might have been thought of with less horror and dread. But misery is a dreadful thing. And eternal misery is infinitely dreadful, infinitely worse than not to be. How therefore could Adam think of that dreadful word DEATH, as implying eternal misery, and yet love that Being who had threatened this for the first transgression ? Yea, and love that very character exhibited in the threatening itself? How could love to this character consist with his love to his own happiness ?-It is true, God had been kind to him, in giving him a happy existence, surrounded with many delights: but this happiness and these delights to be enjoyed for thousands of ages, were lighter than a feather, compared with eternal misery. And it is true, he might remain happy for ever, in case of perfect obedience. And this was a glorious prospect. But what if he sinned ? What then? DEATH! ETERNAL DEATH! never ending woes were threatened, as his just desert. But why eternal death for one offence? Where was the wisdom,

or

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justice, or goodness of this? This is the language of self-love, as it now takes place in fallen man. And if, as Mr. M.

this principle of self-love was essential to moral agency' in innocent Adam, it must have been the language of his heart before the fall. But,

2. One bad property entirely approved of, and constantly exercised, will render any moral character devoid of beauty. If there is no moral beauty in the divine character, he is neither worthy of supreme love, nor capable of being the supreme good. A law, a fixed law, is an expression of the fixed cba. racter of the law-giver. If God's disposition to punish sin with eternal misery appeared in Adam's eyes to be a bad property in the Deity, it was not possible he should love him with all his heart. It was as impossible before his fall as after, even as it is as impossible to love a tvrant before we fall into his hands, as afterwards. And if Adam could not love the divine character before his fall, then he could take no delight in bim. For an odious character, instead of giving pleasure, gives pain. And if Adam neither loved the divine character, nor delighted in it before the fall, he was in the same state and temper of mind before as he was after the fall. And if so, then he was not created in the image of God, but came into existence as much depraved as we are.

3. To say that this dark side of the divine character was out of his view before he fell, and that he viewed the Deity only in the character of an almighty benefactor, and his friend; and therefore in this view of things,'the love of God, and self-love were consistent:' is really to say, that Adam before the fall did not love God's true and real character, as exe bibited in the law which he was under. But rather that character was so entirely out of his view, that he had no exercises of heart about it, good or bad ; for it, or against it: which amounts to the same thing as to say, that he was never actually friendly to God's true character, even before the fall. But rather bad he fully known it, and taken a deliberate view of it with application to himself, he would have disliked it, even then. And this must with as much reason then, as afterwards, have been the language of his heart ; ' to love this character of God is to love my own misery; but to love my

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own misery is impossible. For to take pleasure in pain implies a contradiction.'

4. Mr. M. says, p. 42. ' For a principle of self-love is essential to our nature. Take away all self-love, and a total indifference to pleasure and pain will take place in us; and then we become incapable of being influenced by promises and threatenings, rewards and punishments; which strips us of our moral agency. But to love God in our guilty state according to the character of him in the moral law, does thus totally exclude all self-love from its proper place and exercise in the heart. For to be well pleased in God as a holy and righteous Being, from the perfectious of whose nature it becomes absolutely necessary that he should make us for ever completely miserable 8, is directly repugnant to, and ab

5 Q. 1. Was it absolutely necessary from the perfections of the divine nature, that fallen Adam should be miserable for ever? i. e. that his sin should be punished in his own person? Or, Q. 2. Did God, by the law given to Adam, lay himself under an absolute necessity to make Adam miserabie for ever? i. e. to pun. ish his sin in his own person. If so, then the doctrine of substitution, of one the dying in the room of another, is absolutely inconsistent with the perfections of divine nature, aod with the tenour of the divine law. Which to say, saps the very foundation of divine revelation ; and demonstrates that the God, who appeared to Adam after the fall, was not the same God that had appeared to him before. The God of the law and the God of the Gospel, are two beings, absolutely inconsistent with each other. The truth is, 1. That God's disposition to punish sin according to its desert is, and ever was, and ever will be, essential to his nature. But to punish sin, in all instances in the criminal himself, without ever admitting a surety, is not essential to his nature. But, 2. God's disposition to punish sin according to its desert, is set in as clear and strong a point of light in the Gospel, as in the law; in the death of Christ, as if every sinner had been punished in his own person.

3. This disposition is a beauty in the divine character, or a blemish. If it is a beauty, then it is, and always was, and always will be, an object of love. If a blemish, then it is not an object of love, as exhibited in the law, or in the Gospel ; in the death of the criminal, or of his surety. But if it is a blemish, it is more odious, as exhibited in the Gospel, than in the law. 4. As a regard to a parent's honour renders the parent's disposition to maintain his honour, in the government of his house, a beauty in the eyes of a child ; so a regard to the honour of the Deity renders his disposition, to maintain his honour, in the government of his kingdom, a beauty in the eyes of every regenerate soul But the holiness and justice of the divine nature are disagreeable in the eyes of every one, who is under the government of supreme self-love. For mere self-love has no regard for God. llowever, 5. A carnal heart, which is enmity against God's true and real character, from a mere selfish spirit, may be greatly pleased with the idea of an almighty reconciled father and friend, determined to VOL. III.

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