“As to the nature and fitness of things, we cannot draw any conclusion thence against the loveliness of vindictive justice, as a Divine attribute, unless the thing itself can be proved to be unlovely. But this is contrary to the common sense and practice of mankind.
There is no nation or people under heaven but what consider it, in various cases, as both necessary and lovely. It is true they would despise and abhor a magistrate who should punish beyond desert, or who should avail himself of the laws of his country to gratify his own caprice, or his private revenge. This, however, is not vindictive justice, but manifest injustice. No considerate citizen, who values the public weal, could blame a magistrate for putting the penal laws of his country so far in execution as should be necessary for the true honour of good government, the support of good order, and the terror of wicked men.
When the inhabitants of Gibeah requested that the Levite might be brought out to them, that they might know him, and, on their request not being granted, abused and murdered his companion, all Israel, as one man, not only condemned the action, but called upon the Benjamites to deliver up the criminals to justice. Had the Benjamites complied with their request, and had those sons of Belial been put to death, not for their own good, but for the good of the community, where had been the unloveliness of the procedure? On the contrary, such a conduct must have recommended itself to the heart of every friend of righteousness in the universe, as well as have prevented the shocking effusion of blood which followed their refusal.
Now if vindictive justice may be glorious in a human government, there is no reason to be drawn from the nature and fitness of things why it would not be the same in the Divine administration.”
Excerpt From “The Calvinistic and Socinian Systems Examined and Compared”, 1802
Fuller, Andrew, The Works of Andrew Fuller. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 2007.