Bates - HP BX5200 B3 1700

The Immortality of the Soul. 47 tbemwith that infinite (pace that is without the circumference of the Heavens, theyare ~ equally diflant from the utmofl extent of it, and equally difproportioned to its immenfi- Chap. 12. cy. For greater or lefs, higher or lower, are no approaches to what is Infinite. Thus ~ there are feveral degrees of mal•gnity in Sins, compared one with another, but as they are injurious to theinfiniteandincomprehenlible Majefiy of God, there is the fame kind of malignity, and fo far an equality between them. RebeUion in tbe leaf! inflance, i< "'the Sin of Witchcraft, and St11hbornn;fs. in the fmallefl matters, i< M Idolatry; that IS, the leaf! Sin is as truly repugnant to the DlV!ne Law, as thofethat m the h1ghefl manner are oppofite to the Truth and Glory of the Deity. And from hence their proport•on to Puni{hment is not difiinguifh'd by Temporal and Eternal, but by Stronger or Remiffer degrees of Torment, by fuffering the Rods or Scorpions of]ufiice in that endlefs duration. 'Tis a vain excufe to fay that God can receive no hurt by Sin, as will appear in a cafe of infinitely a lower Nature. The counterfeiting of the Broad-Seal does no lmrt to the Perfon of the King, but 'tis injurious to his Honour and Government, and the Olfender incurrs the guilt of High-Treafon, and ispunifh'd accordingly. 2. Confider Man's relation to God as the Creator and Preferver, who gives him Life and innumerable Benefits, who conferrs on him the mort !hining marks of11is favour, and this unfpeakably inhaunces the gua c of Sin agai~fl God, by adding Ingratitude to Rebellion, the Abufe of his Go<;>dnefs, W the IgnommJOus Alfront of hisMojefly. T he degrees ofGuilt arife in proportion to !JJs Duty and Obl•gatJO_ns. For Man thtn to rum Enemy ~~~~~~~\~ ~1~:;,j~~t';;~~;~~st~i~:~;:;:~~~~;;~;n~~~~~j~Jg~,~~f~; ~~ni~;g~~~~ heinous Offimders, as Parricides, the Affailinates of Kings, the Betrayers of their Countrey, contrail: fo great a Guilt as exceeds the mofl exquifite Torments that the Criminal can endure, and no lefs than Death, that for ever deprives of all that is valuable and pleafant in this Natural Life, is an equal pLmifhment to it; What temporal Sufferings can expiate Sin againfl God? For befides the tranfcendent excellence of his Nature, infinitely rais'd above all other Beings, there are united in him in an incomparable degree, all the Rights that are inherent in our Parents, Princes, or Counrrey, for Benefits received from them. And may he not then juflly deprive ungracious Rebels for ever of the comforts of his ~eviving Prefence? 3· The neceffity ofEternal Recompences to excite a conf\ant fear in Men of olfending God, makes the Jufiice of them vifible. For (as it has been proved before) wlliles they arecloa.thed with Flefh and Blood, the difpofition inclining from within, and the Temptation urging from witl\out, if the Punifhment of Sin were not far more terrible than tlle Pleafuresof it are alluring, therewould benoeffell:ual reflrai 0 t upon the Riots of the Carnal App,etite. , Now ifCivil Juflice, for the prefervation of Society, wifely decrees fuch Penalties for Olfences as are requifite to maintain the Honour of Laws that are founded in equity, either by preventing, or by repairing the injury done to them ; Is it not mofl righteous that the Supream Lord of the Wor:d fhould fecure obedience to his mofl Holy Laws, by annexing fuch Penalties as are neceffary to induce a Reverence of them in his Subjell:s, and to execute the fentence in full feverity upon prefumptuous Tranfgreffors? Without this the Divine Government would bediffolved. 4· Eternal Life, and Eternal Death are fer before Men, to encourage them to Obedience, and deterr them from Sin, fo that none dies but for wilful Impenitence. And can there be the leaf! afperfion ofunjufl rigour cafl on God's proceedings in Judgment? If it be faid, 'tis focontraryto themoflinviolableinclinationsof Nature, that no Man canchufe his own Deflru/J:ion : To that a full anfwer may be given, 'Tis true Man cannot divefl Reafon and Senfe foas to chufe direll:ly and intentionally Eternal Mifery, but virtually .and by confequen~e he d?"s. !'or t~e ~eliberate choice of Sin as pleafant or profitable, though damnable m the tffue, IS by JUfl mterpretatlon a chafing of the punifhment that attends it. And to make it clear, that Sinners are in love with perifhing , let us confider, · r. The ineflimable reward of Obedience they refufe. Tis a feli city worth as much as the enjoyment of God himfelf, and as durable as Eternity. Now what is put in the Ballance againfl Heaven? Only thi< World that paf!es away with the uifls thereof And it argues a violent propenfion in the Will to Carnal things, when the litrle fleeting pleafures of Senfe (how empty, how va<lifhing!) outweigh in the competition the fubfrantial everlafiing Bleffednefs of the Spirit. And what a vile contempt is it of the Perfe/J:ions of God, that fuch bafe things, fuch trifling Temptations fhonld be chofen before him? W~re it not ':iGb!y true , Reafon would deny the poflibility of it. 'Tis as if the Wtreof a Prmcefhould preferr in her Affell:ions before him a DifeafedDeformed Slave. Or, as if one fhould chnfe th~ Food _of Beafls, Hay, Acorns, or Carrion, beforep~';;:,