Images de page

Where righteousness, though added to holiness, can signify nothing but a virtue of the soul, and the exercise of it. Thirdly, but if we must absolutely distinguish these two things, it may be done many ways, 1st, So as to refer holiness to God; righteousness to men. Thus Philo, concerning Abraham, says, holiness is considered as towards God; righteousness as towards men: and the emperor Antonine, book 7. § 66. says of Socrates, In human things just, in divine, holy. 2dly, Or so as to say, that both words denote universal virtue, (for even righteousness is said of the worship of God, Luke i. 75. and holiness referred to men; Maximus Tyrius, Dissert. 26. says of the same Socrates, Pious towards God, holy towards men,) but in a different respect: so as holiness shall denote virtue, as it is the love and expression of the divine purity; as Plato explains holiness by the love of God: righteousness, indeed, may signify the same virtue, as it is a conformity to the prescribed rule, and an obedience to the commands of God. Whether it be dva, right, righteous to hearken unto God, Acts iv. 19. 3dly, Ursinus quest. 6. Catech. speaks somewhat differently, saying, that righteousness and holiness," may in the text of Paul, and in the cathechism, be taken for one and the same, or be distinguished; for righteousness may be understood of those internal and external actions, which agree with the right judgment of mind, and with the law of God; boliness be understood of the qualities of them. So that there is nothing to constrain us to explain righteousness here of a right to life; but there are many things to persuade us to the contrary. For, 1st, That image of God, which is renewed in us by regeneration, consists in absolute qualities inherent in the soul, which are as so many resemblances of the perfections of God: but a right or title to life is a mere relation. 2dly, The image of God consists in something, which is produced in man himself, either by the first, or the new creation: but the right to life rests wholly on the righteousness and merits of Christ; things entirely without us, Phil. iii. 9. Not having my own righteousness. 3dly, The Apostle in the place before us, is not treating of justification, where this right should have been mentioned; but of sanctification, and the rule thereof; where it would be improper to speak of any such thing. 4thly, They who adhere to this new explanation of righteousness, appear without any just cause to contradict the Catechism, quest. 6. and with less force to oppose the Socinians, who maintain, that the image of God, after which we are regenerated in Christ, is not the same with that, after which


Adam was created. And yet these learned men equally detest his error with ourselves. These considerations make us judge it safer to explain righteousness, so as to make it a part of the image of God, after which Adam was created.

XI. But if we take in the whole extent of the image of God, we say, it is made up of these three parts. Ist, Antecedently, that it consists in the spiritual and immortal nature of the soul, and in the faculties of understanding and will. 2dly, Formally and principally, in these enduments, or qualities of the soul, viz. righteousness, and holiness. 3lly, Consequentially, in the immortality of the whole man, and his dominion over the creatures. The first of these was, as one elegantly expresses it, as precious ground on which the image of God might be drawn and formed: the second, that very image itself, and resemblance of the divinity: the third, the lustre of that image widely spreading its glory; and as rays, not only adorning the soul, but the whole man, even his very body; and rendering him the lord and head of the world, and at the same time immortal, as being the friend and confederate of the eternal God.

XII. The principal strokes of this image, Plato certainly knew; who defines happiness to be is, the resemblance of God: and this resemblance he places in piety, justice, and prudence; this last to temper and regulate the two former: his words are excellent, and deserve to be here transcribed : τὴν δὲ ὄνητὴν φύσιν, και τόνδε τον τόπον, τό κακόν περιπολῖς ἐξ ανάγκης διδκαι πειρᾶσθαι хри ἐνθένδε ἐκῖισι φέυγειν ὅτι τάχα φυγὴ δὲ ὁμόιωσις Οιῶ κατὰ τὰ δυνα τόν Ὁμόιωσις δὲ δίκαιον και ὅσιον μετὰ φρονήσεως γενέσθαι. "This mortal nature, and this place of abode are necessarily encompassed with evil. We are therefore, with the utmost expedition, to fly from it: this flight is an assimilation to God as far as may be: and this assimilation is justice and piety, accompanied with prudence.” Vid. Lipsii Manuduct. ad stoicam philosophiam lib. 2. Dissert. 13.

XIII. God gave to man the charge of this his image, as the most excellent deposite of heaven, and, if kept pure and inviolate, the earnest of a greater good; for that end he endued. him with sufficient powers from his very formation, so as to stand in need of no other habitual grace. It was only requi-. site, that God, by the continual influx of his providence, should preserve those powers, and excite them to all and each! of their acts. For, there can be no state conceived, in which the creature can act independently of the Creator; not excepting the angels themselves, though now confirmed in holiness and happiness.

Vol. I.


XIV. And

XIV. And thus, indeed, Adam was in covenant with God, às a man, created after the image of God, and furnished with sufficient abilities to preserve that image. But there is another relation, in which he was considered as the head and representative of mankind, both federal and natural. So that God said to Adam, as once to the Israelites, Deut. xxix. 14, 15. "neither with you only do I make this covenant, and this oath but also with him that is not here with us this day." The whole history of the first man proves, that he is not to be looked upon as an individual person, but that the whole human nature is considered as in him. For it was not said to our first parents only, encrease and multiply; by virtue of which word, the propagation of mankind is still continued: nor is it true of Adam only; it is not good that the man should be alone: nor does that conjugal law, therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and they shall be one flesh, concern him alone: which Christ still urges, Matt. xix. 5.: nor did the penalty, threatened by God upon Adam's sinning, thou shalt surely die, affect him alone, but, death passed upon all men, according to the Apostle's observation, Rom. v. 12. All which loudly proclaim, that Adamwas here considered as the bead of mankind.

XV. This also appears from that beautiful opposition of the first and second Adam, which Paul pursues at large, Rom. v. 15, &c. For, as the second Adam does, in the Covenant of Grace, represent all the elect, in such a manner that they are accounted to have done and suffered themselves, what he did and suffered, in their name and stead: so likewise the first Adam was the representative of all that were to descend from


XVI. And that God was righteous in this constitution, is by no means to be disputed. Nor does it become us to entertain, doubts about the right of God, nor enquire too curicusly into it; much less to measure it by the standard of any right established amongst us despicable mortals, when the matter of fact is evident and undisputed. We are always to speak in vindication of God; "that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest." Psal. li. 4. He must, surely, be utterly unacquainted with the majesty of the Supreme Being, with his most pure and unspotted holiness, which in every respect is most consistent with itself, who presumes to scan his actions, and call his equity to account. A freedom this, no carthly father would bear in a son, no king in a subject, nor master in a servant. And do we, mean worms of the earth, take upon us to use


such freedom with the judge of the whole universe! As often as our murmuring flesh dares to repine and cry out, the ways of the Lord are not equal; so often let us oppose thereto, are not thy ways unequal? Ez. xviii. 25.

XVII. However, it generally holds that we more calmly acquiesce in the determinations of God, when we understand the reasons of them. Let us therefore see, whether here also we cannot demonstrate the equity of the divine right. For what if we should consider the matter thus? If Adam had, in his own, and in our name, stood to the conditions of the covenant; if, after a course of probation, he had been confirmed in happiness, and we, his posterity, in him, if, fully satisfied with the delights of animal life, we had, together with him, been translated to the joys of heaven; none certainly would then repine, that he was included in the head of mankind. every one would have commended both the wisdom and goodness of God: not the least suspicion of injustice would have arisen on account of God's putting the first man into a state of probation in the room of all, and not every individual for himself. How should that, which in this event would have been deemed just, be unjust on a contrary event? For, neither is the justice nor injustice of actions to be judged of by the event.

XVIII. Besides, what mortal now can flatter himself, that, placed in the same circumstances with Adam, he would have better consulted his own interest? Adam was neither without wisdom, ner holiness, nor a desire after true happiness, nor an aversion to the miseries denounced by God against the sinner; nor in fine, without any of those things, by which he might expect to keep upon his guard against all sin: and yet he suffered himself to be drawn aside by the craft of a flattering seducer. And dost thou, iniquitous censurer of the ways of the Lord, presume, thou wouldst have better used thy free will? Nay, on the contrary, all thy actions cry aloud, that thou approvest, that thou art highly pleased with, and always takest example from that deed of thy first parent, about which thou so unjustly complainest. For, when thou transgressest the commands of God, when theu settest less by the will of the Supreme Being than by thy lusts, when thou preferest earthly to heavenly things, present to future, when, by thine own choice, thou seekest after happiness, but not that which is true; and, instead of taking the right way, goest into bypaths; is not that the very same as if thou didst so often eat

[blocks in formation]

of the forbidden tree? Why then dost thou presume to blame God for taking a compendious way, including all in one; well knowing that the case of each in particular, when put të the test, would have proved the same.


Of the Law, or Condition, of the Covenant of Works.

I. HITHERTO we have treated of the Contracting Parties: let us now take a view of the condition prescribed by this covenant. Where first we are to consider the Law of the Covenant, then the Observance of that law. The law of the covenant is twofold. 1st, The law of nature, implanted in Adam at his creation. 2dly, The symbolical law, concerning the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

II. The law of nature is the rule of good and evil, inscribed by God on man's conscience, even at his creation, and therefore binding upon him by divine authority. That such a law was connate with, and as it were implanted in the man, appears from the reliques, which, like the ruins of some noble building, are still extant in every man; namely, from those common notions, by which the Heathens themselves distinguished right from wrong, and by which "they were a law to themselves, which shews the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness," Rom. ii. 14, 15. From which we gather, that all these things were complete in man, when newly formed after the image of God.

III. Whatever the conscience of man dictates to be virtuous, or otherwise, it does so in the name of God, whose vicegerent it is, in man and the depositary of his commands. This, if I mistake not, is David's meaning, Psal. xxvii. 8.x, to thee, that is, for thee, in thy stead, my heart says, or my conscience. This conscience therefore was also called a God by the heathen: as in this, Iambic, Βροτοῖς ἄπασιν ή συνειδησις Θεός ; In all men conscience is a God. Plato in Philebus, calls reason a God dwelling in us. And hence we are not to think that the supreme rule in the law of nature is its agreement or disagreement with the rational nature, but that it is the divine wisdom manifested to, or the notion of good and evil engraven by God, on the conscience. It is finely said by the author of the book de Mundo, c. 11. "God is to us a law, tending on all sides to a just equilibrium, requiring no correction, admitting no variation." With this Cicero agrees,


« PrécédentContinuer »