The harmony of the divine attributes in the contrivance and accomplishment of man's redemption by the Lord Jesus Christ, or, Discourses wherein is shewed how the wisdom, mercy, justice, holiness, power, and truth of God are glorified in that great and blessed work
Bates, William, 1625-1699.
Page  22

CHAP. II.

Mans Natural state was mutable. The Devil, moved by hatred and envy, attempts to seduce him. The Temptation was suitable to Mans compounded Na∣ture. The Woman being deceived, perswades her Husband. The quality of the first Sin. Many were combin'd in it. 'Twas perfectly voluntary. Man had Power to stand. The Devil could only allure, not compel him. His Understanding and Will the causes of his Fall. The punishment was of the same date with his Sin. He forfeited his Righteousness and Felicity. The loss of original Righteousness, as it signifies the purity and liberty of the Soul. The torment of Conscience that was consequent to Sin. A whole Army of Evils enter with it into the World.

MAN was created perfectly holy, but in a natural, therefore mutable state. He was invested with power to prevent his Falling; yet un∣der a possibility of it. He was compleat in his own order, but receptive of sinful impressions. An in∣vincible Perseverance in Holiness belongs to a su∣pernatural state; 'tis the priviledg of Grace, and exceeds the design of the first Creation.

The rebellious Spirits, who by a furious ambition had raised a war in Heaven, and were fallen from their obedience and glory, designed to corrupt Man, and to make him a companion with them in their revolt. The most subtile amongst them sets about this Page  23 work, urged by two strong passions, Hatred and Envy.

1. By Hatred. For being under a final and ir∣revocable Doom, he lookt on God as an irreconcile∣able enemy: And not being able to injure his Essence, he struck at his Image: As the fury of some beasts discharges it self upon the Picture of a Man. He singled out Adam as the mark of his ma∣lice, that by seducing him from his Duty, he might defeat God's design, which was, to be honoured by Mans free obedience, and so obscure his Glory as if He had made Man in vain.

2. He was sollicited by Envy, the first native of Hell: For having lost the favour of God, and being cast out of Heaven the Region of Joy and Blessed∣ness, the sight of Adam's Felicity exasperated his Grief. That Man who by the condition of his nature was below him, should be Prince of the world, whilst he was a Prisoner under those chains which restrain'd him and tormented him▪ the power and wrath of God, this made his state more intollerable. His torment was incapable of allay, but by ren∣dering man as miserable as himself. And as hatred excited his envy, so envy inflam'd his hatred, and both joyn'd in mischief. And thus pusht on, his Subtilty being equal to his Malice, he contrives a Temptation which might be most taking and dan∣gerous to Man, in his raised and happy state. He attempts him with art, by propounding the lure of Knowledg and Pleasure, to inveigle the Spiritual and Sensitive Appetites at once. And that he might the better succeed, he addresses to the Woman the weakest and most liable to seduction. He hides himself in the body of a Serpent, which before Sin Page  24 was not terrible unto her: And by this instrument insinuates his Temptation. He first allures with the hopes of impunity, Ye shall not die, then he promiseth an universal knowledg of good and evil. By these pretences he ruin'd innocence it self. For the Woman deceived by those specious Allectives, swallowed the poison of the Serpent, and having tasted Death, she perswaded her Husband by the same motives to despise the Law of their Creator. Thus Sin enter'd and brought confusion into the World. For the moral Harmony of the World consisting in the just subordination of the several ranks of beings to one another, and of all to God: When Man who was placed next to God, broke the Union, his Fall brought a desperate disorder into God's Government.

And although the matter of the Offence seems small, yet the Disobedience was infinitely great; it being the transgression of that command, which was given to be the instance and real proof of Mans subjection to God. Totam legem violavit in illo lega∣lis obedientiae praecepto.* The Honour and Majesty of the whole Law was violated in the breach of that symbolical Precept. 'Twas a direct and formal Rebel∣lion, a publick and universal renouncing of Obe∣dience. Many Sins were combin'd in that single act.

1. Infidelity: This was the first step to ruine. It appears by the order of the Temptation: 'twas first said by the Devil, Ye shall not die, to weaken their Faith; then ye shall be like gods, to flatter their ambi∣tion. The fear of Death would have contrould the efficacy of all his Arguments; till that restraint was broke, he could fasten nothing upon them. This Page  25 account the Apostle gives of the Fall; The woman being deceiv'd, was in the transgression.* As Obedience is the effect of Faith, so Disobedience of Infidelity. And as Faith comes by hearing the Word of God, so Infidelity by listening to the words of the Devil. From the deception of the Mind proceeded the depra∣vation of the Will, the intemperance of the Appe∣tite, and the defection of the whole Man. Thus as the natural, so the spiritual Death made its first en∣trance by the Eye.* And this Infidelity is ex∣tremely aggravated, as it implies an accusation of God both of envy and falshood.

1. Of Envy; As if he had deni'd them the per∣fections becoming the humane Nature; and they might ascend to a higher Orb, than that wherein they were placed, by eating the forbidden fruit. And what greater disparagement could there be of the Divine Goodness, than to suspect the Deity of such a low and base Passion, which is the special character of the Angels of Darkness.

And 'twas equally injurious to the honour of God's Truth. For it is not easy to conceive that Adam who was so lately the effect of Gods Omnipotence should presently distrust it as unable to inflict the punish∣ment threatned, but his assent was weakened as to the truth of the threatening: He did not believe the danger to be so great or certain upon his Disobe∣dience. And he that believes not God,*makes him a Liar. An impiety not to be thought on without horror. And that which heightens the affront, is, that when he distrusted the Fountain of Truth, he gave credit to the Father of Lies; as appears by his compliance, the real evidence of his Faith. Now what viler contumely could be offered to the Creator.

Page  262. Prodigious Pride. He was scarce out of the state of nothing, no sooner created, but he aspir'd to be as God. Not content with his Image, he af∣fected an equality,* to be like him in his inimitable Attributes. He would rob God of his Eternity to live without end; of his Soveraignty, to command without dependance; of his Wisdome, to know all things without reserve. Infinite Insolence! and worthy of the most fiery indignation. That Man▪ the Son of the Earth, forgetful of his Original, should usurp the Prerogatives which are essential to the Deity, and set up himself a real Idol, was a strain of that arrogancy which corrupted the An∣gels.

3. Horrid Ingratitude. He was appointed Heir apparent of all things; yet undervaluing his present portion, he entertains a project of improving his Happiness. The excellent state newly conferr'd up∣on him, was a strong obligation to pay so small an acknowledgment to his Lord. The use of all the Garden was allowed to him, only a Tree excepted. Now in the midst of such variety and plenty, to be inflam'd with the intemperate appetite of the for∣bidden Fruit, and to break a Command so equal and easie, what was it but a despising the rich Goodness of his great Benefactor. Besides, Man was endued with a diviner Spirit than the inferiour order of Creatures: Reason and Liberty were the special priviledges of his Nature, and to abuse them to Rebellion, renders him as more unreasonable, so more disingenuous than the Creatures below him, who inflexibly obey the Will of God.

4. The visible Contempt of God's Majesty, with a slighting his Justice. For the Prohibition was so Page  27 express and terrible, that till he had cast off all respects to the Lawgiver, 'twas not possible he should venture to disobey him. The Sin of Adam is there∣fore called by the Apostle, Disobedience;* as emi∣nently such, it being the first and highest instance of it. 'Twas the profanation of Paradise it self, the place of God's special presence. There he fell, and trampled on God's Command before his face. What just cause of astonishment is it, that a reasona∣ble creature should bid open Defiance to the Author of its Life! That a little breathing dust should con∣temn its Creator! That Man should prefer servile compliance to the will of the Tempter, before free subjection to his Father and Sovereign! To depose God and place the Devil in his Throne, was double Treason, and provok'd his infinite jea∣lousie.

5. Unaccountable and amazing Folly. What a despicable acquisition tempted him out of Happi∣ness? If there had been any possible comparison be∣tween them, the choice had been more excusable. But that the pleasures of Taste and Curiosity should outvie the favour of God, which is better than Life, that the most pernicious evil, guilded with the thin appearance of good, should be preferr'd before the substantial and supreme Good, is the reproach of his Reason, and makes the choice so criminal. And what less than voluntary Madness could encline him to desire that, which he ought infinitely to have fear'd, that is, the knowledg of evil: for no∣thing could destroy his Happiness, but the expe∣rience of Evil. What but a wilful distraction could induce him to believe that by defacing God's image, he should become more like him? Thus Man being Page  28 in honour,*but without understanding, became like the beasts that perish.

6. A bloody cruelty to himself, and all his Poste∣rity. When God had made him a depositary in a matter of infinite moment, that is of his own Hap∣piness, and all mankinds, this should have been a powerful motive to have kept him vigilant: But giving a ready ear to the Tempter, he betraid his trust, and at once breaks both the Tables of the Law, and becomes guilty of the highest Impiety and Cruelty. He was a Murderer before a Parent, he disinherited all his Children before they were born, and made them Slaves before they knew the price of Liberty.

And that which increases the malignity of this Sin, and adds an infinite emphasis to it, is, that 'twas perfectly voluntary, his Will was the sole cause of his Fall. And this is evident by consi∣dering;

1. That Adam innocent had a sufficient power to persevere in his holy State.* There was no sub∣straction of any Grace which was requisite to his standing; He left God before he was forsaken by Him. Much less was there any internal impulsion from God. 'Tis inconsistent with the Divine Puri∣ty to encline the Creature to sin: As God cannot be tempted to evil, neither tempts he any man. 'Tis injurious to his Wisdom to think that God would spoil that work, which he had compos'd with so much design and counsel. And 'tis dishonourable to his Goodness; He loved his Creature, and Love is an inclination to do good; 'twas impossible there∣fore for God to induce Man to sin, or to withdraw that power which was necessary to resist the Tempta∣tion, Page  29 when the consequent must be his inevitable ruine.

2. The Devil did only allure,* he could not ra∣vish his consent. Though his malice is infinite, yet his power is so restrain'd that he can't fasten an immediate, much less an irresistable impression on the Will: he therefore made use of an external Ob∣ject, to invite him. Now Objects have no con∣straining force, they are but partial agents, and de∣rive all their efficacy from the Faculties to which they are agreable. And although, since Sin hath disordered the flesh, there is difficulty in resisting those objects which pleasantly insinuate themselves, yet such an universal rectitude was in Adam, and so entire a subjection in the sensual Appetite to the superiour power of Reason, that he might have ob∣tain'd an easie conquest. A resolute Negative had made him victorious:* by a strong Denial he had baffled that proud Spirit. As the heavenly Adam, when he, who is only rich in promises, offer'd to him the Monarchy of the World with all its glory, disdain'd the offer, and cast off Satan with contempt. The true Rock was unmov'd, and broke all the proud waves that dasht against it.

3. It will fully appear that the Disobedience was Voluntary, by considering what denominates an action to be so. The two springs of humane actions are the Understanding and Will; and as there is no particular good but may have the appearance of some difficult unpleasant quality annexed, upon which account the Will may reject it; so any par∣ticular evil may be so disguised by the false lustre of goodness, as to encline the Will to receive it. This is clearly verified in Adam's Fall. For a speciousPage  30 Object was conveighed, through the unguarded Sence to his Fancy, and from that to his Under∣standing, which by a vicious carelesness neglecting to consider the danger, or judging that the excel∣lency of the end did out-weigh the evil of the means, commended it to the Will, and that resolved to em∣brace it. It is evident therefore, that the action which resulted from the direction of the Mind, and the choice of the Will was absolutely free.

Besides, As the regret that is mixt with an action, is a certain Character that the person is under con∣straint; So the delight that attends it, is a clear Evi∣dence that he is free.* When the Appetite is drawn by the lure of Pleasure, the more violent, the more voluntary is its motion. Now the representations of the forbidden fruit were under the notion of Pleasure. The Woman saw the fruit was good for food, that is, pleasurable to the Palate, and pleasant to the Eyes, and to be desired to make one wise; that is, to increase Knowledg,* which is the pleasure of the Mind, and these Allectives drew her into a snare. Adam with complacency receiv'd the temptation, and by the enticement of Satan committed adultery with the Creature, from whence the cursed race of Sin and Miseries proceed.

Suppose the Devil had so disguis'd the Temptati∣on, that notwithstanding all his circumspection and care, Adam could not have discovered its evil: his invincible Ignorance had rendered the action invo∣luntary: But Adam was conscious of his own action, there was light in his mind to discern the evil, and strength in his will to decline it. For the manner of the defection, whether it was from affected Igno∣rance, or secure Neglect, or transport of Passion, Page  31 it doth not excuse: The action it self was of that mo∣ment, and the supreme Law-giver so worthy of Re∣verence, that it should have awakened all the pow∣ers of his Soul to beware of that which was Rebellion against God, and ruin to himself.

Or suppose he had been tried by Torments, whose extremity and continuance had vehemently opprest his nature; this had only lessen'd the guilt, the action had still been voluntary; for no external force can compel the Will to choose any thing, but under the notion of comparative goodness. Now to choose Sin rather than pains,* and to prefer ease before obedience, is highly dishonourable to God, whose Glory ought to be infinitely more valuable to us than Life and all its endearments. And al∣though sharp Pains by discomposing the Body, make the Soul unfit for its highest and noblest Operations, so that it cannot perform the acts of Vertue with delight and freedom, yet then it may abstain from evil. But this was not Adam's case: The Devil had no Power over him (as over Job, who felt the extremity of his rage, and yet came off more than conqueror) to disturb his felicity, he prevailed by a simple suasion.

Briefly, Though Man had strength sufficient to re∣pel all the Powers of Darkness, yet he was vanquisht by the assault of a single Temptation. These are the circumstances which derive a crimson guilt to Man's rebellious Sin, and render it above measure sinful.

This will more fully appear by the convin∣cing declaration of God's displeasure against it, in the dreadful effects that ensued. The punishment of Man was of the same date with his Sin. Imme∣diatly after his Treason against Heaven, he made Page  32 a deadly forfeiture of his Original Righteousness and Felicity.

1. He lost his Original Righteousness; which we may consider under the notion of the purity and beauty of the Soul, or of its dominion and liberty, in opposition to which, Sin is represented in the Scrip∣ture by loathsom Deformity and Servitude.

1. His Soul degenerated from its purity; the Faculties remain'd, but the moral perfections were lost, wherein the brightness of God's Image was most conspicuous. How is Man disfigur'd by his Fall? How is he transform'd in an instant from the Image of God, into the Image of the Devil? He is defiled with the filthiness of flesh and spirit; he is asham'd at the sight of his own nakedness that reproach'd him for his crime; but the most shameful was that of the Soul: The one might be cover'd with leaves, the other nothing could conceal. To see a Face of exquisite Beauty devour'd by a Cancer, how doth it move compassion; but were the Natural Eye height∣ned to that clearness and perspicacity, as to disco∣ver the deformity which Sin hath brought upon the Soul, how would it strike with grief, horrour and aversation.

2. He was deprived of his Dominion and Liber∣ty. The Understanding was so wounded by the violence of the fall, that not onely its light is much impaired, but its Power is so weakned as to the lower faculties, that those which according to the order of nature should obey, have cast off its just authority, and usurp the Goverment. The will hath lost its true Freedom, whereby 'twas enlarg'd to the extent and amplitude of the Divine Will, in loving whaso∣ever was pleasing to God, and is contracted to Page  33 mean and base Objects. What a furious disorder is in the Affections? The restraint of Reason to check their violent course, provokes them to swell higher and to be more impetuous, and the more they are gratified, the more insolent and outragious they grow.

The Senses, whose office is to be the Intelligencers of the Soul, to make discovery and to give a naked report without disturbing the higher Faculties, they sometimes mistake disguised enemies for friends▪ and sometimes by a false alarm move the lower Ap∣petites, and fill the Soul with disorder and confusi∣on that the voice of Reason can't be heard. By the irritation of Grief, the insinuation of Pleasure, or some other Perturbation, the Soul is captivated and wounded through the Senses. In short, when Man turn'd Rebel to God, he became a slave to all the Creatures. By their primitive Institution they were appointed to be subservient to the Glory of God, and the use of Man, to be motives of Love and Obedience to the Creator▪ but Sin hath corrupted and changed them into so many instruments of vice, they are made subject unto vanity: And Man is so far sunk into the dregs of Servitude,* that he is sub∣ject to them. For by forsaking God the Supreme Object of Love, with as much injustice as folly, and choosing the Creature in his stead▪ he becomes a Servant to the meanest thing, upon which he places an inordinate affection.

Briefly, Man who by his Creation was the son of God, is made a slave to Satan that damned spirit and most cursed creature. Deplorable Degradation! and worthy of the deepest shame and sorrow.

2. Man lost his Felicity. Besides the trouble Page  34 that Sin hath in its own nature, which I have toucht on before, there is a consequent guilt and torment attends it. Adam whilst obedient enjoyed peace with God, a sweet serenity of mind, a divine calm in the Conscience, and full satisfaction in himself. But after his Sin, he trembled at God's Voice and was tormented at his Presence.*I heard thy voice, and was afraid, saith guilty Adam. He lookt on God as angry, and arm'd against him, ready to exe∣cute the severe Sentence; Conscience began an early Hell within him: Paradise with all its Plea∣sures could not secure him from that sting in his Breast, and that sharpen'd by the hand of God. What confusion of Thoughts, what a combat of Passions was he in? when the Temptation which deceived him vanisht, and his spirit recovered out of the surprise, and took a clear view of his guilt in its true horrour, what indignation did it kindle in his Breast? How did Shame, Sorrow, Revenge, Despair, those secret executioners torment his spirit. The intelligent Nature, his peculiar excel∣lency above the brutes, arm'd misery against him, and put a keener edge to it: 1. By reflecting up∣on the foolish exchange he made of God himself, for the fruit of a tree; That so slender a Temptation should cheat him of his Blessedness. His present misery is aggravated, by the sad comparison of it with his primitive Felicity. Nothing remains of his first Innocence, but the vexatious regret of ha∣ving lost it. 2. By the foresight of the Death he deserved. The conscience of his Crimes rackt his Soul with the certain and fearful expectation of judgment.

Besides the inward torment of his Mind, he was Page  35 expos'd to all miseries from without. Sin having made a breach into the World, the whole Army of Evils enter'd with it; the Curse extends it self to the whole Creation. For the World being made for Man, the place of his residence, in his punish∣ment it hath felt the effects of God's displeasure. The whole course of Nature is set on fire. Whereas a general Peace and amicable Correspondence was establisht between Heaven and Earth, whilst all were united in subjection to the Creator: Sin that broke the first Union between God and Man, hath ruin'd the second. As in a State when one part of the Subjects fall from their Obedience, the rest which are constant in their Duty, break with the Rebels and make war upon them till they return to their Allegiance. So universal Nature was arm'd against rebellious Man, and had destroyed him with∣out the merciful interposition of God.

The Angels with flaming Swords expell'd him from Paradise. The Beasts who were all innocent, whilst Man remained innocent, they espouse Gods interest, and are ready to revenge the quarrel of their Creator. The insensible Creation which at first was altogether beneficial to Man, is become hurt∣ful. The Heavens somtimes are hardened as Brass, in a long & obstinate serenity: Sometimes are dissolved in a Deluge of rain: The earth is barren, and un∣faithful to the Sower,*it brings forth Thorns and Thistles instead of Bread. In short, Man is an ene∣my to Man. When there were but two Brothers to divide the World▪ the one stain'd his hand in the Blood of the other▪ And since the Progeny of Adam is increast into vast Societies,* all the disasters of the world, as Famine, Pestilence, Deluges, the Page  36 fury of Beasts have not been so destructive of Man∣kind, as the sole malignity of Man against those that partake of the humane Nature.

To conclude, Who can make a list of the evils to which the Body is liable, by the disagreeing Ele∣ments that compose it? The fatal Seeds of Cor∣ruption are bred in it self. 'Tis a prey to all Diseases from the torturing Stone to the dying Con∣sumption. It feels the strokes of Death a thousand times before it can die once. At last, Life is swallowed up of Death. And if Death were a de∣liverance from miseries it would lessen its terror, but 'tis the consummation of all. The first Death trans∣mits to the second. As the Body dies by the Souls forsaking it, so the Soul by separation from God its true Life, dies to its Well-being and Happiness for ever.