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ners. Thus Moses, for instance, when celebrating in lofty poetic strains the miraculous and total overthrow of the Egyptians in the Red Sea, says, They sank as lead in the mighty waters.
Who is like unto thee, O JEHOVAH ?-who is like thee, GLORIOUS IN Holiness ? Thus, also, immediately previous to the Prophet Isaiah receiving an order from the King Eternal to denounce judgments, both 'temporal and spiritual, on a rebellious people; he beheld, in prophetic vision, the flaming Seraphim with vailed faces and covered feet, and heard them exclaim in loud responsive strains; HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, is Jehovah of hosts! the whole earth is full of his glory. *
So, likewise, the Lord of the world, when speaking with reference to the execution of his awful judgments upon the wicked, denominates the exercise of his punishing justice, the SANCTIFYING of himself. Thus, with regard to those among the chosen tribes who rebelled against Jehovah their King, at the water of Meribah: Israel strove with the Lord, and he was SANCTIFIED in them. Thus also relative to a Gentile city: Behold, I am against thee, 0 Zidon ; and I will be glorified in the midst of thee: and they shall know that I am JEHOVAH, when I shall have executed judgments in her, and shall be SANCTIFIED in her. For I will send into her pestilence, and blood into her streets ; and the wounded shall be judged in the midst of her by the sword upon her on every side; and they shall know that I am Jehovah. Once more, with reference to Gog: I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him,
* Exod. xv. 10, 11. Isa. vi. 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 12.
and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. Thus will I MAGNIFY MYSELF, and SANCTIFY MYSELF, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am JEHOVAH. *
Hence we are led to consider Divine Justice, and Eternal Holiness, as having the most intimate relation one to the other: nay, rather, with regard to the punishment of sinners, as identified, in the language of the Lord himself.
Yes, we may justly consider the curse of the law denounced against offenders, and the execution of that curse upon the finally impenitent, as no other than the genuine expressions of Essential Purity; or as Eternal Holiness blazing forth in its necessary opposition to moral evil. For this is plainly inplied in the language of Jehovah, when declaring, that he SANCTIFIEs himself, or displays the flaming purity of his nature, and makes himself known as the Holy One, by the punishments which he inflicts on rebellious creatures. - The holiness and the justice of God may, however, be thus distinguished. The former is a perfection, absolutely considered, in his immutable nature: but the latter is a perfection which respects his Administration. Eternal holiness may be viewed as the source of divine justice; and divine justice, on supposition of moral evil existing in the empire of God, as the triumph of divine holiness over depravity and rebellion. For it is by Jehovah's necessary abhorrence of sin, that his anger is kindled against it, and that the most awful penal evils are inflicted upon transgressors.-Thus various is the evidence arising from a consideration of the Divine Purity, That Juslice is essential to the character of God. *
* Numb. xx. 13. Compare Ps. cvi. 32, 33. Ezek. xxviii. 22, 23. and xxxviii, 22, 23.
Nor ought Eternal Justice, though terrible to an unsanctified heart and a guilty conscience, to be considered as an unamiable attribute of the Most High. For, to doubt his justice, is not only to question his holiness, but, by implication, to impeach his goodness of imperfection ; and that especially under the character of Supreme Go
Because it appears, on mature consideration, that divine justice is a branch of divine goodness, and was revealed to Moses under that very notion. For when the illustrious leader of Israel so earnestly prayed, I beseech thee, show me thy glory; the divine answer was, I will make all my GOODNESS pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of JEHOVAH before thee. When, further, the ETERNAL, in pursuance of this gracious promise, actually proclaimed his most comprehensive, sacred, sublime Name, JEHOVAH; and when enumerating those Divine Properties of his infinite nature which are expressed by it; his Justiceyes, and his punishing Justice too--makes a conspicuous figure in the concluding part of the divine comment upon that august Name which is peculiar to bimself. For, to the various preceding articles, it is added, And will bY NO MEANS CLEAR THE GUILTY.T By which he plainly signified, not only that Justice constitutes an essential part of his
* See Mr. Charnock's Discourse on the Holiness of God. + Exod. xxxiii. 19. and xxxiv. 5, 6, 7.
divine character; but that it is included under the general notion of his goodness.
That the King Eternal, in the whole of his administration, is determined by wisdom and goodness, must be admitted. For whatever is best and most fit to be done, that, our opposers themselves being judges, an Allwise Being must, from the supreme perfection of his nature, necessarily do. Consequently, the same transcendent perfection must absolutely forbid his doing, or omitting, every thing that would be inconsistent with his divine character. Hence we read, God cannot lie--He cannot deny himself: because that would be contrary to his essential rectitude. But if his punishing sin depended entirely on the sovereign determination of his will, he might suffer immortal creatures for ever to continue in a state of rebellion against him, without the least expression of his resentment. A consequence, this, which no serious person will readily admit.
Justice requires that sin should be punished, because it deserves punishment. For as is the demerit of sin, such is the demand of justice: they being, under different expressions, the same thing. Because a desert of punishment, is no other than a just connection with punishment. The suitableness, therefore, of the connection between crime and punishment, consists in the desert; and consequently, wherever there is ill desert, there is that suitableness. Hence it must be completely proper, that sin should be punished according to its demerit.
Every intelligent being, in proportion to the degree of his moral gooduess, must hate evil. It must, therefore, be a property of that goodness in the character of a governor, to punish it.-Moral rectitude is universally good; but sin is intrinsically and universally evil. Whatever, therefore, discourages transgression according to its demerit, must be good. Consequently, the goodness of God is displayed, when, in opposition to sin, he executes justice upon transgressors.-All sin has in it the nature of injustice ; for it is a refusal of that affectionate obedience which is due to God, and a practical denial of the transgressor's necessary dependence upon him. It is, consequently, an infraction of divine order in the kingdom of Providence, or among the subjects of Jehovah's moral government. It is right, therefore, that he who refuses to honour God by a complete course of cheerful obedience to his preceptive will, sbould feel himself obliged, by omnipotent justice, to honour him passively and perpetually in a course of suffering. For if it be an aggravated evil to make a breach in the orderly subjection of rational creatures to their Creator; it cannot but be becoming the Lord of the world to vindicate the excellence of that order, by the infliction of condign punishment: which is the province of Eternal Justice.--The hatred of God to that which is intrinsically evil, and his love to that which is morally excellent, are equally characteristic of divine goodness. But were the Supreme never to execute the curse of his own law, either in the damnation of sinners, or in the equivalent sufferings of a voluntary Substitute; how could it appear that, in his legislative and governing character, he is essentially, either wise, or just, or good? What, shall the law of the Most High