The Introduction. A short view of Mans primitive State. His Conformity to God; natural, moral, and in Hap∣piness and Dominion over the Creatures. The mo∣ral resemblance, as it refers to all the faculties. The happiness of Man with respect to his sensitive and spi∣ritual Nature. Of all sublunary Creatures he is onely capable of a Law. What the Law of Nature contains. God entred into a Covenant with Man. The Reasons of that Dispensation. The Terms of the Covenant were becoming God and Man. The special clause in The Covenant concerning the Tree of Knowledg of Good and Evil. The Reasons of the Prohibition.
THe felicity which the Lord Jesus pro∣cured for Believers, includes a perfect freedom from Sin,* and all afflictive evils, the just consequents of it: and the fruition of Righteousness, Peace,* and Joy, wherein the Kingdom of God consists. In this the second Covenant excels the first; the Law supposes Man upright, and the happiness it promises to exact Obedience, is called Life, it rewards Innocence with Immortality: but the Bles∣sedness of the Gospel is stil'd Salvation, which signi∣fies the rescuing of lapsed Man from a state of misery, and the investing of him with unperishing Glory.
In order to the Discovery of the excellency of this Benefit, and the endearing Obligations laid on us by Page 2 our Redeemer, 'tis necessary to take a view of that dreadful and desperate Calamity which seiz'd up∣on Mankind: the wretchedness of our Captivity, illustrates the Glory of our Redemption. And since the misery of Man was not the original condition of his nature, but the effect of his guilty choice, 'tis re∣quisite to make some reflection upon his first state▪ as he came out of the pure hands of God, that compa∣ring our present misery with our lost happiness, we may revive in our breasts the affections of Sorrow, Shame and Indignation against our selves; and con∣sidering that the Heavenly Adam hath purchased for us a title to a better Inheritance than was forfeited by the Earthly one, we may with the more affectionate gratitude, extol the Favour & Power of our Redeemer.
God who is the living Fountain of all Perfecti∣ons, spent an intire Eternity, in the Contem∣plation of his own Excellencies, before any crea∣ture was made. In the moment appointed by his Wisdom, he gave the first Being to the 〈◊〉. Three distinct orders of Natures He form'd, the 〈◊〉 purely Spiritual, the other purely Materiall, and be∣tween both one mixt, which unites the 〈…〉 in it self. This is Man, the abridgment of the 〈◊〉 verse, ally'd to the Angels in his Soul, and to mate∣rial things in his Body, and capable of the Happi∣ness of both; By his internal Faculties enjoying the felicity of the Intellectual: and by his external tasting the Pleasures of the Sensitive World. Man's greatest excellency was a perfect Conformity to the Divine Patern. God created Man in his own Like∣ness, in the Image of God created he him. This includes;
First, The Natural Similitude of God in the sub∣stance of the Soul, as it is an intelligent, free, spi∣ritualPage 3 and Immortal Being. This is assigned to be the Reason of the Law, That Whoso sheds Mans Blood, by Man shall his Blood be shed;*for in the Image of God made he Man.
Secondly, A moral Resemblance in its Qualities and Perfections.
Thirdly, That Happiness and Dignity of Mans state, which was the consequent, and accession to his Holiness. The Natural resemblance I shall not in∣sist on: for the distinct Illustration of the other, we must consider God in a threefold respect.
1. In respect of his absolute Holiness, unspotted Pu∣rity, infinite Goodness, incorruptible Justice, and whatever we conceive under the notion of moral Perfections.
2. With respect to his compleat Blessedness, (the result of his infinite Excellencies;) as he is per∣fectly exempt from all evils, which might allay, and lessen his felicity, and enjoys those pleasures, which are worthy of his pure Nature, and glorious State.
3. In regard of his supreme Dominion, which ex∣tends it self to all things in Heaven and Earth. Now in the Participation of these, the Image of God did principally consist. The Holiness of Man was the copy of the Divine purity: his Happiness a represen∣tation of the Divine Felicity: and his Dominion o∣ver the lower World, the resemblance of Gods So∣veraignty.
I will take a particular survey of them.
1. Man was conformed to God in Holiness. This appears by the expressions of the Apostle, con∣cerning the Sanctification of corrupt man; which he sets forth, by the renewing of him in knowledg,*righ∣teousness and holiness, after the image of the Creator.Page 4 The Renovation of things, is the restoring of them to their Primitive state,* and is more, or less per∣fect, by its proportion to, or distance from the Ori∣ginal. Holiness, & Righteousnesse, are the comprehen∣sive Sum of the Moral Law,* which not only represents the Will, but the Nature of God in his Supream Ex∣cellency, and in conformity to it the Divine likeness eminently appear'd. Adam was created with the perfection of Grace, the progress of the most excel∣lent Saints is incomparably short of his beginning; By this we may in part conjecture at the Beauty of Holinesse in him, of which one faint ray appearing in renewed persons is so amiable. This primitive Beauty is exprest in Scripture by rectitude: God made Man upright. There was an universal entire rectitude in his Faculties, disposing them for their proper Operations. This will more fully appear, by considering the distinct powers of the Soul, in their regular Constitutions.
1. The understanding was inrich'd with knowledg. Nature was unveiled to Adam, he enter'd into its Sanctuary, and discover'd its mysterious Operations. When the Creatures came to pay their Homage to him,*whatsoever he called them, that was the name there∣of. And their Names exprest their Natures. His knowledg reach'd through the whole compass of the Creation, from the Sun the glorious vessel of Light, to the Gloworm that shines in the hedg. And this knowledg was not acquir'd by Study, 'twas not the fruit of anxious inquiry, but as the illumination of the Air is in an instant by the light of the Morning, so his Understanding was enlightned, by a pure beam from the Father of Lights.
Page 5Besides, He had such a knowledg of the Deity, as was sufficient for his Duty and Felicity▪ His mind did not stick in the material part of things, but ascended by the several ranks of Beings, to the Universal Cause. He discover'd the Glory of the Divine Essence and Attributes by their wonderful effects.
1. Almighty Power. When he first open'd his eyes, the stupendious Fabrick of Heaven and Earth presented itself to his view, and in it the most ex∣press and clear characters of that Glorious Power, which produced it. For what could overcome the Infinite distance, between not being, and being, but Infinite Power? As there is no proportion between not being, and being, so the cause which unites those terms, must be without limits. Now the Divine Word alone, (which calls the things that are not, as if they were) caused the World to rise from the Abyss of empty nothing. At Gods Command the Heavens,**and all their Host were created. And this led him to consider the Immensity of the Divine Essence; For Infinite Power is incompatible with a finite Essence, and by the consideration of the Immensity, he might ascend to the Eternity of God. To be Eternal, without beginning, and Infinite without bounds, infer, one another, and necessarily exist in the same subject. For 'tis impossible, that any thing which is form'd by another, and hath a beginning, should not be limited in its Nature by the cause that produced it. There∣fore the Apostle declares, that the Eternal Power of God is set forth in the Creation of the World,* joyning with the discovery of his Power, that of his Eternity.
2. Admirable Wisdom appear'd to Man in the Page 6 Creation. For by considering the Variety and U∣nion▪ the Order and Efficacy, the Beauty and Sta∣bility of the World, he clearly discerned that Wis∣dom, which so regularly disposed all. 'Tis thus that Wisdom speaks in the Book of Proverbs; When he prepared the Heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:*When he esta∣blished the Clouds above: When he strengthened th• Fountains of the Deep: when he gave the Sea his De∣cree, that the Waters should not pass his Command∣ments: when he appointed the Foundations of the Earth: I was with him, contriving all in the best manner for Ornament and Use. The knowledg of this, fill'd his Soul with wonder, and delight. The Psamist breaks forth with astonishment, as one in the midst of innumerable Miracles, O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in Wisdom hast made them all: And if he discovered such wonderful and Divine Wis∣dom in the Works of God,* when the vigour of the humane Understanding was so much impair'd by the Fall; how much more did Adam, who per∣fectly understood Universal Nature, the offices of its parts, the harmony of the whole, and all the just Laws of Union, by which God hath joined together such a multitude of beings, so distant and disagreeing, and how the Publick Peace is pre∣served by their Private Enmity. This discovery caused him to acknowledge, that Great is the Lord, and of great Power, his Understanding is infinite.
3. Infinite Goodness shin'd forth in the Creation. This is the leading Attribute, that call'd forth the rest to work. As there was no matter, so no motive to induce God to make the World, but what Page 7 arose from his Goodness: For he is an All-sufficient Being, perfectly blessed in himself. His Majesty is not encreased by the Adoration of Angels, nor his Greatnesse by the Obedience of Nature; neither was he less happy, or content, in that Eternal Duration before the existence of any Creature, than he is since. His Original Felicity is equally incapable of accession; as of diminution. 'Tis e∣vident therefore, that only free, and unexcited Goodness, moved him to create all things, that he might impart being and happiness to the Creature, not inrich his own.
And as by contemplating the other works of God, so especially by reflecting upon himself, Adam had a clear sight of the Divine Attributes, which con∣curr'd in his Creation. Whether he consider'd his lowest part, the Body, 'twas form'd of the Earth, the most artificial and beautiful piece of the visible World. The contrivance of its parts,* was with that proportion and exactness, as most conduc'd to Comliness and Service. Its stature was erect and raised, becoming the Lord of the Creatures, and an observer of the Heavens. A Divine Beauty and Majesty was shed upon it. And this was no vanish∣ing ray, soon eclips'd by a Disease, and extinguisht by Death, but shin'd in the countenance without any declination. The Tongue was Man's peculiar glory, being the interpreter of the mind, and capa∣ble to signifie all the Affections of the Soul. In short, the Body was so fram'd, as to make a visible discovery of the Prerogatives of his Creation. And when he reflected upon his Soul, that animated his dust, its excellent endowments, wherein 'tis com∣parable Page 8 to the Angels, its capacity of enjoying God himself for ever, he had an internal and most clear testimony of the glorious perfections of his Creator. For Man,* who alone admires the works of God, is the most admirable of all.
2. The Image of God was resplendent in mans Conscience, the seat of practical Knowledg, and Treasury of moral Principles. The directive facul∣ty was sincere, and incorrupt, not infected with any disguising tincture: 'twas clear from all prejudices, which might render it an incompetent Judg of good and evil. It instructed Man in all the parts of his relative Obligations to God, and the Creatures. 'Twas not fetter'd and confin'd, fearfully restrain∣ing from what is Lawful; nor licentious and indul∣gent in what is forbidden. Briefly, Conscience in Adam upright, was a subordinate God, that gave Laws, and exacted obedience to that glorious Be∣ing who is its Superior.
3. There was a Divine Impression on the Will. Spiritual Reason kept the Throne, and the inferi∣our Faculties observed an easy and regular sub∣ordination to its dictates. The Affections were exercis'd with proportion to the quality of their Objects. Reason was their inviolable Rule. Love the most noble, and Master-affection, which gives being and goodness to all the rest, even to hatred it self; (for so much we hate an object, as it hinders our enjoyment of the good we love) this precious Incense was offer'd up to the ex∣cellent and supreme Being, which was the Author of his Life. Adam fully obeyed the first, and great Command, of loving the Lord with all his heart, Page 9 soul, and strength. His love to other things was regulated by his love to God. There was a perfect accord between flesh and spirit in him. They both joyn'd in the service of God, and were naturally mov'd to their happiness. In short, the image of God, in Adam, was a living, powerful Principle, and had the same relation to the Soul, which the Soul hath to the Body, to animate and order all its Facul∣ties, in their Offices and Operations, according to the Will of his Creator.
2. The Image of God consisted (though in an infe∣riour degree) in the happy state of man. Herein he resembled that infinitly Blessed Being. This happi∣ness had relation to the two Natures, which enter into Mans Composition.
1. To the Animal and Sensitive, and this con∣sisted in two things. 1. In the excellent disposition of his Organs. 2. In the enjoyment of convenient Objects.
1. In the excellent disposition of the Organs. His body was form'd immediately by God, and so not liable to those defects, which proceed from the weakness of second causes. No blemish, or disease, which are the effects and footsteps of sin, were to be found in him. His health was not a frail inconstant disposition, easily ruin'd by the jarring elements, but firm and stable. The humours were in a just temperament, to prevent any destemper, which might tend to the dis∣solution of that excellent frame. Briefly all rhe senses were quick and lively, able to perform with facility, vigour, and delight, their operations.
2. There were convenient Objects, to entertain his sensitive faculties.
Page 10He enjoyed Nature in its original Purity, crown'd with the benediction of God; before 'twas blasted with the curse. The World was all Harmony and Beauty, becoming the goodness of the Creator; and not as 'tis since the Fall disorder'd and deform'd in many parts, the effect of his Justice. The Earth was liberal to Adam of all its Treasures: the Hea∣vens of their Light, and sweetest Influences. He was seated in Eden, a place of so great beauty and delight, that it represented the Celestial Paradise, which is refresht with Rivers of Pleasure. And as the ultimate End of the Creatures was to raise his mind, and inflame his heart with the love of his great Benefactor; So their first and natural use was the satisfaction of the Senses, from whence the fe∣licity of the Animal Life did proceed.
2. His supreme Happiness consisted in the ex∣ercise of his most noble Faculties, on their proper Objects. This will appear by considering, that as the spiritual Faculties have objects which infinitely excel those of the sensitive; So their capacity is more inlarged, their union with objects is more in∣timate, and their perception is with more quickness and vivacity; and thereby are the greatest instru∣ments of pleasure to the rational being. Now the highest Faculties in Man, are the Understanding and Will; and their happiness consists in union with God, by Knowledg and Love.
1. In the Knowledg of God. As the desire of Knowledg is the most natural to the humane Soul, so the obtaining of it produces the most noble and sweetest pleasure. And proportionably to the de∣grees of excellency that are in objects, so much of Page 11rational Perfection and Satisfaction accrues to the mind by the knowledg of them. The discovery of the Works of God greatly affected Man, yet the excellencies scatter'd among them, are but an im∣perfect and mutable shadow of God's infinite and unchangable Perfections. How much more de∣lightful was it to his pure understanding, tracing the footsteps and impressions of God in Natural things, to ascend to him, who is the glorious Original of all Perfections. And although his finite under∣standing could not comprehend the Divine excel∣lencies, yet his knowledg was answerable to the degrees of Revelation, wherein God was manifested. He saw the admirable Beauty of the Creator through the transparent vail of the creatures. And from hence there arose in the Soul, a pleasure pure, solid, and satisfying, a pleasure divine; for God takes infinit contentment in the contemplation of Him∣self.
2. The Happiness of Man consisted in the Love of God. 'Twas not the naked speculation of the Deity that made him happy, but such a knowledg as ravisht his Affections. For happiness results from the fruitions of all the Faculties. 'Tis true, that by the mediation of the understanding, the other Faculties have access to an object; the Will and Affections can't be enclin'd to any thing, but by vertue of an act of the mind which propounds it as worthy of them. It follows therefore that when by the discovery of the transcendent excellencies in God, the Soul is excited to love and to delight in Him as its Supreme Good; 'tis then really and per∣fectly happy. Now as Adam had a perfect know∣ledg Page 12 of God, so the height of his love was answer∣able to his knowledg, and the compleatness of his enjoyment was according to his Love. All the Divine Excellencies were amiable to him. The Ma∣jesty, Purity, Justice, and Power of God, which are the terrour of guilty creatures, secur'd his hap∣piness whilst he continued in his Obedience. His Conscience was clear and calm, no unquiet fears discompos'd its Tranquillity, 'twas the seat of In∣nocence and Peace. Briefly, His love to God was perfect,* without any allay of tormenting fear; and Delight, its inseparable attendant, was pure without the least mixture of Sorrow.
3. There was in Mans dominion and power over the Creatures, a shining part of God's Image. He was appointed God's Lieutenant in the world, and adorn'd with a Flower of his Crown. God gave him the solemn Investiture of this dignity, when he brought the Creatures to receive their names from him,* which was a mark of their homage, and a Token of his supreme Empire to command them by their names. As this Dominion was establisht by the order of God, so 'twas exercised by the media∣tion of the Body. In his Face and Words there was something so powerful, as commanded all the hosts of the lower world. And as their subjection was most easie without constraint, or resistance, so 'twas most equal without violence and oppression.
Thus holy and blessed was Adam in his Primitive state. And that he might continue so, he was obliged for ever to obey the Will of God▪ who be∣stowed upon him Life and Happiness. By the first neglect of his Duty, he would most justly and in∣evitably Page 13 incur the loss of both. This will appear by considering the design of God in the Creati∣on.
God did not make the World and Man for the meer exercise of his Power, and so left them; but as the production of all things was from his Good∣ness, so their resolution and tendency is for his Glory. He is as universally the final, as the efficient cause of all creatures. For that which receives its being from another, can't be an end to it self; for the prevision of the end in the mind of the Creator, sets him a work, and is antecedent to the being of the creature. Therefore the Wiseman tells us, that God made all things for himself. And the Apostle,* that Of him, and to him, and through him are all things:*to whom be glory for ever. The lower rank of Crea∣tures objectively glorifie God; as there is a visible demonstration of his excellent Attributes in them. Man is only qualified to know, and love the Crea∣tor: And as the benefit of all redounds to him, 'tis his duty to pay the tribute for all. By his mouth the world makes its acknowledgment to God. He is the Interpreter of the silent and uninterrupted Praises,* which the full Quire of Heaven and Earth renders to him. O Lord▪ all thy works praise thee, (from the most noble to the least worthy) thy Saints bless thee. Thankfulness is the homage due from understanding Creatures.
And from hence it follows, that Man was only in a state of moral dependance, and capable of a Law. For a Law being the declaration of the Superiours Will, requiring Obedience, and threatning Punish∣ment on the failure thereof; there must be a prin∣ciple of Reason and choice in that nature that is go∣vern'd Page 14 by it. 1. To discover the Authority that enjoins it. 2. To discern the matter of the Law. 3. To determine it self out of judgment and electi∣on to Obedience, as most excellent in it self and advantageous to the performer.
Now all inferiour Creatures are moved by the secret force of natural inclinations; they are insen∣sible of moral engagements, and are not wrought on in an illuminative way by the foresight of rewards and punishments. But Man who is a reasonable creature owes a reasonable service. And it is im∣possible that Man should be exempt from a Law.* For as the notion of a God, that is of the first and supreme Being, excludes all possibility of obligation to another,*Who hath first given to the Lord, and it shall be recompensed to him again? And of subjection to a Law, for supremacy and subjection are incom∣patible; so the quality of a Creature includes the relation of dependance, and natural subjection to the Will of God. This is most evident from that common Principle which governs the intelligent Crea∣tion. 'Tis a moral Maxime to which the reasonable nature necessarily assents, That the dispensing of benefits acquires to the Giver a Right to command, and lays on the Receiver an Obligation to obey; and these rights and duties are measured by the nature of the benefits as their just Rule. This is visible in that Dominion which is amongst men.
If we ascend to the first Springs of Humane Laws, we shall find the original Right of Power to arise either from Generation in Nature, or Preservation •n War, or some publick Good accruing to the Society by the prudent care of the Governor. Now the being and blessedness of the creature are the greatest Page 15 and most valuable benefits that can be received; and in the bestowing of them is laid the most real founda∣tion of Power and Authority. Upon this account Man who derives his life and felicity from God, is under a natural and strong obligation to comply with his will. From this right of Creation God asserts his universal Dominion: I have made the Earth, and created Man upon it,*even my hands have stretcht out the Heavens, and all their hosts have I commanded. And the Psalmist tells us, Know ye that the Lord he is God, it is He that made us,*and not we our selves; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture. His Jurisdiction is grounded on his pro∣priety in Man; and that arises from his giving being to him. Remember, O Israel,*for thou art my servant, I have formed thee. From hence he hath a supreme Right to impose any Law, for the performance of which Man had an original Power. Universal Obedience is the just consequent of our obligations to the Divine Goodness.
Suppose that Man were not the work of God's hands, yet the infinite excellency of his nature gives him a better title to command us, than Man hath upon the account of his reason to govern those Creatures that are inferiour to him. Or suppose that God had not created the matter of which the Body is compos'd, but only inspir'd it with a living Soul, yet his right over us had been unquestionable. The Civil Law determines, that when an Artificer works on rich materials, and the engraving be not of extraordinary value, that the whole belongs to him who is the owner of the materials. But if the matter be mean, and the workmanship excellent, in Page 16 which the price wholly lies; as if a Painter should draw an admirable Picture on a piece of Canvas, the Picture of right belongs to him that drew it. So if, according to the errour of some Philosophers, the matter of which the World was made had been Eter∣nal,* yet God having infused a reasonable Soul into a piece of clay, which is the principle of its life, and gives it a transcendent value above all other beings which were made of the same element, it is most just he should have a property in him, and dominion over him.
The Law of Nature to which Man was subject up∣on his Creation, contains those moral Principles concerning good and evil, which have an essential equity in them, and are the measures of his duty to God, to himself, and to his fellow creatures. This was publisht by the voice of Reason, and is holy, just and good:* Holy as it enjoins those things wherein there is a conformity to those Attributes and Acti∣ons of God, which are the pattern of our imitation: So the general Rule is, Be holy, as God is holy, in all manner of conversation;* and this is most honourable to the humane nature. 'Tis just, that is, exactly agreable to the frame of mans faculties, and most suitable to his condition in the world: and good, that is, beneficial to the observer of it. In keeping of it there is great reward. And the obligation to it is eternal,* it being the unchangeable will of God grounded on the natural and unvariable relations between God and Man, and between Man and the Creatures.
Besides the particular directions of the Law of Nature, this general Principle was planted in the Page 17 reasonable Soul, to obey God in any instance where∣in he did prescribe his pleasure.
Moreover, God was pleased to enter into a Cove∣nant with Adam, and with all his Posterity, natu∣rally descending from him: And this was the effect;
1. Of admirable Goodness: For by his Supre∣macy over Man he might have signified his Will meerly by the way of Empire, and requir'd Obe∣dience. But he was pleased to condescend so far as to deal with Man in a sweeter manner, as with a Creature capable of his Love, and to work upon him by rewards and punishments, congruously to the reasonable Nature.
2. Of Wisdom to secure Man's obedience: For the Covenant being a mutual engagement between God and Man, as it gave him infallible assurance of the reward to strengthen his Faith, so it was the surest bond to preserve his Fidelity. 'Tis true the Precept alone binds by vertue of the authority that imposes it, but the consent of the Creature in∣creases the Obligation; It twists the cords of the Law, and binds more strongly to Obedience. Thus Adam was God's servant, as by the condition of his nature, so by his choice, accepting the Covenant, from which he could not recede without the guilt and infamy of the worst perfidiousness.
The terms of the Covenant were becoming the Parties concern'd, God and Man; It established an inseparable Connexion between Duty and Felicity. This appears by the Sanction, In the day thou eatest of the forbidden fruit, thou shalt die.* In that parti∣cular species of Sin the whole genus is included; ac∣cording to the Apostles Exposition: Cursed is every Page 18 one that doth not continue in all the works of the Law to do them.* The threatning of Death was exprest, it being more difficult to be conceiv'd.
The promise of Life upon his Obedience was im∣plied, and easily suggested it self to the rational Mind. These were the most proper and powerful motives to excite his Reason, and affect his Will. For Death primarily signifies the dissolution of the vital union between the Soul and Body, and conse∣quently all the preparatory dispositions thereunto; Diseases, Pains, and all the Affections of Morta∣lity, which terminate in Death as their center. This is the extremest of temporal Evils, which inno∣cent Nature shrunk from, it being a deprivation of that excellent state which Man enjoyed. But prin∣cipally it signified the separation of the Soul from God's reviving presence, who is the only Fountain of Felicity. Thus the Law is interpreted by the Lawgiver, The Soul that sins shall die. Briefly, Death in the threatning is comprehensive of all kinds and degrees of evils,* from the least Pain, to the compleatness of Damnation. Now 'tis an invio∣lable Principle deeply set in the Human Nature, to preserve its being and blessedness, so that nothing could be a more powerful restraint from Sin, than the fear of Death which is destructive to both.
This constitution of the Covenant was founded not only in the Will of God, but in the nature of the things themselves: And this appears by con∣sidering,
1. That Holiness is more excellent in it self, and separately considered, than the reward that at∣tends it. 'Tis the peculiar glory of the Divine Na∣ture, God is glorious in Holiness. And as He prefers Page 19 the infinite purity of his Nature, before the immor∣tal felicity of his state, so he values in the reasona∣ble Creature the vertues by which they represent his Holiness, more than their perfect Contentment by which they are like Him in Blessedness. Now God is the most just esteemer of things, his judgment is the infallible measure of their real worth; 'tis therefore according to natural order that the Hap∣piness of Man should depend upon his Integrity, and the reward be the fruit of his Obedience.
And although it is impossible that a meer Creature, in what state soever, should obtain any thing from God by any other title but his voluntary Promise, the effect of his Goodness; yet 'twas such Good∣ness as God was invited to exercise, by the consi∣deration of Mans obedience. And as the neglect of his Duty had discharged the Obligation on God's part, so the performance gave him a claim, by right of the Promise, to everlasting Life.
2. As the first part of the alliance was most reasonable, so was the Second, that Death should be the wages of Sin. It is not conceivable that God should continue his favour to Man, if he turn'd Rebel against Him: For this were to disarm the Law, and expose the Authority of the Lawgiver to con∣tempt, and would reflect upon the Wisdom of God. Besides, If the reasonable Creature violates the Law, it necessarily contracts an obligation to pu∣nishment, So that if the Sinner who deserves death should enjoy life, without satisfaction for the of∣fence, or Repentance to qualifie him for pardon, (both which were without the compass of the first Covenant) this would infringe the unchangable rights of Justice, and disparage the Divine Purity.
Page 20In the first Covenant there was a special clause, which respected Man as the inhabitant of Paradise, That he should not eat of the Tree of Knowledg of good and evil upon pain of Death.* And this Prohibi∣tion was upon most wise and just reasons.
1. To declare God's Sovereign Right in all things. In the quality of Creator he is Supreme Lord. Man enjoyed nothing but by a derived title from his Boun∣ty and Allowance, and with an obligation to render to him the Homage of all. As Princes when they give estates to their Subjects, still retain the Roy∣alty, and receive a small rent, which though incon∣siderable in its value, is an acknowledgment of de∣pendance upon them. So when God placed Adam in Paradise, he reserved this mark of his Soveraign∣ty, that in the free use of all other things, Man should abstain from the forbidden Tree.
2. To make trial of Mans Obedience in a matter very congruous to discover it.* If the Prohibition had been grounded on any moral▪ internal evil in the nature of the thing it self, there had not been so clear a testimony of God's Dominion, nor of Adam's Subjection to it. But when that which in it self was indifferent, became unlawful meerly by the Will of God, and when the Command had no other excellency, but to make his Authority more sacred, this was a confining of Man's liberty, and to ab∣stain was pure Obedience.
Besides, The restraint was from that which was very grateful and alluring to both the parts of Mans compounded Nature.* The Sensitive Appetite is strongly excited by the Lust of the Eye; and this fruit being beautiful to the sight, the forbearance was an excellent exercise of vertue in keeping the lower Page 21 appetite in obedience. Again, The desire of Know∣ledg is extremely quick and earnest, and in appea∣rance most worthy of the rational Nature; Nullus animo suavior cibus.* 'Tis the most high and luscious food of the Soul.
Now the Tree of Knowledg was forbidden; So that the observance of the Law was the more emi∣nent, in keeping the intellectual Appetite in Medi∣ocrity.
In short, God required Obedience as a Sacrifice. For the Prohibition being in a matter of natural Plea∣sure, and a curb to Curiosity,* which is the Lust and Concupiscence of the Mind after things conceal'd; by a reverent regard to it, Man presented his Soul and Body to God as a living Sacrifice, which was his reasonable service.*