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  • SANCTIONS OF MORAL LAW, NATURAL AND GOVERNMENTAL - A,
    CHARLES FINNEY SYS. THEOLOGY

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    In the discussion of this subject, I shall show:

    What constitutes the sanctions of law.

    1. The sanctions of law are the motives to obedience, the natural and the governmental consequences or results of obedience and of disobedience.

    2. They are remuneratory, that is, they promise reward to obedience.

    3. They are vindicatory, that is, they threaten the disobedient with punishment.

    4. They are natural, that is, happiness is to some extent naturally connected with, and the necessary consequence of, obedience to moral law, and misery is naturally and necessarily connected with, and results from, disobedience to moral law, or from acting contrary to the nature and relations of moral beings.

    5. Sanctions are governmental. By governmental sanctions are intended:

    (1.) The favor of the government as due to obedience.

    (2.) A positive reward bestowed upon the obedient by government.

    (3.) The displeasure of government towards the disobedient.

    (4.) Direct punishment inflicted by the government as due to disobedience.

    All happiness and misery resulting from obedience or disobedience, either natural, or from the favor, or frown of government, are to be regarded as constituting the sanctions of law.

    In what light sanctions are to be regarded.

    1. Sanctions are to be regarded as an expression of the benevolent regard of the lawgiver for his subjects: the motives which he exhibits to induce in the subjects the course of conduct that will secure their highest well-being.

    2. They are to be regarded as an expression of his estimation of the justice, necessity, and value of the precept to the subjects of his government.

    3. They are to be regarded as an expression of the amount or strength of his desire to secure the happiness of his subjects.

    4. They are to be regarded as an expression of his opinion in respect to the desert of disobedience.

    The natural sanctions are to be regarded as a demonstration of the justice, necessity and perfection of the precept.

    By what rule sanctions ought to be graduated.

    1. We have seen that moral obligation is founded in the intrinsic value of the well-being of God and of the universe, and conditionated upon the perception of its value; and,

    2. That guilt is always to be measured by the perceived value of the end which moral beings ought to choose.

    3. The sanctions of law should be graduated by the intrinsic merit and demerit of holiness and sin.

    God's law has sanctions.

    1. That sin, or disobedience to the moral law, is attended with, and results in, misery, is a matter of consciousness.

    2. That virtue or holiness is attended with, and results in happiness, is also attested by consciousness.

    3. Therefore that God's law has natural sanctions, both remuneratory and vindicatory, is a matter of fact.

    4. That there are governmental sanctions added to the natural, must be true, or God, in fact, has no government but that of natural consequences.

    5. The Bible expressly, and in every variety of form, teaches that God will reward the righteous and punish the wicked.

    The perfection and duration of the remuneratory sanctions of the law of God.

    1. The perfection of the natural reward is, and must be, proportioned to the perfection of virtue.

    2. The duration of the remuneratory sanction must be equal to the duration of obedience. This cannot possibly be otherwise.

    3. If the existence and virtue of men are immortal, his happiness must be endless.

    4. The Bible most unequivocally asserts the immortality both of the existence and virtue of the righteous, and also that their happiness shall be endless.

    5. The very design and end of government make it necessary that governmental reward should be as perfect and unending as virtue.

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