By Richard Watson
FALL OF MAN-DOCTRINE OF ORIGINAL SIN.
THE Scriptural character of God having been adduced from the inspired writings, we now proceed, in pursuance of our plan, to con. eider their testimony as to MAN, both in the estate in which he was first created, and in that lapsed condition into which the first act of disobedience plunged the first pair and their whole posterity.
Beside that natural government of God, which is exercised over material things, over mere animals, and over rational beings, considered merely as parts of the great visible creation, which must be conserved and regulated so as to preserve its order and accomplish its natural purposes; there is evidence of the existence of an administration of another kind. This we call moral government, because it has respect to the actions of rational creatures, considered as good and evil, which qualities are necessarily determined, at least to us, by a law, and that law the will of GOD. Whether things are good or evil by a sort of eternal fitness or unfitness in themselves, and not made so by the will of God, is a question which has been agitated from the days of the schoolmen. Like many other similar questions, however, this is a profitless one; for as we cannot comprehend the eternal reason and fitness of things on the whole, we could have no certain means of determining the moral qualities of things, without a declaration of the will of GOD, who alone knows them both absolutely and relatively, possibly and really, to perfection. As for the distinctions that some things are good or evil antecedently to the will of God; some consequently upon it, and some both one and the other; it may be observed that, if by the will of God we are to understand one of his attributes, nothing can be antecedent to his will; and if we understand it to mean the declared will of God, in the form of command or law, then nothing can be rewardable or punishable antecedent to the will of God, which only in that form becomes the rule of the conduct of his creatures; and is, in all the instances with which we are acquainted, revealed, under the sanction of rewards or punishments.
"But is the will of God the cause of his law? Is his will the original of right and wrong? Is a thing therefore right because GOD wills it? or does he will it because it is right? I fear this celebrated question is more curious than useful; and perhaps, in the manner in which it is usually treated of, it does not well consist with the regard that is due from a creature to the Creator and Governor of all things. Nevertheless, with awe and reverence we may speak a little.
"It seems then that the whole difficulty arises from considering God's will as distinct from God. Otherwise it vanishes away: for none can doubt but God is the cause of the law of God. But the will of God is God himself. It is God considered as willing thus and thus; consequently to say that the will of God, or that God himself is the cause of law, is one and the same thing.
"Again: if the law, the immutable rule of right and wrong, depends on the nature and fitness of things, and on their essential relations to each other: (I do not say their eternal relations, because the eternal relations of things existing in time is little less than a contradiction:) if I say this depends on the nature and relations of things, then it must depend on God, or the will of God; because those things themselves, with all their relations, are the work of his hands. By his will, for his pleasure alone, they are and were created. And yet it may be granted, which is, probably, all that a considerate person would contend for, that in every particular case God wills thus or thus, (suppose that men should honour their parents,) because it is right, agreeable to the fitness of things, to the relation in which they stand." (Wesley.)
All the moral und accountable creatures with which the Scriptures make us acquainted are ANGELS, DEVILS, and MEN. The first are inhabitants of heaven, and dwell in the immediate presence of God, though often employed on services to the children of men in this world. The second are represented as being in darkness and punishment as their general and collective condition, but still having access to this world by permission of God, for purposes of temptation and mischief, and as waiting for a final judgment and a heavier doom. Whether any other rational beings exist, not included in any of the above classes, dwelling in the planets and other celestial bodies, and regions of space, visible or invisible to us, and collectively forming an immensely extended and immeasurable creation, cannot be certainly determined; and all that can be said is, that the opinion is favoured by certain natural analogies between the planet we inhabit and other planetary bodies, and between our sun and planetary system and the fixed stars, which are deemed to be solar centres of other planetary systems. But were this established, there is nothing in the fact, as some have supposed, to interfere with any view which the Scriptures give us of the moral government of God, as to this world. (See vol. i, p. 206.) Were our race alone in the universe, we should not be greater than we are; if, on the contrary, we are associated with countless myriads of fellow rationals in different and distinct residences, we are not thereby mummified. If they are under moral governments so are we; if they are not, which no one can prove, the evidences that we are accountable creatures remain the same. If they have never fallen, the fact of our redemption cannot be affected by that; and if they need a Saviour, we may well leave the method of providing for their case or the reasons of their prescription to the wisdom of God; it is a fact which we have not before us, and on which we cannot reason. No sinister use at all can be made of the mere probability of the plurality of rational worlds, except to persuade us that we are so little and insignificant as to make it a vain presumption to suppose that we are the objects of Divine love. But nothing can be even more unphilosophical than the suggestion, since it supposes that, in proportion as the common Father multiplies his offspring, he must love each individual less, or be more inattentive to his interests; and because it estimates the importance of man by the existence of beings to which he has no relation, rather than by his relation to God, and, his own capacity of improvement, pleasure, pain, and immortality. According to this absurd dream of infidelity, every individual in the British empire would annually lose his weight and worth in the sight of his Maker as a moral and intellectual being, because there is a great annual increase of its population.
The LAW under which all moral agents are placed, there is reason to believe, is substantially, and in its great principles, the same, and is included in this epitome, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbour as thyself." For though this is spoken to men, yet, as it is founded, in both its parts, upon the natural relation of every intelligent creature to God and to all other intelligent creatures, it may be presumed to be universal. Every creature owes obedience to God its Maker, benevolent Creator could only seek, in the first instance, the obedience of love. Every creature must, from a revealed character of the Creator, be concluded to have been made not only to show forth his glory, but itself to enjoy happiness. Now the love of God is that affection which unites a created intelligent nature to God, the source of true happiness, and prevents, in all cases, obedience from being felt as a burden, or regarded under the cold convictions of mere duty. If, therefore, a cheerful obedience from the creature be required as that which would constantly promote by action the felicity of the agent, this law of love is to be considered as the law of all moral beings, whether pf angels or of men. Its comprehensiveness is another presumption of its universality; for, unquestionably, it is a maxim of universal import, that "love is the fulfilling of the law," since he who loves must choose to be obedient to every command issued by the sovereign, or the Father beloved; and when this love is Supreme and uniform, the obedience must be absolute and unceasing. The second command is also "like unto it" in these respects-it founds itself on the natural relations of God, and it comprehends every possible relative duty. All intelligent creatures were intended to live in society. We read of no solitary rational being placed in any part of the creation. Angels are many, and, from all the representations of Scripture, may be considered as forming one or more collective bodies. When man was created it was decided that it was not good for him to be alone, and when "a help meet for him" was provided, they were commanded to be fruitful and multiply, that the number might be increased and the earth "replenished." The very precepts which oblige us to love one another are presumptive that it was the will of God, not merely that his rational creatures should live in society and do no injury to each other, but that they should be kindly affectionate one toward another ;" a principle from which all acts of relative duty would spontaneously flow, and which would guard against all hostility, envy, and injury. Thus, by these two great first principles of the Divine law, the rational creatures of God would be united to him as their common Lord and Father, and to each other as fellow subjects and brethren. This view is farther supported by the intimations which, the scriptures afford us of the moral state of the only other intelligent class of beings beside man with which we are acquainted. Angels are constantly exhibited as loving God, jealous of his glory, and cheerfully active in the execution of his will; as benevolent toward each other, and as tenderly affected toward men. Devils, on the contrary, who are "the angels that sinned," are represented as filled with hatred and malice both toward God and every holy creature.
Indeed, if rational beings are under a law at all, it cannot be conceived that less than this could be required by time good and holy being, their Creator. They are bound to render all love, honour, and obedience to him by a natural and absolute obligation; and, as it has been demonstrated in the experience of man, any thing less would be not only contrary to the Creator's glory, but fatal to the creature's happiness.
From these views it follows, that all particular precepts, whether they relate to God or to other rational creatures, arise out of one or other of those two "great" and comprehending "commandments;" and that every particular law supposes the general one. For as in the decalogue and in the writings of the prophets are many particular precepts, though in neither' are these two great commandments expressly recorded, and yet our Saviour has told us that "on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets;" and the Apostle Paul, that the precepts, "Thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not covet, and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself;" we are warranted to conclude that all moral, particular precepts presuppose those two general ones, wherever they are found, and to whomsoever they are given.
We may apply this consideration to our first parents in, their primitive state. When the law of Moses was given, engraven on tables of stone by the finger of God, LAW was not first introduced into the world. Men were accounted righteous or wicked between the giving of the law and the flood, and before the flood, and were dealt with accordingly. Noah was "a righteous man," and the " violence and wickedness" of the antediluvian earth were the causes of its destruction by water. "Enoch walked with God;" Abel was" righteous," and Cain "wicked." Now as the moral quality of actions is determined by law, and the moral law is a revelation of the will of God; and as every punitive act on his part, and every bestowment of rewards and favours expressly on account of righteousness, suppose a regal administration; men were under a law up to the time of the fall, which law, in all its particular precepts, did, according to the reasoning of our Lord and St. Paul, given above, presuppose the two great commandments. 'That our first parents were under a law, is evident from the history of the transactions in the garden; but, though but one particular command, in the form of a prohibition, was given, we are not to conclude that this was the compass of their requirements, and time sole measure of their obedience. It was a particular command, which, like those in the decalogue, and in the writings of the prophets, presupposed a general law, of which this was but one manifestation. Thus are we conducted to a more ancient date of the Divine law than the solemnities of Sinai, or even the creation of man, a law coeval in its declaration with the date of rational created existence, and in its principles with God himself.- "The law of God, speaking of the manner of men, is a copy of the eternal mind, a transcript of the Divine nature; yea, it is the fairest offspring of the everlasting Father, the brightest efflux of his essential wisdom, the visible beauty of the Most High; the original idea of truth and good which were lodged in the uncreated mind from eternity." (Wesley.) It is" holy, just, and good."
Under this condition of rational existence must Adam, therefore, and every other moral agent have come into being, a condition, of course, to which he could not be a party, to which he had no right to be a party, had it been possible, but which was laid upon him; he was made under law, as all his descendants are born under law.
But that we may more exactly understand man's primitive state, considered morally, and the nature, extent, and consequences of his fall, it is necessary to consider briefly the history of his creation.
The manner in which this is narrated indicates something peculiar and eminent in the being to be formed. In the heavenly bodies around the earth, and among all the various productions of its surface, vegetable and animal, however perfect in their kinds, and complete, beautiful, and excellent in their respective natures, not one being was found to whom the rest could minister instruction, whom they could call forth into meditation, inspire with moral delight, or lead up to the Creator himself. There was, properly speaking, no intellectual being; none to whom the whole, or even any great number of the parts, of the frame and furniture of material nature could minister knowledge; no one who could employ upon them the generalizing faculty, and make them the basis of inductive knowledge. If, then, it was not wholly for himself that the world was created by God; and angels, if they, as it is indicated in Scripture, had a prior existence, were not so immediately connected with this system, that it can be supposed to have been made immediately for them; a rational inhabitant was obviously still wanting to complete the work, and to constitute a perfect whole. The formation of such a being was marked. therefore, by a manner of proceeding which serves to impress us with a sense of the greatness of the work. Not that it could be a matter of more difficulty to Omnipotence to create man than any thing beside; but principally, it is probable, because he was to be the lord of the whole, and to be, therefore, himself accountable to the original proprietor, and to exhibit the existence of another species of government, a moral administration; and to be the only creature constituted an image of' the intellectual and moral perfections, and of the immortality of the common Maker. Every thing, therefore, as to man's creation is given in a solemn and deliberative form, together with an intimation of a trinity of persons in the Godhead, all Divine, because all equally possessed of creative power, and to each of whom man was to stand in relations so sacred and intimate. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion," &c. In what, then, did this "image" and "likeness" consist?
That human nature has two essential, constituent parts is manifest from the history of Moses ;-the BODY, formed out of' pre-existent matter, the earth; and a LIVING SOUL, breathed into the body, by an inspiration from God. "And the Lord God formed man out of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils (or face) the breath of life,'(LIVES,) and the man became a living soul." Whatever was thus imparted to time body of man, already "formed," and perfectly fashioned in all its parts, was the only cause' of life; and the whole tenor of Scripture shows that that was the rational spirit itself, which, by a law of its Creator, was incapable of death, even after the body had fallen under that penalty.
The "image" or likeness of God in which man was made, has, by some, been assigned to the body; by others, to the soul; others, again, have found it in the circumstance of his having "dominion" over the other creatures. As to the body, it is not necessary to take up any large space to prove, that in no sense can that bear time image of God, that is, be "like" God. Descant ever so much or ever so poetically upon man's upright and noble form, an upright form has no more likeness to God than a prone or reptile one; God is incorporeal, and has no bodily shape to be the antitype of any thing material.
This also is fatal to the notion that time image of God in man consisted in the "dominion" which was granted to him over this lower world. Limited dominion may, it is true, be an image of large and absolute dominion, but man is not said to have been made in the image of God's dominion, which is an accident merely, for, before any creatures existed, God himself could have no dominion; but in the image and likeness of God himself,-of something which constitutes his nature. Still farther, man, according to the history, was evidently made in the image of God, in order to his having dominion, as the Hebrew particle imports. He who was to have dominion, must, necessarily, be made before be could be invested with it, and, therefore, dominion was consequent to his existing in the "image" and "likeness" of God; and could not be that image itself.
The attempts which have been made to fix upon some ONE essential quality in which to place that "image" of God in which man created, is not only uncalled for by any Scriptural reason, but is even contradicted by various parts of Scripture, from which, alone, we can derive our information on this subject. It is in vain to say that this "image" must be something essential to human. nature, something only which cannot be lost. We shall, it is true, find that the revelation places it in what is essential to human nature ; but that it should comprehend nothing else, or one quality only, has no proof or reason; and we are, in fact, taught that it comprises also what 'is not essential to human nature, and what may be lost and be regained. As to both, the evidence of Scripture is explicit. When God is called "the Father of spirits," a likeness is certainly intimated between man and God in the spirituality of their nature. This is also implied in the striking argument of St. Paul with the Athenians. "Forasmuch, then, as we are the OFFSPRING of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art, and man's device," plainly referring to the idolatrous statues by which God was represented among heathens. If likeness to God in man consisted in bodily shape, this would not have been an argument against human representations of the Deity, but it imports, as Howe well expresses it, that "we are to understand that our resemblance to him, as we are his offspring, lies in some higher, more noble, and more excellent thing, of which there can be no figure, as who can tell how to give the figure or image of a thought, or of the mind or thinking power?" In spirituality, and, consequently, immateriality, this image of God in man, then, in the first existence, consists Nor is it any valid objection to say that " immateriality is not peculiar to the soul of man, for we have reason to believe that the inferior animals of the earth are actuated by an immaterial principle." (Gleig's Stackhouse.) This is as certain as analogy can make it: but if we allow a spiritual principle to animals, its kind is obviously inferior; for the spirit which is incapable of continuous induction and moral knowledge must be of an inferior order to the spirit which possesses these capabilities; and this is the kind of spirituality which is peculiar to man.
The sentiment expressed in Wisdom ii, 23, is evidence that, in time opinion of the ancient Jews, the image of God in man comprised immortality also. "For God created man to be immortal, and made him to be an image of his own eternity;" and though other creatures, and even the body of man were made capable of immortality, and at least the material human frame, whatever we may think of the case of animals, would have escaped death, had not sin entered the world, yet, without running into the absurdity of the "natural immortality" of the human soul, that essence must have been constituted immortal in a high and peculiar sense, which has ever retained its prerogative of eternal duration amidst the universal death, not only of animals, but of the bodies of all human beings. To me there appears a manifest allusion to man's immortality, as being included in the image of God, in the reason which is given in Genesis for the law which inflicts death on murderers. "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he 1 man." The essence of the crime of homicide cannot be in the putting to death the mere animal part of man; and must, therefore, lie in the peculiar value of life to an immortal being, accountable in another state for the actions done in this, and whose life ought to be specially guarded, for this very reason, that death introduces him into changeless and eternal relations, which were not to lie at the sport or mercy of human passions.
To these we are to add the intellectual powers, and we have what divines have called, in perfect accordance with the Scriptures, the natural image of God in his creature, which is essential and ineffaceable., He was made capable of knowledge, and he was endowed with liberty of will.
This natural image of God in which man was created, was the foundation of that MORAL IMAGE by which also he was distinguished. Unless lie had been a spiritual, knowing, and willing being, lie would have been wholly incapable of moral qualities. That he had such qualities eminently, and that in them consisted the image of God, as well as in the natural attributes just stated, we have also the express testimony of Scripture. "Lo this only have I found, that God made man UPRIGHT, but they have sought out many inventions." The objections taken to this proof are thus satisfactorily answered by President Edwards :- "It is an observation of no weight which Dr. Taylor makes on this text, that time word man is commonly used to signify mankind in general, or mankind collectively taken. It is true, it often signifies the species of mankind; but then it is used to signify time species, with regard to its duration and succession from its beginning, as well as with regard to its extent. The English word mankind is used to signify the species: but what then? Would it be an improper way of speaking, to say, that when God first made mankind, he placed them in a pleasant paradise, (meaning in their first parents,) but now they live in the midst of briers and thorns? And it is certain, that to speak thus of God making mankind,-his giving the species an existence in their first parents, at the creation,-is agreeable to the Scripture use of such an expression. As in Deut. iv, 32, 'Since the day that God CREATED MAN upon the earth.' Job xx, 4, 'Knowest thou not this of old, since MAN was placed upon the earth.' Isaiah xlv, 12, 'I have made the earth, and CREATED MAN upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens.' Jer. xxvii, 5, 'I HAVE MADE the earth, the MAN and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power.' All these texts speak of God making man, signifying the species of mankind; and yet they all plainly have respect to God making man at first, when he 'made the earth,' 'and stretched out the heavens.' In all these places the same word, Adam, is used as in Ecclesiastes; and in the last of these, used with (HE emphaticum) the emphatic sign, as here; though Dr.T. omits it when he tells us he gives us a catalogue of all the places in Scripture where the word is used. And it argues nothing to the doctor's purpose, that the pronoun they is used,- 'THEY have sought out many inventions.' This is properly applied to the species, which God made at first upright; the species begun with more than one, and continued in a multitude. As Christ speaks of the two sexes, in the relation of man and wife, continued in successive generations: Matt. xix, 4, 'He that MADE THEM at the beginning, made them male and female,' having reference to Adam and Eve.
"No less impertinent, and also very unfair, is his criticism on the word (rcy) translated upright. Because the word sometimes signifies right, he would from thence infer, that it does not properly signify moral rectitude, even when used to express the character of moral agents. He might as well insist, that the English word upright, sometimes, and in its most original meaning, signifies right-up, or in an erect posture, therefore it does not properly signify any moral character, when applied to moral agents. And indeed less unreasonably; for it is known that in the, Hebrew language, in a peculiar manner, most words used to signify moral and spiritual things, are taken from external and natural objects. The word (rcy) Jashur is used, as applied to moral agents, or to the words and actions of such, (if I have not misreckoned,) about a hundred and ten times in Scripture; and in about a hundred of them, without all dispute, to signify virtue, or moral rectitude, (though Dr. T. is pleased to say, the word does not generally signify a moral character,) and for the most part it signifies true virtue, or virtue in such a sense as distinguished it from all false appearances of virtue, or what is only virtue in some respects, but not truly so in the sight of God. It is used at least eighty times in this sense: and scarce any word can be found in the Hebrew language more significant of this. It is thus used constantly in Solomon's writings, (where it is often found,) when used to express a character or property of moral agents. And it is beyond all controversy that h uses it in this place, (the seventh of Eccles.) to signify moral rectitude, or a character of real virtue and integrity. For the wise man is speaking f persons with respect to their moral character, inquiring into the corruption and depravity of mankind, (as is confessed by Dr. T.) and here declares, he had not found one among a thousand of the right stamp, truly and thoroughly virtuous and upright; which appeared a strange thing! But in this 'text he clears God, and lays the blame on man: man was not made thus at first. lie was made of the right stamp, altogether good in his kind, (as all other things were,) truly and thoroughly virtuous, as he ought to be; 'but they have sought out many inventions.' Which last expression signifies things sinful, or morally evil; (as is confessed p. 185.) And this expression, used to signify those moral evils he found in man, which he sets in opposition to the upright ness man was made in, shows, that by uprightness he means the most, true and sincere goodness. The word rendered inventions, most naturally and aptly signifies the subtle devices, and crooked deceitful hypocrites, wherein they are of a character contrary to men of' simplicity and godly sincerity; who, though wise in that which is good are simple concerning evil. Thus the same wise man, in Prov. xii,'6' sets a truly good man in opposition to a man of wicked devices, whom "God will condemn. Solomon had occasion to observe many who put on an artful disguise and fair show of goodness; but on searching thoroughly, be found very few truly upright. As he says, Prov. xx, 6, 'Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man, who can find?' so that it is exceeding plain, that by uprightness, in this place, Eccles. vii, Solomon means true moral goodness." (Original Sin.)
There is also an express allusion to the moral image of God, in which man was at first created, in Col. iii, 10, "And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him;" and, in Eph. iv, 24, "Put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." In these passages the apostle represents the change produced in true Christians by the Gospel, as a "renewal" of the image of God in man; as a new or second creation in that image; and he explicitly declares, that that image consists in "knowledge," in "righteousness," and in "true holiness." The import of these terms shall be just now considered; but it is here sufficient that they contain the doctrine of a creation of man in the image of the moral perfections of his Maker.
This also may be finally argued from the satisfaction with which the historian of the creation represents the Creator as viewing the works of his hands as "very good." This is pronounced with reference to each individually, as well as to the whole. "And God saw every thing that he had made, and behold it was very good." But, as to man, this good ness must necessarily imply moral as well as physical qualities, Without them he would have been imperfect as man; and had they existed in him, in their first exercises, perverted and sinful, he must have been an exception, and could not have been pronounced "very good." The goodness of man, as a rational being, must lie in a devotedness and consecration to God; consequently, man was at first devoted to God, otherwise he was not good. A rational creature, as such, is capable of knowing, loving, serving, and living in communion with the Most Holy One, Adam, at first, did, or did not use this capacity; if he did not, he was not very good, nor good at all.
As to the degree of moral perfection in the first man, much scope has been given, in describing it, to a warm imagination, and to much rhetorical embellishment; and Adam's perfection has sometimes been placed at an elevation which renders it exceedingly difficult to conceive how he should fall into sin at all; and especially how he should fall SO soon as seems to be represented in the narrative of Moses. On the other hand, those who either deny or hold very slightly the doctrine of our hereditary depravity delight to represent Adam as little, if at all, superior in moral perfection and capability to his descendants. But, if we attend to the passages of Holy Writ above quoted, we shall be able, on this subject, to ascertain, if not the exact degree of his moral endowments, yet that there is a certain standard below which he could not be placed, in the perfection of his moral endowments. Generally, he was made in the image of God which we have already proved is to be understood morally as well as naturally. Now, however the image of any thing may be reduced in it must still be an accurrate representation as far as it goes. Every thing good in the creation must always be a miniature representation of the excellence of the Creator; but, in this case, the "goodness," that is, the perfection of every creature, according to the part it was designed to act in the general assemblage of beings collected into our system, wholly forbids us to suppose that the image of God's moral perfections in man was a blurred and dim representation. To whatever extent it went, it necessarily excluded all that from man which did not resemble God; it was a likeness to God in "righteousness and true holiness," whatever the degree of each might be, which excluded all admixture of unrighteousness and unholiness. The first part of our conclusion, therefore, is, that man, in his original state, was sinless, both in act and in principle. "God made man UPRIGHT." That this signifies moral rectitude has been already established; but the import of the word is very extensive. It expresses, by an easy figure, the exactness of truth, justice, and obedience; and it comprehends the state and habit both of the heart and the life. Such, then, was the state of primitive man; there was no obliquity of his moral principles, his mind and affections; none in his conduct. He was perfectly sincere and exactly just, rendering from the heart all that was due to God and to the creature. Tried by the exactest plummet, he was upright; by the most perfect rule, he was straight.
The "knowledge" in which the Apostle Paul, in the passage quoted above from Colos. iii, 10, places "the image of God" after which man was created, does not merely imply the faculty of the understanding, which is a part of the natural image of God; but that which might be lost, because it is that in which the new man is "renewed." It is, there note, to be understood of the faculty of knowledge in the right exercise of its original power; and of that willing reception, and firm retaining, and hearty approval of religious truth, in which knowledge, when spoken of morally, is always understood in the Scriptures. We may not be disposed to allow, with some, that he understood the deep philosophy of nature, and could comprehend and explain the sublime mysteries of religion. The circumstance of his giving names to the animals is certainly no sufficient proof of his having attained to a philosophical acquaintance with their qualities and distinguishing habits, though we should allow the names to be still retained in the Hebrew, and to be as expressive of their peculiarities as some expositors have stated. No sufficient time appears to have been afforded him for the study of their properties, as this event took place previous to the formation of Eve; and as for the notion of his acquiring knowledge by intuition, it is contradicted by the revealed fact, that angels themselves acquire their knowledge by observation and study, though, no doubt, with greater rapidity and certainty than we. The whole of the transaction was supernatural; the beasts were "brought" to Adam, and it is probable that he named them under a Divine impulse. He has been supposed to be the inventor of language, but the history shows that he was never without language. He was from the first able to converse with God; and we may, therefore, infer that language was in him a supernatural and miraculous endowment. That his understanding was, as to its capacity, deep and large beyond any of his posterity, must follow from the perfection in which he was created, and his acquisitions of knowledge would, therefore, be rapid and easy. It was, however, in moral and religious truth, as being of the first concern to him, that we are to suppose the excellency of his knowledge to have consisted. "His reason would be clear, his judgment uncorrupted, and his conscience upright and sensible." (Watts.) 'The best knowledge would, in him, be placed first, and that of every other kind be made subservient to it, according to its relation to that. The apostle adds to knowledge, "righteousness and true holiness," terms which express not merely freedom from sin, but positive and active virtues.
"A rational creature thus made, must not only be innocent and free, but must be formed holy. His will must have an inward bias to virtue: he must have an inclination to please that God who made him; a supreme love to his Creator, a zeal to serve him, and a tender fear of offending him.
"For either the new created man loved God supremely not. If he did not he was not innocent, since the law of nature requires a supreme love to God. If he did he stood ready for every act of obedience: and this is true holiness of heart. And, indeed, without this, how could a God of holiness love the work of his own hands?
"There must be also in this creature a regular subjection of the inferior powers to the superior sense, and appetite and passion must be subject to reason. The mind must have a power to govern these lower faculties, that he might not offend against the law of his creation.
"He must also have his heart inlaid with love to the creatures, especially those of his own species, if he should be placed among them: and with a principle of honesty and truth in dealing with them. And if many of those creatures were made at once, there would be no pride, malice, or envy, no falsehood, no brawls or contentions among them, but all harmony and love." (Dr. Watts.)
Sober as these views are of man's primitive state, it is not, perhaps, Possible for us fully to conceive of so exalted a condition as even this. Below this standard it could not fall; and that it implied a glory, and dignity, and moral greatness of a very exalted kind, is made sufficiently apparent from the degree of guilt charged upon Adam when he fell, for the aggravating circumstances of his offence may well be deduced front the tremendous consequences which followed.
The creation of man in the moral image of God being so clearly stated in the Scriptures, it would be difficult to conceive in what manner their testimony, in this point, could be evaded, did we not know the readiness with which some minds form objections, and how little ingenuity is required to make objections plausible. The objection to this clearly revealed truth is thus stated by Dr. Taylor, of Norwich, and it has been followed in substance, and with only some variation of phrase, by the Socinians of the present day. "Adam could not be originally created in righteousness and true holiness; because habits of holiness cannot be created without our knowledge, concurrence, or consent; for holiness in its nature implies the choice and consent of a moral agent, without which it cannot be holiness." If, however, it has been established that God made man upright; that he was created in "knowledge," "righteousness," and "true holiness;" and that at his creation he was pronounced very good; all this fulls to the ground, and is the vain reasoning of man against the explicit testimony of God. The fallacy is, however, easily detected. It lies in confounding "habits of holiness" with the principle of holiness. Now though habit is the result of acts, and acts of voluntary choice; yet if the choice be a right one, and right it must be in order to an act of holiness, and if this right choice, frequently exerted, produces so many acts as shall form what is called a habit, then either the principle from which that right choice arises must be good or bad, or neither. If neither, a right choice has no cause at all; if bad, a right choice could not originate from it; if good, then there may be a holy principle in man, a right nature before choice, and so that part of the argument falls to the ground. Now, in Adam, that rectitude of principle from which a right choice and right acts flowed, was either created with him or formed by his own volitions. If the latter be affirmed, then he must have willed right before he had a principle of rectitude, which is absurd; if the former, then his creation in a state of moral rectitude, with an aptitude and disposition to good is established.
Mr. Wesley thus answers the objection :-" What is holiness? Is it not essentially love? The love of God and of all mankind? Love producing 'bowels of mercies,' humbleness of mind, meekness, gentleness, long suffering? And cannot God shed abroad this love in any soul, without his concurrence? Antecedent to his knowledge or consent? And supposing this to be done, will love change its nature? Will it be no longer holiness? This argument can never be sustained; unless you would play with the word habits. Love is holiness wherever it exists. And God could create either men or angels, endued from the very first moment of their existence, with whatsoever degree of love he pleased.
"You 'think, on the contrary, it is demonstration, that we cannot be righteous or holy, we cannot observe what is right without our own free and explicit choice.' I suppose you mean practise what is right. But a man may be righteous before he does what is right, holy in heart before he is holy in life. The confounding these two all along, seems the ground of your strange imagination, that Adam 'must choose to be righteous, must exercise thought and reflection before he could be righteous.' Why so? 'Because righteousness is the right use and application of our powers.' Here is your capital mistake. No, it is not: it is the right state of our powers. It is the right disposition of our soul, the right temper of our mind. Take this with you, and you will no more dream, that 'God could not create man in righteousness and true holiness.'" (Original Sin.)
President Edwards's answer is :-
"I think it a contradiction to the nature of things as judged of by the common sense of mankind. It is agreeable to the sense of men, in all nations and ages, not only that the fruit or effect of a good choice is virtuous, but that the good choice itself, from whence that effect proceeds, is so; yea, also the antecedent food, disposition, temper, or affection of mind, from whence proceeds that good choice is virtuous. This is the general notion-not that principles derive their goodness from actions, but-that actions derive their goodness from the principles whence they proceed; so that the act of choosing what is good, is no farther virtuous than it proceeds from a good principle or virtuous disposition of mind. Which supposes that a virtuous disposition of mind may be before a virtuous act of choice; and that, therefore, it is not necessary there should first be thought, reflection, and choice, before there can be any virtuous disposition. If the choice be first, before the existence of a good disposition of heart, what is the character of that choice? There can, according to our natural notions, be no virtue in a choice which proceeds from no virtuous principle, but from mere self love, ambition, or some animal appetites; therefore, a virtuous temper of mind may be before a good act of choice, as a tree may be before the fruit, and the fountain before the stream which proceeds from it." (Original Sin.)
The final cause of man's creation was the display of the glory of God, and principally of his moral perfections. Among these, benevolence shone with eminent lustre. The creation of rational and holy creatures was the only means, as it appears to us, of accomplishing that most paternal and benevolent design, to impart to other beings a portion of the Divine felicity. The happiness of God is the result of his moral perfection, and it is complete and perfect. It is also specific; it is the felicity of knowledge, of conscious rectitude, of sufficiency, and independence. Of the two former, creatures were capable; but only rational creatures. Matter, however formed, is unconscious, and is, and must for ever remain, incapable of happiness. However disposed and adorned, it was made for another, and not at all with reference to itself. If it be curiously wrought, it is for some other's wonder; if it has use, it is for another's convenience; if it has beauty, it is for another's eye; if harmony, it is for another's ear. Irrational animate creatures may derive advantage from mere matter; but it does not appear that they are conscious of it. They have the enjoyment of sense, but not the powers of reflection, comparison, and taste. They see without admiration, they combine nothing into relations. So to know, as to be conscious of knowing, and to feel the pleasures of knowledge; so to know, as to impart knowledge to others; so to know, as to lay the basis of future and enlarging knowledge, as to discover the efficient and the final causes of things; and to enjoy the pleasures of discovery and certainty of imagination and taste,-this is peculiar to rational beings. Above all, to know the great Creator and Lord of all; to see the distinctions of right and wrong, of good and evil in his law; to have, therefore, the consciousness of integrity and of well ordered and perfectly balanced passions; to feel the felicity of universal and unbounded benevolence; to be conscious of the favour of God himself; to have perfect confidence in his care and constant benediction; to adore him; to be grateful; to exert hope without limit on future and unceasing blessings; all these sources of felicity were added to the pleasures of intellect and imagination in the creation of rational beings. In whatever part of the universe they were created and placed, we have sufficient reason to believe that this was the primitive condition of all; and we know, assuredly, from God's own revelation, that it was the condition of man. In his creation and primeval condition, the "kindness and love of God" eminently appeared. He was made a rational and immortal spirit, with no limits to the constant enlargement of his powers; for, from all the evidence that our own consciousness, even in our fallen state, affords us, it appears possible to the human soul to be eternally approaching the infinite in intellectual strength and attainment. He was made holy and happy; he was admitted to intercourse with GOD. He was not left alone, but had the pleasure of society. He was placed in a world of grandeur, harmony, beauty, and utility; it was canopied with other distant worlds to exhibit to his very sense a manifestation of the extent of space and the vastness of the varied universe; and to call both his reason, his fancy, and his devotion, into their most vigorous and salutary exercises. He was placed in a paradise, where, probably, all that was sublime and gentle in the scenery of the whole earth was exhibited in pattern; and all that could delight the innocent sense, and excite the curious inquiries of the mind, was spread before him. He had labour to employ his attention, without wearying him; and time for his highest pursuits of knowing God, his will, an& his works. All was a manifestation of universal love, of which he was the chief visible object; and the felicity and glory of his condition must, by his and their obedience in succession, have descended to his posterity for ever. Such was our world, and its rational inhabitants, the first pair; and thus did its creation manifest not only the power and wisdom, but the benevolence of Deity. He made them like himself, and he made them capable of a happiness like his own.
The case of man is now so obviously different, that the change cannot be denied The Scriptural method of accounting for this is the disobedience of our first parents, and the visitation of their sin upon their posterity, in the altered condition of the material world, in the corrupt moral state in which men are born, and in that afflictive condition which is universally imposed upon them. The testimony of the sacred writings to what is called, in theological language, THE FALL OF MAN, is, therefore, to be next considered.
The Mosaic account of this event is, that a garden having been planted by the Creator, for the use of man, he was placed in it, "to dress it, and to keep it;" that in this garden two trees were specially distinguished, one as "the tree of life," the other as "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil;" that, from eating of the latter Adam was restrained by positive interdict, and by the penalty, "in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die :" that the serpent, who was more subtle than any beast of the field, tempted the woman to eat, by denying that death would be the consequence, and by assuring her, that her eyes and her husband's eyes " would be opened," and that they would be as gods, knowing good and evil :" that the woman took of the fruit, gave of it to her husband, who also ate; that for this act of disobedience they were expelled from the garden, made subject to death, and laid under other maledictions.
That this history should be the subject of much criticism, not only by infidels, whose objections to it have been noticed in the first part of thin work; but by those who hold false and perverted views of the Christian system, was to be expected. Taken in its natural and obvious sense, along with the comments of the subsequent scriptures, it teaches the doctrines of the existence, of an evil, tempting, invisible spirit, going about seeking whom he may deceive and devour; of the introduction of a state of moral corruptness into human nature, which has been transmitted to all men; and of a vicarious atonement for sin: and wherever the fundamental truths of the Christian system are denied, attempts will be made so to interpret this part of the Mosaic history as to obscure the testimony which it gives to them, either explicitly, or by just induction. Interpreters of this account of the lapse of the first pair, and the origin of evil, as to the human race, have adopted various and often strange theories; but those whose opinions it seems necessary to notice may be divided into those who deny the literal sense of the relation entirely; those who take the account to be in part literal and in part allegorical; and those who, while they contend earnestly for the literal interpretation of every part of the history, consider some of the terms used, and some of the persons introduced, as conveying a meaning more extensive than the letter, and as constituting several symbols of spiritual things and of spiritual beings.
Those who have denied the literal sense entirely, and regard the whole relation as an instructive mythos, or fable, have, as might be expected, when all restraint of authority was thus thrown off from the imagination, adopted very different interpretations. Thus we have been taught, that this account was intended to teach the evil of yielding to the violence of appetite and to its control over reason; or the introduction of vice in conjunction with knowledge and the artificial refinements of society; or the necessity of keeping the great mass of mankind from acquiring too great a degree of knowledge, as being hurtful to society; or as another version of the story of the golden age, and its being succeeded by times more vicious and miserable; or as designed, enigmatically, to account for the origin of evil, or of mankind. This catalogue of opinions might be much enlarged: some of them have been held by mere visionaries; others by men of learning, especially by several of the semi-infidel theologians and Biblical critics of Germany; and our own country has not been exempt from this claws of free expositors. How to fix upon the moral of "the fable" is, however, the difficulty; and this variety of opinion is a sufficient refutation of the general notion assumed by the whole class, since scarcely can two of them be found who adopt the same interpretation, after they have discarded the literal acceptation.
But that the account of Moses is to be taken as a matter of real history, and according to its literal import, is established by two considerations, against which, as being facts, nothing can successfully be urged. The first is, that the account of the fall of the first pair is a part of a continuous history. The creation of the world, of man, of woman; the planting of the garden of Eden, and the placing of man there; the duties and prohibitions laid upon him; his disobedience; his expulsion from the garden; the subsequent birth of his children, their actions, and those of their posterity, down to the flood; and, from that event, to the life of Abraham, are given in the same plain and unadorned narrative, brief, but yet simple, and with no intimation at all, either from the elevation of the style or otherwise, that a fable or allegory is in any part introduced. If this, then, be the case, and the evidence of it lies upon very face of the history, it is clear, that if the account of the fall be excerpted from the whole narrative as allegorical, any subsequent part, from Abel to Noah, from Noah to Abraham, from Abraham to Moses, may be excerpted for the same reason, which is neither more nor less than this, that it does not agree with the theological opinions of the interpreter; and thus the whole of the Pentateuch may be rejected as a history, and converted into fable. One of these consequences must, therefore, follow, either that the account of the fall must be taken as history, or the historical character of the whole five books of Moses must be unsettled; and if none but infidels will go to the latter consequence, then no one who admits the Pentateuch to be a true history generally, can consistently refuse to admit the story of the fall of the first pair to be a narrative of real events, because it is written in the same style, and presents the same character of a continuous record of events. So conclusive has this argument been felt, that the anti-literal interpreters have endeavoured to evade it, by asserting that the part of the history of Moses in question bears marks of being a separate fragment, more ancient than the Pentateuch itself, and transcribed into it by Moses, the author and compiler of the whole. This point is examined and satisfactorily refuted in the learned and excellent work referred to below; but it is easy to show, that it would amount to nothing, if grafted, in the mind of any who is satisfied on the previous question of the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures. For let it be admitted that Moses, in writing the Pentateuchal history, availed himself of the traditions of the patriarchal ages, a supposition not in the least inconsistent with his inspiration or with the absolute truth of his history, since the traditions so introduced have been authenticated by the Holy Spirit; or let it be supposed, which is wholly gratuitous, that lie made use of previously existing documents; and that some differences of style in his books may be traced, which serve to point out his quotations, which also is an assumption, or rather a position, which some of the best Hebraists have denied, yet two things are to be noted : first, that the inspired character of the books of Moses is authenticated by our Lord and his apostles, so that they must necessarily be wholly true, and free from real contradictions; and, secondly, that to make it any thing to their purpose who contend that the account of the fall is an older document, introduced by Moses, it ought to be shown that it is not written as truly in the narrative style, even if it could be proved to be in some respects a different style, as that which precedes and follows it. Now the very literal character of our translation will enable even the unlearned reader to discover this. Whether it be an embodied tradition or the insertion of a more ancient document, (though there is no foundation at all for the latter supposition,) it is obviously a narrative, and a narrative as simple as any which precedes or follows it.
The other indisputable fact to which I just now adverted, as establishing the literal sense of the history, is that, as such, it is referred to and reasoned upon in various parts of Scripture.
Job xx, 4, 5, "Knowest thou not this of old, since m an was place upon earth, that the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment?" The first part of the quotation "might as well have been rendered, 'since ADAM was placed on the earth.' There is no reason to doubt but that this passage refers to the fall and the first sin of man. The date agrees, for the knowledge here taught is said to arise from facts as old as the first placing of man upon earth, and the sudden punishment of the iniquity corresponds to the Mosaic account,-' the triumphing of the wicked is short, his joy but for a moment.'" (Sherlock on Prophecy.) Job xxxi, 83, "If I covered my transgression as ADAM, by hiding my iniquity in my bosom." Magee renders the verse,- "Did I cover, like Adam, my transgression, By hiding in a lurking place mine iniquity" and adds, "I agree with Peters, that this contains a reference to the history of the first man, and his endeavours to hide himself after his transgression." (Discourses on the Atonement.) Our margin reads, after the manner of men;" and also the old versions; but the Chaldee paraphrase agrees with our translation, which is also satisfactorily defended by numerous critics.
Job xv, 14, "What is man, that he should be clean; and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?" Why not clean? Did God make woman or man unclean at the beginning? If he did, the expostulation would have been more apposite, and much stronger had the true cause been assigned, and Job had said, "How canst thou expect cleanness in man, whom thou createdst unclean ?" But, as the case now stands, the expostulation has a plain reference to the introduction of vanity and corruption by the sin of the woman, and is an evidence that this ancient writer was sensible of the evil consequences of the fall upon the whole race of man. "Eden" and "the garden of the Lord" are also frequently referred to in the prophets. We have the "tree of life" mentioned several times in the Proverbs and in the Revelation. "God," says Solomon, "made man upright." The enemies of Christ and his Church are spoken of, both in the Old and New Testaments, under the names of " the serpent," and "the dragon;" and the habit of the serpent to lick the dust is also referred to by Isaiah.
If the history of the fall, as recorded by Moses, were an allegory, or any thing but a literal history, several of the above allusions would have no meaning; but the matter is put beyond all possible doubt in the New Testament, unless the same culpable liberties be taken with the interpretation of the words of our Lord and of St. Paul as with those of the Jewish lawgiver. Our Lord says, Matt. xix, 4, 5, "Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning, made them male and female; and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh ?" This is an argument on the subject of divorces, and its foundation rests upon two of the facts recorded by Moses. 1. That God made at first but two human beings, from whom all the rest have sprung. 2. That the intimacy and indissolubility of the marriage relation rests upon the formation of the woman from the man; for our Lord quotes the words in Genesis, where the obligation of man to cleave to his wife is immediately connected with that circumstance. "And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man. THEREFORE shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh." This is sufficiently in proof that both our Lord and the Pharisees considered this early part of the history of Moses as a narrative; for, otherwise, it would neither have been a reason, on his part, for the doctrine which he was inculcating, nor have had any force of conviction as to them. "In Adam," says the Apostle Paul, "all die;" "by one man sin entered into the world." "But I fear lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." In the last passage, the instrument of the temptation is said to be a serpent, (ofi~,) which is a sufficient answer to those who would make it any other animal; and Eve is represented as being first seduced, according to the account in Genesis. This St. Paul repeats, in 1 Tim. ii, 13, 14, "Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, (first, or immediately,) but the woman being deceived was in the transgression." And offers this as the reason of his injunction, "Let the woman learn in silence, with all subjection." When, therefore, it is considered, that these passages are introduced, not for rhetorical illustration, or in the way of classical quotation, but are made the basis of grave and important reasonings, which embody some of the most important doctrines of the Christian revelation; and of important social duties and points of Christian order and decorum; it would be to charge the writers of the New Testament with the grossest absurdity, with even culpable and unworthy trifling, to suppose them to argue from the history of the fill, as a narrative, when they knew it to be an allegory; and if we are, therefore, compelled to allow that it was understood as a real history by our Lord and his inspired apostles, those speculations of modern critics, which convert it into a parable, stand branded with their true character of infidel and semi infidel temerity.
The objections which are made to the historical character of this ac. count are either those of open unbelievers and scoffers; or such as are founded precisely upon the same allegations of supposed absurdity and unsuitableness to which such persons resort, and which suppose that man is a competent judge of the proceedings of his Maker, and that the latter ought to regulate his conduct and requirements by what the former may think fit or unfit. If the literal interpretation of the first chapter in Genesis could be proved inconsistent with other parts of Holy Writ, then, indeed, we should be compelled to adopt the mode of explanation by allegory; but if no reason more weighty can be offered for so violent a proceeding, than that men either object to the doctrines which the literal account includes; or that the recorded account of the actual dealings of God with the first man, does not comport with their notions of what was fit in such circumstances, we should hold truth with little tenacity, were we to surrender it to the enemy upon such a summons. The fallacy of most of these objections is, however, easily pointed out. We are asked, first, whether it is reasonable to suppose, that the fruit of the tree of life could confer immortality? But what is there irrational in supposing that, though Adam was made exempt from death, yet that the fruit of a tree should be the appointed instrument of preserving his health, repairing the wastes of his animal nature, and of maintaining him in perpetual youth? Almighty God could have accomplished this end without means, or by other means; but since he so often employs instruments, it is not more strange that he should ordain to preserve Adam permanently from death by food of a special quality, than that now he should preserve men in health and life, for three-score years and ten, by specific foods; and that, to counteract disorders, he should have given specific medicinal qualities to herbs and minerals: or if, with some, we regard the eating of the tree of life as a sacramental act, an expression of faith in the promise of continued preservation, and a means through which the conserving influence of God was bestowed, a notion, however, not so well founded as the other, it is yet not inconsistent with the literal interpretation, and involves no really unreasonable Consequence, and nothing directly contrary to the analogy of faith. It has been, also, foolishly enough asked whether the fruit of the prohibited tree, or of any tree, can be supposed to have communicated "knowledge of good and evil," or have had any effect at all upon the intellectual powers? But this is not the idea conveyed by the history, however literally taken, and the objection is groundless. That tree might surely, without the least approach to allegory, be called "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil," whether we understand by this, that by eating it man came to know, by sad experience, the value of the "good" he had forfeited, and the bitterness of" evil," which he had before known only in name; or, as others have understood it, that it was appointed to be the test of Adam's fidelity to his Creator, and, consequently, was a tree of the knowledge of good and evil, a tree for the purpose of knowing (or making known) whether he would cleave to the former, or make choice of the latter. The first of these interpretations is, I think, to be preferred, because it better harmonizes with the whole history; but either of them is consistent with a literal interpretation, and cannot be proved to involve any real absurdity.
To the account of the serpent, it has been objected that, taken literally, it makes the invisible tempter assume the body of an animal to carry on his designs; but we must be better acquainted with the nature and laws of disembodied spirits before we can prove this to be impossible, or even unlikely; and as for an animal being chosen as the means of approach to Eve, without exciting suspicion, it is manifest that, allowing a superior spirit to be the real tempter, it was good policy in him to address Eve through an animal which she must have noticed as one of the inhabitants of the garden, rather than in a human form, when she knew that herself and her husband were the only human beings as yet in existence. The presence of such a stranger would have been much more likely to put her on her guard. But then, we are told that the animal was a contemptible reptile. Certainly not before he was degraded in form; but, on the contrary, one of the "beasts of the earth," and not "creeping thing ;" and also more "subtle," more discerning and sagacious "than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made: consequently the head of all the inferior animals in intellect, and not unlikely to have been of a corresponding noble and beautiful form; for this, indeed, his bodily degradation imports. If there was policy, then, in Satan's choosing an animal as the instrument by which he might make his approaches, there was as much good taste in his selection as the allegorists, who seem anxious on this point, can wish for him. The speaking of the serpent is another stumbling block; but as the argument is not here with an infidel, but with those who profess to receive the Mosaic record as Divine, the speaking of the serpent is no more a reason for interpreting the relation allegorically, than the speaking of the ass of Balaam can be for allegorizing the whole of that transaction. That a good or an evil spirit has no power to produce articulate sounds from the organs of an animal, no philosophy can prove, and it is a fact which is, therefore, capable of being rationally substantiated by testimony. There is a clear reason, too, for this use of the power of Satan in the story itself. By his giving speech to the serpent, and representing that, as appears from the account, as a consequence of the serpent having himself eaten of the fruit, he took the most effectual means of impressing Eve with the dangerous and fatal notion, that the prohibition of the tree of knowledge was a restraint upon her happiness and intellectual improvement, and thus to suggest hard thoughts of her Maker. The objection that Eve manifested no surprise when she heard an animal speak, whom she must have known not to have had that faculty before, has also no weight, since that circumstance might have occur. red without being mentioned in so brief a history. It is still more likely that Adam should have expressed some marks of surprise and anxiety too, when his wife presented the fruit to him, though nothing of the kind is mentioned. But allowing that no surprise was indicated by the woman, the answer of the author just quoted is satisfactory.
"In such a state, reason must enjoy a calm dominion; and consequently there was no room for those sudden starts of imagination, or those sudden tumults, agitations, failures, and stagnations of the blood and spirits now incident to human nature; and therefore Eve was incapable of fear or surprise from such accidents as would disquiet the best of her posterity. This objection then is so far from prejudicing the truth of the Mosaic history, that to me I own it a strong presumption in its favour.
"But after all, if this objection has any weight with any one, let him consider what there is in this philosophic serenity of our first parent, supposing the whole of her conduct on this occasion fully related to us, so far exceeding the serenity of Fabricius, upon the sudden appearance and cry of the elephant contrived by Pyrrhus to discompose him; or the steadiness of Brutus upon the appearance of his evil genius; and yet I believe Plutarch no way suffers in his credit as a historian by the relation of those events; at least had he related those surprising accidents without saying one word of what effects they had upon the passions of the persons concerned, his relations had certainly been liable to no imputation of incredibility or improbability upon that account." (Revelation Examined.)
An objection is taken to the justice of the sentence pronounced on the serpent, if the transaction be accounted real, and if that animal were but the unconscious instrument of the great seducer. To this the reply is obvious, that it could be no matter of just complaint to the serpent that its form should be changed, and its species lowered in the scale of being. It had no original right to its former superior rank, but held it at the pleasure of the Creator. If special pain and sufferings had been inflicted upon the serpent, there would have been a semblance of plausibility in the objection; but the serpent suffered, as to liability to pain and death, no more than other animals, and was not therefore any more than another irrational creature, accounted a responsible offender. Its degradation was evidently intended as a memento to man, and the real punishment, as we shall show, fell upon the real transgressor who used the serpent as his instrument; while the enmity of the whole race of serpents to the human race, their cunning, and their poisonous qualities, appear to have been wisely and graciously intended as standing warnings to us to beware of that great spiritual enemy, who ever lies in wait to wound and to destroy.
These are the principal objections made to the literal interpretation of this portion of the Mosaic record, and we have seen that they are either of no weight in themselves, or that they cannot be entertained without leading to. a total disregard of other parts of the inspired Scriptures. Tradition, too, comes in to the support of the literal sense, and on such a question has great weight. The Apocryphal writings afford a satisfactory testimony of the sentiments of the Jews. 2 Esdras iii, 4-7, "0 Lord, thou barest rule, thou spakest at the beginning, when thou didst plant the earth, and that thyself alone, and commandest the people; and gayest a body to Adam without soul, which was the workmanship of thy hands, and didst breathe into him the breath of life, and he was made living before thee; and thou leadest him into paradise, which thy right hand had planted, and unto him thou gayest commandment to love thy way, which he transgressed, and immediately thou appointedst death in him and in his generations, of whom came nations, tribes, people, and kindreds out of number." 2 Esdras vii, 48, "0 thou Adam, what hast thou done? for though it was thou that sinned, thou art not fallen alone, but we are all that came of thee." Wisdom ii, 24, "Nevertheless, through envy of the devil came death into the world." Wisdom x, 1, "She (wisdom) preserved the first-formed father of the world, that was created alone, and brought him out of his fall."
Ecciesiasticus xvii, 1, &c, "The Lord created man of the earth, and turned him into it again. He gave them a few days and a short time, and also power over all things therein-he filled them with the knowledge of understanding, and showed them good and evil." By these ancient Jewish writers it is, therefore, certain, that the account of the fall was understood as the narrative of a real transaction; and, except on this assumption, it is impossible to account for those traditions which are embodied in the mythology of almost all pagan nations. Of these fables the basis must have been some fact, real or supposed; for as well might we expect the fables of Aesop to have impressed themselves on the religious ceremonies and belief of nations, as the Mosaic fable of man's fall; for a mere fable it must be accounted, if it is to lose its literal interpretation.
Popular convictions every where prevailed of the existence of some beings of the higher order, who had revolted from their subjection to the heavenly power which presided over the universe.; and upon them were raised many fabulous stories. It is probable, that these convictions were originally founded on the circumstances referred to in Scripture with respect to Satan and his angels, as powerful malevolent beings, who, having first seduced Adam from his obedience, incessantly laboured to deceive, corrupt, and destroy his descendants. The notion of the magi of Plutarch, and of the Manicheans, concerning two independent principles, acting in opposition to each other, was also founded on the real circumstances of the apostasy of angels, and of their interference and influence in the affairs of men. The fictions of Indian mythology with regard to contending powers, and their subordinate ministers, benevolent and malignant, were erected on the same basis of truth; and the Grecian and Roman accounts of the battles of the giants against Jupiter, were, perhaps, built on the corruptions of tradition on this point.
"The original temptation, by which Satan drew our first parents from their duty, and led them to transgress the only prohibition which God had imposed, is described in the first pages of Scripture; and it is repeated, under much disguise, in many fables of classical I mythology.
"Origen considers the allegorical relations furnished by Plato, with respect to Porus tempted by Penia to sin when intoxicated in the garden of Jove, as a, disfigured history of the fall of man in paradise. It seems to have been blended with the story of Lot and his daughters. Plato might have acquired in Egypt the knowledge of the original circum. stances of the fall, and have produced them, under the veil of allegory, that he might not offend the Greeks by a direct extract from the Jewish Scriptures. The heathen notions with respect to the Elysian fields, the garden of Adonis, and that of Hesperides, in which the fruit was watched by a serpent, were probably borrowed from the sacred accounts, or from traditional reports with respect to paradise.
"The worship established toward the evil spirit by his contrivance, sometimes under the very appearance in which he seduced our first parents, is to be found among the Phenicians and Egyptians. The general notion of the serpent as a mysterious symbol annexed to the heathen deities; and the invocation of Eve in the Bacchanalian orgies, (with the production of a serpent, consecrated as an emblem, to public view,) seems to bear some relation to the history of the first temptation, which introduced sin and death into the world. The account of discord being cast out from heaven, referred to by Agamemnon, in the nineteenth book of Homer's Iliad, has been thought to be a corrupt tradition of the fall of the evil angels. Claudian shows an acquaintance with the circumstances of the seduction of man, and of an ejection from paradise, and his description seems to have furnished subjects of imitation to Milton.
"It has been imagined that the Indians entertained some notions, ' founded on traditionary accounts, of paradise: and the representations of the serpent under the female form, and styled the Mexican Eve, and said to be found in the symbolical paintings of Mexico.
("The original perfection of man, the corruption of human nature resulting from the fall, and the increasing depravity which proceeded with augmented violence from generation to generation, are to be found in various parts of profane literature. Chryalus, the Pythagorean, declared that man was made in the image of God. Cicero (as well as Ovid) speaks of man as created erect, as if God excited him to look up to his former relation and ancient abode. The loss of his resemblance to God was supposed to have resulted from disobedience, and was considered as so universal, that it was generally admitted, as it is expressed by Horace, that no man was born without vices. The conviction of a gradual deterioration from age to age-of a change from a golden period, by successive transitions, to an iron depravity-of a lapse from a state devoid of guilt and fear, to times filled with iniquity, was universally entertained.
("Descriptions to this effect are to be found in the writings of almost all the poets, and they are confirmed by the reports of philosophers and historians. Providence seems to have drawn evidence of the guilt of men from their own confessions, and to have preserved their testimonies for the conviction of subsequent times." (Gray's Connection.)
In the Gothic mythology, which seems to have been derived from the east, THOR is represented as the first born of the supreme God, and is styled in the Edda the eldest of sons. He was esteemed a middle divinity, a mediator between God and man. With respect to his actions. he is said to have wrestled with death, and, in the struggle, to have been brought upon one knee; to have bruised the head of the serpent with his mace; and, in his final engagement with that monster, to have beat him to the earth and slain him. This victory, however, is not obtained but at the expense of his own life ;-" Recoiling back nine steps, he falls dead upon the spot, suffocated with the floods of venom which the serpent vomits forth upon him." Much the same notion, we are informed, is prevalent in the mythology of the Hindoos.- Two sculptured figures are yet extant in one of their oldest pagodas, the former of which represents Creeshna, an incarnation of their mediatorial god Veeshnu, trampling on the crushed head of the serpent; while in the latter it is seen encircling the deity in its folds, and biting his heel." An engraving of this curious sculpture is given in Moore's Hindu Pantheon.
As to those who would interpret the account, the literal meaning of which we have endeavoured to establish, partly literally, and partly allegorically, a satisfactory answer is given in the following observations of Bishop Horsley :-
"No writer of true history would mix plain matter of fact with allegory in one continued narrative, without any intimation of a transition from one to the other. If, therefore, any part of this narrative be matter of fact, no part is allegorical. On the other hand, if any part be allegorical, no part is naked matter of fact: and the consequence of this will be, that every thing in every part of the whole narrative must be allegorical. If the formation of the woman out of the man be allegory, the woman must be an allegorical woman. The man therefore must be an allegorical man; for of such a man only the allegorical woman will be a meet companion. If the man is allegorical, his paradise will be an allegorical garden; the trees that grow in it, allegorical trees; the rivers that watered it, allegorical rivers; and thus we may ascend to the very beginning of the creation; and conclude at last, that the heavens are allegorical heavens, and the earth an allegorical earth. Thus the whole history of the creation will be an allegory, of which the real subject is not disclosed; and in this absurdity the scheme of allegorizing ends." (Horsley's Sermons.)
But though the literal sense of the history is thus established, yet that it has in several parts, but in perfect accordance with the literal interpretation, a mystical and higher sense than the letter, is equally to be proved from the Scriptures; and, though some writers, who have maintained the literal interpretation inviolate, have run into unauthorized fancies in their interpretation of the mystical sense, that is no reason why we ought not to go to the full length to which the light of the Scriptures, an infallible comment upon themselves, will conduct us. It is, as we have seen, matter of established history, that our first Parents were prohibited from the tree of knowledge, and, after their fall, were excluded from the tree of life; that they were tempted by a serpent; and that various maledictions were passed upon them, and upon the instrument of their seduction. But, rightly to understand this history, it is necessary to recollect-that man was in a state of trial; - that the prohibition of a certain fruit was but one part of the law under which he was placed; -that the serpent was but the instrument of the real tempter; and that the curse pronounced on the instrument was symbolical of the punishment reserved for the agent.
The first of these particulars appears on the face of the history, and to a state of trial the power of moral freedom was essential. This is a subject on which we shall have occasion to speak more at large in the sequel; but, that the power of choosing good and evil was vested with our first parents is as apparent from the account as that they were placed under rule and restraint. In vain were they commanded to obey, if obedience were impossible; in vain placed under prohibition, if they had no power to resist temptation. Both would, indeed, have been unworthy the Divine legislator; and if this be allowed, then their moral freedom must also be conceded. They are contemplated throughout the whole transaction, not as instruments, but as actors, and as such, capable of reward and punishment. Commands are issued to them; which supposes a power of obedience, either original and permanent in themselves, or derived, by the use of means, from God, and, therefore, attainable; and however the question may be darkened by metaphysical subtleties, the power to obey necessarily implied the power to refuse anti rebel, The promised continuance of their happiness, which is to be viewed in the light of a reward, implies the one; the actual infliction of punishment as certainly includes the other.
The power of obeying and the power of disobeying being then mutually involved, that which determines to the one or to the other, is the will. For, if it were some power, ab extra, operating necessarily, man would no longer be an actor, but be reduced to the mere condition of a patient, the mere instrument of another. This does not, however, shut out solicitation and strong influence from without, provided it be allowed to be resistible, either by man's own strength, or by strength from a higher source, to which he may have access, and by which he may fortify himself. But as no absolute control can be externally exerted over man's actions, and he remain accountable; and, on the other hand, as his actions are in fact controllable in a manner consistent with his free agency, we must look for this power in his own mind; and the only faculty which he possesses, to which any such Property can be attributed, is called, for that very reason, and because of that very quality, his will or choice; a power by which, in that state of completeness and excellence in which Adam was created, be must be supposed to be able to command his thoughts, his desires, his words, and his conduct, however excited, with an absolute sovereignty.
This faculty of willing, indeed, appears essential to a rational being, in whatever rank he may be placed. "Every rational being," says Dr. Jenkins, very justly, (Reasonableness of Christian Religion,) "must naturally have a liberty of choice, that is, it must have a will to choose as well as an understanding to reason; because, a faculty of understanding, if left to itself without a will to determine it, must always think of the same objects, or proceed in a continued series and connection of thoughts, without any end or design, which would be labour in vain, and tedious thoughtfulness to no purpose." But, though will be essential to rational existence, and freedom of will to a creature placed in a state of trial, yet the degree of external influence upon its determinations, through whatever means it may operate, may be very different both in kind and degree; which is only saying, in other words, that the circumstances of trial may be varied, and made more easy or mo e difficult and dangerous, at the pleasure of the great Governor and Lord of all. Some who have written on this subject, seem to have carried their views of the circumstances of the paradisiacal probation too high; others have not placed them high enough. The first have represented our first parents to have been so exclusively intellectual and devotional, as to be almost out of the reach of temptation from sense and passion; others, as approximating too nearly to their mortal and corrupt descendants. This, however, is plain, from the Scriptures, the guide we ought scrupulously to follow, that they were subject to temptation, or solicitation of the will, from intellectual pride, from sense, and from passion.-. The two first operated on Eve, and probably also on Adam; to which was added, in him, a passionate subjection to the wishes of his wife. If, then, these are the facts of their temptation, the circumstances of their trial are apparent. "The soul of man," observes Stillingfleet, (Origines Sacrae,) "is seated in the middle, as it were, between those more excellent beings which live perpetually above, with which it par takes in the sublimity of its nature and understanding; and those inferior terrestrial beings with which it communicates through the vital union which it has with the body, and that by reason of its natural freedom, it is sometimes assimilated to the one and sometimes to the other of these extremes. We must observe, farther, that, in this compound nature of ours, there are several powers and faculties, several passions and affections, differing in their nature and tendency, according as they result from the soul or body; that each of these has its proper object in a due application to which it is easy and satisfied; that they are none of them sinful in themselves, but may be instruments of much good, when rightly applied, as well as occasion great mischief by a misapplication: whereupon a considerable part of virtue will consist in regulating them, and in keeping our sensitive part subject to the rational. This is the original constitution of our nature; anti, since the first man was endowed with the powers and faculties of the mind, and had the same dispositions and inclinations of body, it cannot be but that he must have been liable to the same sort of temptations, and consequently, capable of complying with the dictates of sense and appetite, contrary to the direction of reason and the conviction of his own mind: and to this cause the Scripture seems to ascribe the commission of the first sin, when it tells us, that the woman saw the tree, that it was good for food, and pleasant to the eye, and desirable to make one wise, i.e. it had several qualities that were adapted to her natural appetites; was beautiful to the sight, and delightful to the taste, and improving to the understanding, which both answered the desire of knowledge implanted in her spiritual, and the love of sensual pleasure, resulting from her animal part; and these, heightened by the suggestions of the tempter, abated the horror of God's prohibition, and induced her to act contrary to his express command."
It is, therefore, manifest, that the slate of trial in which our first parents were placed was one which required, in order to the preservation of virtue, vigilance, prayer, resistance, and the active exercise of the dominion of the will over solicitation. No creature can be absolutely perfect because it is finite; and it would appear, from the example of our first parents, that an innocent, and, in its kind, a perfect rational being, is kept from falling only by "taking hold" on God; and as this is an act, these must be a determination of the will to it, and so when the least carelessness, the least tampering with the desire of forbidden gratifications is induced, there is always an enemy at hand to make use of the opportunity to darken the judgment and to accelerate the progress of evil. Thus "when desire is conceived, it bringeth forth sin, and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." This is the only account we can obtain of the origin of evil, and it resolves itself into three principles :-l. The necessary finiteness, and, therefore, imperfection in degree of created natures. 2. The liberty of choice, which is essential to rational, accountable beings. 3. The influence of temptation on the will. That Adam was so endowed as to have resisted the temptation, is a sufficient proof of the justice of his Maker throughout this transaction; that his circumstances of trial were made precisely what they were, is to be resolved into a wisdom, the full manifestation of which is, probably, left to another state, and will, doubtless, there have its full declaration.
The following acute observations of Bishop Butler may assist us to conceive how possible it is for a perfectly innocent being to fall under the power of evil, whenever a vigilant and resisting habit is not perfectly and absolutely persevered in :-
" This seems distinctly conceivable, from the very nature of particular affections and propensions. For, suppose creatures intended for such a particular state of life, for which such propensions were necessary: suppose them endowed with such propensions, together with moral understanding, as well including a practical sense of virtue, as a speculative perception of it; and that all these several principles, both natural and moral, forming an inward constitution of mind, were in the most exact proportion possible, i. e. in a proportion the most exactly adapted to their intended state of life: such creatures would be made upright, or finitely perfect. Now particular propensions, from their very nature, must be felt, the objects of them being present; though they cannot be gratified at all, or not with the allowance of the moral principle. But, if they can be gratified without its allowance, or by contradicting it; then they must be conceived to have some tendency, in how low a degree soever, yet some tendency, to induce persons to such forbidden gratifications. This tendency, in some one particular propension, may be increased by the greater frequency of occasions naturally exciting it, than of occasions exciting others. The least voluntary indulgence in forbidden circumstances, though but in thought, will increase this wrong tendency; and may increase it farther, till, peculiar conjunctions perhaps conspiring, it becomes effect; and danger from deviating from right, ends in actual deviation from it; a danger necessarily arising from the very nature of propension; and which, therefore, could not have been prevented, though it might have been escaped, or got innocently through. The case would be, as if we were to suppose a straight path marked out for a person, in which such a degree of attention would keep him steady: but if he would not attend in this degree, any one of a thousand objects, catching his eye, might lead him out of it. Now it is impossible to say how much even the first full overt act of irregularity might disorder the alter that which formed it, and in which the uprightness of its make consisted: but repetition of irregularities would produce habits, and thus the constitution would be spoiled, and creatures made upright, become corrupt, a e raved in their settled character, proportionably to their repeated irregularities in occasional acts." (Analogy.)
These observations are general, and are introduced only to illustrate the point, that we may conceive of a creature being made innocent, and yet still dependent upon the exercise of caution for its preservation from moral corruption and offence. It was not, in fact, by the slow and almost imperceptible formation of evil habits, described in the extract just given, by which Adam fell ; that is but one way in which we may conceive it possible for sin to enter a holy soul. He was exposed to the wiles of a tempter, and his fall was sudden. But this exposure to a particular danger was only a circumstance in his condition of probation. It was a varied mode of subjecting the will to solicitation; but no necessity of yielding was laid upon man in consequence of this circumstance. From the history we learn that the devil used not force but persuasion, which involves no necessity; and that the devil cannot force men to sin is sufficiently plain from this, that, such is his malevolence, that if he could render sin inevitable, he would not resort to persuasion and the sophistry of error to accomplish an end more directly within his reach.
The prohibition under which our first parents were placed has been the subject of many "a fool-born jest," and the threatened punishment has been argued to be disproportioned to the offence. Such objections are easily dissipated. We have already seen, that all rational creatures are under a law which requires supreme love to God and entire obedience to his commands; and that, consequently, our first parents were placed under this equitable obligation. We have also seen that all specific laws emanate from this general law; that they are manifestations of it, and always suppose it. The decalogue was such a manifestation of it to the Jews, and the prohibition of the tree of knowledge is to be considered in the same light. Certainly this restraint presupposed a right in God to command, a duty in the creatures to obey; and the particular precept was but the exercise of that previous right which was vested in him, and the enforcement of that previous obligation upon them. To suppose it to be the only rule under which our first parents Were placed would be absurd; for then it would follow, that if they had become sensual in the use of any other food than that of the prohibited tree; or if they had refused worship and honour to God, their Creator; or if they had become "hateful, and hating one another," these would not have been sins. This precept was, however, made prominent by Special injunction; and it is enough to say that it was, as the event showed, a sufficient test of their obedience.
The objection that it was a positive, and not a moral precept, deserves to be for a moment considered. The difference between the two is, that "moral precepts are those the reasons of which we see; positive precepts those, the reasons of which we do not see. Moral duties arise out of the nature of the case itself, prior to external command: positive duties do not arise out of the nature of the case, but from external command; nor would they be duties at all, were it not for such command received from him whose creatures and subjects we are." (Butler's Analogy.) It has, however, been justly observed that, since positive precepts have somewhat of a moral nature, we may see the reasons of them considered in this view, and, so far as we discern the reasons of both, moral and positive precepts are alike. In the case in question no just objection, certainly, can be made against the making a positive precept the special test of the obedience of our first parents. In point of obligation, positive precepts rest upon the same ground as moral ones, namely, the will of God. Granting, even, that we see no reason for them, this does not alter the case; we are bound to obey our Creator, both as matter of right and matter of gratitude; and the very essence of sin consists in resisting the will of God. Even the reason of moral precepts, their fitness, suitableness, and influence upon society, do not constitute them absolutely obligatory upon us. The obligation rests upon their being made law by the authority of God. Their fitness, &c, may be the reasons why he has made them parts of his law; but it is the promulgation of his will which makes the law and brings us under obligation. In this respect, then, moral and positive laws are of equal authority when enjoined with equal explicitness. To see or not to see the reasons of the Divine enactments, whether moral or positive, is a circumstance which affects not the question of duty. There is, nevertheless, a distinction to be made between positive precepts and arbitrary ones, which have no reason but the will of him who enacts them, though, were such enjoined by almighty God, our obligation to obey would be absolute. It is, however, proper to suppose, that when the reasons of positive precepts are not seen by us, they do, in reality, exist in those relations, and qualities, and habitudes of things which are only known to God; for, that he has a sufficient reason for all that he requires of s, is a conclusion as rational as it is pious; and to slight positive precepts, therefore, is in fact to refuse obedience to the Lawgiver only on the proud and presumptuous ground, that he has not made us acquainted with his own reasons for enacting them. Nor is the institution of such precepts without an obvious general moral reason, though the reason for the injunction of particular positive injunctions should not be explained. Humility, which is the root of all virtue, may, in some circumstances, be more effectually promoted when we are required to obey under -the authority of God, than when we are prompted also by the conviction of the fitness and excellence of his commands. It is true, that when the observance of a moral command and a positive precept come into such opposition to one another that both cannot be observed, we have examples in Scripture which authorize us to prefer the former to the latter, as when our Lord healed on the Sabbath day, and justified his disciples for plucking the ears of corn when they were hungry; yet, in point of fact, the rigidness which forbade the doing good on the Sabbath day, in these cases of necessity, we have our Lord's authority to say, was the result of a misinterpretation of the moral precept itself, and no direct infringement of it was implied in either case. Should an actual impossibility occur of observing two precepts, one a moral and the other a positive one, it can be but a rare case, and our conduct must certainly be regulated, not on our own views merely, but on such general principles as our now perfect revelation furnishes us with, and it is at our risk that we misapply them. In the case of our first parents, the positive command neither did, nor, apparently in their circumstances, could stand in opposition to any moral injunction contained in that universal law under which they were placed. It harmonized perfectly with its two great principles, love to God and love to our neighbour, for both would be violated by disobedience; -one by rebellion against the Creator; the other, by disregard of each other's, welfare, and that of their posterity.
Nor, indeed, was this positive injunction without some obvious moral reason, the case with probably all positive precepts of Divine authority, when carefully considered. The ordinances of public worship, baptism in the name of Christ, the celebration of the Lord's Supper, and the observance of the Sabbath, have numerous and very plain reasons both of subjection, recognition, and gratitude; and so had the prohibition of the fruit of one of the trees of the garden. The moral precepts of the decalogue would, for the most part, have been inappropriate to the peculiar condition of the first pair; -such as the prohibitions of polytheism; of the use of idolatrous images; of taking the name of God in vain; of theft and adultery; of murder and covetousness. Thus even if objectors were left at liberty to attempt to point out a better test of obedience than that which was actually appointed, they would find, as in most such cases, how much easier it is to object than to suggest. The law was, in the first place, simple and explicit; it was not difficult of observation; and it accorded with the circumstances of those on whom it was enjoined. They were placed amidst abundance of pleasant and exhilarating fruits, and of those one kind only was reserved. This reservation implied also great principles. It may be turned into ridicule: -so, by an ignorant person, might the reserve in Our customs of a pepper corn, or other quit rent, which yet are acknowledgments of subjection and sovereignty. This is given as an illustration, not, indeed, as a parallel; for there is a very natural view of this transaction in paradise, which gives to it an aspect so noble and dignified, that we may well shudder at the impiety of that poor wit by which it has been sometimes ignorantly assailed. The dominion of this lower world had been given to man, but it is equally required by the Divine glory, and by the benefit of creatures themselves, that all should acknowledge their subjection to him. Man was required to do this, as it were, openly, and in the presence of the whole creation, by a public token, and to give proof of it by a continued abstinence from the prohibited fruit. He was required to do it also in a way suitable to his excellent nature and to his character as lord of all other creatures, by a free and voluntary obedience, thus acknowledging the common Creator to be his supreme Lord, and himself to be dependent upon his bounty and favour. In this view we can conceive nothing more fitting, as a test of obedience, and nothing more important than the moral lesson continually taught by the obligation thus openly and publicly to acknowledge We rights and authority of him who was, naturally, the Lord of all.
The immediate, visible agent in the seduction of man to sin was the serpent; but the whole testimony of Scripture is in proof that the real tempter was that subtle and powerful evil spirit, whose general appellatives are the DEVIL and SATAN. This shows that ridicule, as to the serpent, is quite misplaced, and that one of the most serious doctrines is involved in the whole account,-the doctrine of diabolical influence. We have already observed, that we have no means of ascertaining the pristine form and qualities of this animal, except that it was distinguished from all the beasts of the field, which the Lord God had made, by his "subtlety" or intelligence, for the word does not necessarily imply a bad sense; and we might, indeed, be content to give credit to Satan for a wily choice of the most fitting instrument for his purpose. These are questions which, however, sink into nothing before the important doctrine of the liability of man, both in his primitive and in his fallen state, to temptations marshalled and directed by a superior, malignant intelligence. Of this, the fact cannot be doubted, if we admit the Scriptures to be interpreted by any rules which will admit them to be written for explicit instruction and the use of popular readers; and, although we have but general intimations of the existence of an order of apostate spirits, and know nothing of the date of their creation, or the circumstances of their probation and fall; yet this is clear, that they are permitted, for their "time," to have influence on earth; to war against the virtue and the peace of man, though under constant control and government; and that this entered into the circumstances of the trial of our first parents, and that it enters into ours. In this part of the history of the fall, therefore, without giving up any portion of the literal sense, we must, on the authority of other passages of Scripture, look beyond the letter, and regard the serpent but as the instrument of a super human tempter, who then commenced his first act of warfare against the rule of God in this lower world; and began a contest, which, for purposes of wisdom, to be hereafter more fully disclosed, he has been allowed to carry on for ages, and will still be permitted to maintain till the result shall make his fall more marked, and bring into view moral truths and principles in which the whole universe of innocent or redeemed creatures are, probably, to be instructed to their eternal advantage.
In like manner, the malediction pronounced upon the serpent, while it is to be understood literally as to that animal, must be considered as teaching more than the letter simply ex presses; and the terms of it are, therefore, for the reason given above, (the comment found in other parts of Scripture,) to be regarded as symbolical. "As the literal sense does not exclude the mystical, the cursing of the serpent is a symbol to us, and a visible pledge of the malediction with which the devil is struck by God, and whereby he is become the most abominable and miserable of all creatures. But man, by the help of the seed of the woman, that is, by our Saviour, shall bruise his head, wound him in the place that is most mortal, and destroy him with eternal ruin. In the meantime, the enmity and abhorrence we have of the serpent is a continual warning to us of the danger we are in of the devil, and how heartily we ought to abhor him and all his works." (Archbishop King.) To this view, indeed, strenuous objections have been made; and in order to get quit of the doctrine of so early and significant a promise of a Redeemer,-a promise so expressed as necessarily to imply redemption through the temporary suffering of the Redeemer, the bruising of his heel,-many of those who are willing to give up the latter entirely, in other parts of the narrative, and to resolve the whole into fable, resist this addition of the parabolical meaning to the literal, and contend for that alone. In answer to this, we may observe,-
1. That, on the merely literal interpretation of these words, the main instrument of the transgression would remain unsentenced and unpunished. That instrument was the devil, as already shown, and who, in evident allusion to this circumstance, is called in Scripture, "a murderer from the beginning," "a liar and the father of lies;" "that old serpent, called the devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world;" he "who sinneth from the beginning ;" so that whosoever "committeth sin is of the devil," and consequently our first parents. It is also in plain allusion to this history and the bruising of the head of the serpent that the apostle takes the phrase of" bruising" Satan under the feet of believers. These passages can only be disposed of by resolving the whole account of diabolical agency in Scripture into figures of speech; (the theory adopted by Socinians, and which will be subsequently refuted;) but if the agency of Satan be allowed in this transaction, then to confine ourselves to the merely literal sense leaves the prime mover of the offence without any share of the malediction; and the curse of the serpent must, therefore, in justice, be concluded to fall with the least weight upon the animal instrument, the serpent itself, and with its highest emphasis upon the intelligent and accountable seducer.
2. We are compelled to this interpretation by the reason of the case. That a higher power was identified with the serpent in the transaction, is apparent, from the intelligent and rational powers ascribed to the serpent, which it is utterly inconsistent with the distinction between man and the inferior animals to attribute to a mere brute. He was the most " subtle" of the beasts, made such near approaches to rationality as to be aft instrument by which to deceive; but, assuredly, the use of speech, of reasoning powers, a knowledge of the Divine law, anti the power of seductive artifice to entrap human beings in their state of perfection into sin against God, are not thee faculties of an irrational animal. The solemn manner, too, in which the Almighty addresses the serpent in pronouncing the curse, shows that an intelligent and flee agent was arraigned before him, and it would, indeed, be ridiculous to suppose to the contrary.
3. The circumstances of our first parents also confirm the symbolical interpretation, in conjunction with the literal one. This is shown by Bishop Sherlock with much acuteness :- They were now in a state of sin, standing before God to receive sentence for their disobedience, and had reason to expect a full execution of the penalty threatened. In tire day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die. But God came in mercy as well as judgment, purposing not only to punish, but to restore man. The judgment is awful and severe: the woman is doomed to sorrow in conception; the man to sorrow and travail all the days of his life; the ground is cursed for his sake; and the end of the judgment is, dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return. Had they been left thus, they might have continued k their labour and sorrow for their appointed time, and at last have returned to dust, without any well-grounded hope or confidence in God: they must have looked upon themselves as rejected by their Maker, delivered up to trouble and sorrow in this world, and as having no hope in any other. Upon this ground I conceive there could have been no religion left in the world; for a sense of religion without hope is a state of phrenzy and distraction, void of all inducements to love and obedience, or any thing else that is praiseworthy. If, therefore, God intended to preserve them as objects of mercy, it was absolutely necessary to communicate so much hope to them, as might be a rational foundation for their future endeavours to be reconciled to him. This seems to be the primary intention of this first Divine prophecy; and it was necessary to the state of the world, and the condition of religion, which could not possibly have been supported without the communication of such hopes. The prophecy is excellently adapted to this purpose, and manifestly conveyed such hopes to our first parents. For let us consider in what sense we may suppose them to understand the prophecy. Now they must necessarily understand the prophecy, either according to the literal meaning of the words, or according to such meaning as the whole circumstance of the transaction, of which they are part, does require. If we suppose them to understand the words literally only, and that God meant them to be so understood, this passage must appear ridiculous. Do but imagine that you see God coming to judge the offenders; Adam and Eve before him in the utmost distress; that you hear God inflicting pains, and sorrows, and misery, and death, upon the first of human race; and that in the midst of all this scene of great calamity, you hear him foretelling, with great solemnity, a very trivial accident that should sometimes happen in time world: that serpents would be apt to bite men by the heels, and that men would be apt to revenge themselves by striking them on the head. What has this trifle to do with the loss of man kind, with the corruption of the natural and moral world, and time ruin of all the glory and happiness of the creation? Created comfort it was to Adam, doubtless, after telling him that his days would be short and full of misery, and his end without hope, to let him know that he should now and then knock a snake on the head, but not even that, without paying dear for his poor victory, for the snake should off en bite human by the heel. Adam surely could not understand the prophecy in this sense, though some of his sons have so understood it. Leaving this, therefore, as absolutely absurd and ridiculous, let us consider what meaning the circum. stances of the transaction do necessarily fix to the words of this prophecy. Adam tempted by his wife, and she by the serpent, had fallen from their obedience, and were now in the presence of God expecting judgment. They knew full well at this juncture, that their fall was the victory of the serpent, whom by experience they found to be an enemy to God and to man; to man, whom he had ruined by seducing him to sin; to God, tine noblest work of whose creation he had defaced. It could not, therefore, but be some comfort to them to hear the serpent first condemned, and to see that, however he had prevailed against them, he had gained no Victory over their Maker, who was able to assert his own honour, and to punish this great author of iniquity. By this method of God's proceeding they were secured from thinking that there was any evil being equal to the Creator in power and dominion: an opinion which gained ground in after times through the prevalence of evil, and is, where it does prevail, destructive of all true religion. The belief of God's supreme dominion, which is the foundation of all religion, being thus preserved, it was still necessary to give them such hopes as they could not but conceive, when they heard from the mouth of God, that the serpent's victory was not a complete victory, over even themselves; that they and their posterity should be enabled to contest his empire; and though they were to suffer much in the struggle, yet finally they should prevail and bruise the serpent's head, and be delivered from his power anti dominion over them. What now could they conceive this conquest over the serpent to mean? Is it not natural to expect that we shall recover that by victory which we lost by being defeated? They knew that the enemy had subdued them by sin, could they then conceive hopes of victory otherwise than by righteousness? They lost through sin the happiness of their creation, could they expect less from the return of righteousness than the recovery of the blessings forfeited? What else but this could they expect? For the certain knowledge they had of their loss when the serpent prevailed, could not but lead them to a clear knowledge of what they should regain by prevailing against the serpent. The language of this prophecy is indeed in part metaphorical, but it is a great mistake to think that all metaphors are of uncertain Signification; for the design and scope of the speaker, with the circumstances attending, create a final and determinate sense."
The import of this prediction appears, from various allusions of Scripture, to have been, that the Messiah, who was, in an eminent and peculiar sense, the seed of the woman, should, though himself bruised in the conflict, obtain a complete victory over the malice and power of Satan. and so restore those benefits to man which by sin he had lost. From this time hope looked forward to the GREAT RESTORER, and sacrifices, which are no otherwise to be accounted for, began to be offered, in prefiguration of the fact and efficacy of his sufferings. From that first promise, that light of salvation broke forth, which, by the increased illumination of revelation, through following ages, shone brighter and brighter to the perfect day. To what extent our first parents understood this promise it is not possible for us to say. Sufficiently, there is no doubt, for hope and faith; and that it might be the ground of a new dispensation of religion, in which salvation was to be of grace, not of works, and in which prayer was to be offered for all necessary blessings, on the ground of pure mercy, and through the intercession of an infinitely worthy Mediator. The Scriptures cannot be explained, unless this be admitted, for these are the very principles which are assumed in God's government of man from the period of his fall; and it is, therefore, probable, that in those earliest patriarchal ages, of which we have so brief and rapid an account in the writings of Moses, and which we may, nevertheless, collect, were ages distinguished by the frequent and visible intercourse of God and superior beings with men, there were revelations made and instructions given which are not specifically recorded, but which formed that body of theology which is, unquestionably, presupposed by the whole Mosaic institute. But if we allow that this first promise, as interpreted by us, contains more than our first parents can be supposed to heave discovered in it, we may say, with the prelate just quoted, "Since this prophecy has been plainly fulfilled in Christ, and by the event appropriated to him only, I would fain know how it comes to be conceived to be so ridiculous a thing in us to suppose that God, to whom the whole event was known from the beginning, should make choice of such expressions as naturally conveyed so much knowledge to our first parents as he intended, and yet should appear, in the fullness of time, to have been peculiarly adapted to the event which he, from the beginning, saw, and which he intended the world should one day see, and which, when they should see, they might the more easily acknowledge to be the work of his hand, by the secret evidence which he had enclosed from the days of old in the words of prophecy."
From these remarks on the history of time fall, we are called to consider the state into which that event reduced the first man and his posterity.
As to Adam, it is clear that he became liable to inevitable death, and that, during his temporary life, he was doomed to severe labour, expressed in Scripture by eating his bread in, or "by the sweat of his brow." These are incontrovertible points; but that the threatening of death, as the penalty of disobedience, included spiritual and eternal death, as to himself and his posterity, has been, and continues to be, largely and resolutely debated, and will require our consideration.
On this subject the following are the leading opinions :- The view stated by Pelagius, who lived in the fifth century, is (if he has' been misrepresented) that which is held by the modern Socinian. It is, that though Adam, by his transgression, exposed himself to the displeasure of his Maker, yet that neither were the powers of his own nature at all impaired, nor have his posterity, in any sense, to his disobedience; that he was created mortal, and would, therefore, have died, had h he not sinned; an that the only evil he suffered was his being expelled from paradise, and subjected to the discipline of labour. That his posterity, like himself, are placed in a state of trial; that death to them, as to him, is a natural event; and that the prospect of certain dissolution, joined to the common calamities of life, is favourable to the cultivation of virtue. By a proper attention we may maintain our innocence amidst surrounding temptations, and may also daily improve in moral excellence, by the proper use of reason and other natural powers.
A second opinion has been attributed to the followers of Arminius, on which a remark shall just now be offered. It has been thus epitomized by Dr. Hill :- "According to this opinion, although the first man had a body naturally frail and mortal, his life would have been for ever preserved by the bounty of his Creator, had he continued obedient; and the instrument employed by God, to preserve his mortal body from decay, was the fruit of life. Death was declared to be the penalty of transgression; and, therefore, as soon as he transgressed, he was removed at a distance from the tree of life ; and his posterity, inheriting his natural mortality, and not having access to the tree of life, are subjected to death. It is therefore said by St. Paul, 'By one man sin entered into the world, and I death by sin, and so death passed upon all men. In Adam all die. By one man's offence death reigned by one.' These expressions clearly point out death to be the consequence of Adam's transgression, an evil brought upon his posterity by his fault; anti this the Arminians understand to be the whole meaning of its being said, 'Adam begat a son in his own likeness, after his image,' Gen. v, 3, and of Paul saying, 'We have borne the image of the earthly.'
"It is admitted, however, by those who hold the opinion, that this change upon the condition of mankind, from a life preserved without end, to mortality, was most unfavourable to their moral character. The fear of death enfeebles and enslaves the mind; the pursuit of those things which are necessary to support a frail perishing life, engrosses and contracts the soul; and the desires of sensual pleasure are rendered more eager and ungovernable, by the knowledge that the time of enjoying them soon passes away. Hence arise envying of those who have a larger share of the good things of this life-strife with those who interfere in our enjoyments-impatience tinder restraint-and sorrow and repining when pleasure is abridged. And to this variety of turbulent passions, the natural fruits of the punishment of Adam's transgression, there are also to be added, all time fretfulness and disquietude occasioned by the diseases and pains which are inseparable from the condition of a mortal being. In this way the Arminians explain such expressions as these, 'by one man's disobedience many were made sinners;' 'all are under sin;' 'behold I was shapen in iniquity,' i. e. all men, in consequence of Adam's sin, are born in these circumstances,_ under that disposition of events which subjects them to the dominion of passion, and exposes them to so many temptations, that it is impossible for any man to maintain his integrity. And hence, they say, arises the necessity of a Saviour, who, restoring to man the immortality which he had forfeited, maybe said to have abolished death; who effectually delivers his followers from that bondage of mind, and that corruption of character, which are connected with the fear of death; who, by his perfect obedience, obtains pardon for those sins into which they have been betrayed by their condition ; amid by his Spirit enables them to overcome the temptations which human nature of itself cannot withstand.
According to this opinion, then, the human race has suffered universally in a very high degree by time sin of their first parent. At the same time, tile manner of their suffering is analogous to many circumstances in the ordinary dispensations of Providence; for we often see children, by time negligence or fault of their parent, placed in situations very unfavourable both to their prosperity and to their improvement; and we can trace the profligacy of their character to the defects of their education, to the example set before them in their youth, and to time multiplied temptations in which, from a want of due attention on the part of others, they fund themselves early entangled." ( Lectures.)
That this is a very defective view of the effects of time original offence upon Adam and his descendants must be acknowledged. Whether Adam, as to his body, became mortal by positive infliction, or by being excluded from the means of warding off disease and mortality, which were pro vided in time free of life, is a speculative point, which has no important theological bearing; but that the corruption of and its greater liability to be corrupted, is the doctrine of Scripture, shown. This [semi-Pelagian sentiment] was not the opinion of Arminius, nor of his immediate followers. Nor is it the opinion of that large body of Christians, often called Arminians, who follow the theological opinions of Mr. Wesley. It was the opinion of Dr. Whitby and several divines of the English Church, who, though called Arminians, were semi-Pelagians, or at least made great approaches to that error; and the writer just quoted has no authority for giving this as the Arminian opinion, except the work of Whitby's, entitled, Trac tatus de Imputatione Peccati Adami. In this, however, he has followed others, who, on Whitby's authority, attribute this notion not only to Arminius singly, hut to the body of the remonstrants, and to all those who, to this day, advocate the doctrine of general redemption. This is one proof how little pains many divines of the Calvinistic school have taken to understand the opinions they have hastily condemned in mass.
The following passages from the writings of Arminius will do justice to the character of that eminent divine on this important subject.
In the 15th and 16th propositions of his 7th public lecture on the first sin of the first man, he says,- " The immediate and proper effect of this sin was, that God was offended by it. For sin the form of sin is the transgression of the law, 1 John iii, 4, agression primarily and immediately impinges against the Legislator himself, Gen. iii, 2; and it impinges against him, Gen. iii, 16, 19, 23, 24, with offence, it having been his will that his law should not be infringed, Gen. iii, 17: from which he conceives a just wrath, which is the second effect of sin. But this wrath is followed by the infliction of punishment, which here is twofold: 1. A liability to both deaths, Rom. vi, 23. 2. holiness Luke xix, 26, which, because they were the effects of the Holy Spirit being in man, ought not to remain in man who had fallen and had incurred his anger. For that Spirit is a seal and token of the Divine favour and benevolence, Rom. viii, 14, 15; 1 Cor. ii, 12.
"But the whole of this sin is not peculiar to our first parents, but is common to the whole race, and to all their posterity, who, at the time when the first sin was committed, were in their loins, and who after. ward descended from them in the natural mode of propagation, according to the primitive benediction. For, in Adam all have sinned, Rom. v, 12. Whatever punishment, therefore, was inflicted of our first rents, has also pervaded all their osterity, and still oppresses them: so that all are by nature men of wrath, Eph. ii, 31, obnoxious to condemnation and to death, temporal and eternal Rom. v, 12, and are lastly devoid of the [primeval] righteousnes evils they would continue oppressed for ever, unless the were delivered from them by Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever! Rom. v, 18, 19."
In the epistle which Arminius addressed to Hippolytus, describing grace and free will, his views on this subject are still more clearly expressed :- _______ will without grace to begin or perfect any true or spiritual good. I say. the grace of Christ, which pertains to regeneration, is simply and absolutely necessary for the illumination of the mind, the ordering of the affections, and the inclination of the will to that which is good. It is that which operates on the mind, the affections, and the will; which infuses good thoughts into the mind, inspires good desires into the affections, and leads the will to execute good thoughts and good desires. It prevents, (goes before,) accompanies, and follows. It excites, assists, works in us to will, and works with us, that we may not will in vain. It averts temptations, stands by and aids us in temptations, supports us against the flesh, the world, and Satan; and, in the conflict, it grants us to enjoy the victory. It raises up again those who are conquered and fallen, it establishes them, and endues them with new strength, and renders them more cautious. It begins, promotes, perfects, and consummates salvation. I confess, that the mind of the natural (animalis) and carnal man is darkened, his affections are depraved and disordered, his will is refractory, and that the man is dead in sins."
And, in his 11th Public Disputation on the Free will of Man, and its powers, he says, "that the will of man. With respect to true good, is not only wounded, bruised, inferior, crooked, and attenuated; but it is likewise captivated, destroyed, and lost; and has no powers whatever, except such as are excited by grace."
The doctrine of the remonstrants is, "That God, to the glory of his abundant goodness, having decreed to make man after his own image, and to give him an easy and most equal law, and add thereunto a threatening of death to the transgressors thereof, and foreseeing that Adam would wilfully transgress the same, and thereby make himself and his posterity liable to condemnation; though God was, notwithstanding, mercifully affected toward man, yet, out of respect to his justice and truth, he would not give way to his mercy to save man till his justice should be satisfied, and his serious hatred of sin and love of righteousness should be made known." The condemnation here spoken of, as affecting Adam and his posterity, is to be understood of more than the death of the body, as being opposed to the salvation procured by the sacrifice of Christ; and, with respect to the moral human nature since the fall, the third of exbited at the synod of Dort, states, that the remonstrants "hold that a man hath not faith of himself, nor from the power of his own free will, will, see seeing that, while he is in the state of sin, he cannot of himself, nor by himself, think, will, or do any saving good."
(The doctrine of the Church of England, though often claimed as exclusively Calvinistic on this point, accords perfectly with true Arminianism. "Original sin standeth not in the following or imitation of Adam as the Pelagians do vainly talk, but it is fault or corruption of the nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature only inclined to evil," &c. Some of the divines of this Church have, on the other hand, endeavoured to soften this article, by availing themselves of the phrase "very far gone," as though at did not express a total defection from original righteousness. The articles were, however, subscribed by the two houses of convocation, in 1571, in Latin and English also, and therefore both copies are equally authentic. The Latin copy expresses this phrase by "quam longissime distet ;" which is as strong an expression as that language can furnish, fixes the sense of the compilers on this point, and takes away the argument which rests on the alleged equivocalness of the English version. Nor does there appear any material discrepancy between this statement of the fallen condition of man and the Augsburgh Confession, the doctrine of the French Churches, that of the Calvinistic Church of Scotland, and, so far as the moral state of man only is concerned, the views of Calvin himself. There are, it is true, such expressions as " contagion," "infection," and the like, in some of these formularies, which are somewhat equivocal, as bearing upon a point from which some divines, both Arminians and Calvinists, have, dissented,-the direct corruption of human nature by a sort of judicial act; but, this point excepted, to which we shall subsequently turn our attention, the true Arminian, as fully as the Calvinist, admits the doctrine of the total depravity of human nature in consequence of the fall our first parents; and is indeed enabled to carry it through his system with greaten- consistency than the Calvinist himself. For, while the latter is obliged, in order to ac. count for certain good dispositions and occasional religious inclinations in those who never give any evidence of their actual conversion to God, to refer them to nature, and not to grace, which, according to them, is not given to the reprobate, the believer in general redemption maintains the total incapacity of unassisted nature to produce such effects, and attributes them to (heat Divine gracious influence which, if not resisted, would lead onto conversion. Some of the doctrines joined by Calvinists with the corruption of our common nature are, indeed, very disputable, and suck as we shall, in the proper place, attempt to prove unscriptural; but in this Arminians and they so well agree, that it is an entire delusion to represent this doctrine, as it is often done, as exclusively Calvinistic. "The Calvinists," says Bishop Tomline, " contend that the sin of Adam introduced into his nature such a radical impotence and depravity, that it is impossible for his descendants to make any voluntary effort [of themselves] toward piety and virtue, or in say respect to correct and improve their moral and religious character; and that faith and all the Christian graces are communicated by the sole and irresistible operation of the Spirit of God, without any endeavour or concurrence on the part of man." (Refutation of Calvinism.) The latter part only of this statement gives the Calvinistic peculiarity; the former is not exclusively theirs. We have seen the sentiment of Arminius on the natural state of man, and it perfectly harmonizes with that of Calvin where he says, in his own forcible manner," that man is so totally overwhelmed, as with a deluge, that no part is free from sin, and therefore whatever proceeds from him is accounted sin." (Institutes.)
But in bringing all these opinions to the test of Scriptural testimony, we must first inquire into the import of the penalty of DEATh, threatened upon the offences of the first man.
The Pelagian and Socinian notion, that Adam would have died had he not sinned, requires no other refutation than the words of: the Apostle Paul, who declares expressly that death entered the world "by sin," and so it inevitably follows that, as to man at least, but for sin there would have been no death.
The notion of others, that the death threatened extended to the annihilation of the soul as well as the body, and was only arrested by the interposition of a Redeemer, assumes a doctrine which has no countenance at all in Scripture, namely, that the penalty of transgressing the Divine law, when it extends to the soul, is death in the sense of annihilation. On the contrary, whenever the threat of death, in Scripture, refers to the soul, it unquestionably means future and conscious punishment. Beside, the term "death," which conveys the threatening, does not properly express annihilation. There is no adequate opposition between life and annihilation. If there were such an opposition between them, then life and non-annihilation must be equivalent terms. But they are not; for many things exist which do not live; and thus both the sense attached to the term death, in Scripture, when applied to the soul, as well as the proper sense of that term itself, and the reason of the thing, forbid that interpretation.
The death threatened to Adam, we conclude, therefore, to have extended to the Soul of man as well as to his body, though not in the sense of annihilation; hut, for the confirmation of this, it is necessary to refer more particularly to the language of Scripture, which is its own best interpreter, and it will be seen, that the opinion of those divines who include in the penalty attached to the first offence, the very "fulness of death," as It has been justly termed, death bodily, spiritual, and eternal, is not to be puffed away by sarcasm, but stands firm on inspired testimony.
Beside death, as it is opposed to animal life, and which consists in the separation of the rational soul from the body, the Scriptures speak of the life and death of the soul in a moral the union of the soul to God, and is manifested by those vigorous, grateful, and holy affections, which are, of this union with God. The second consists in a separation of the soul from communion with God and is manifested by the dominion of earthly and corrupt dispositions and habits, and an entire indifference or aversion to spiritual and heavenly things. This, too, is represented as the state of all who are not quickened by the instrumentality of the Gospel, employed for this purpose by the power and agency of its Divine Authority. "And you hath he quickened who were DEAD in trespasses and sins." The state of a regenerate mind is, in accordance with this view, represented as a resurrection, and a passing "from death unto life;" and both to Christ and to the Holy Spirit is this work of quickening the souls of men and pre serving them in moral or spiritual life attributed. To interpret, then the death pronounced upon Adam as including moral death, seeing that he, by his transgression, fell actually into the same moral state as a sinner against God, in which all those persons now are who are dead in trespasses and sins, is in entire accordance with the language of Scripture. For, if a state of sin in them is a state of spiritual death, then a state of sin in him was a state of spiritual death; and that both by natural consequence, tile same cause producing the same effect, and also by the appointment of God, who departs from sinful men, and, withdrawing himself from all communion with the guilty, withdraws thereby the only source of moral or spiritual life.
But the highest sense of the term "death," in Scripture, is the punish meat of the soul in a future state, both by a loss of happiness and separation from God and also by a positive infliction of Divine wrath. Now this is stated, not as peculiar to any dispensation of religion, but as common to all; as the penalty of the transgression of the law of God in every degree. "Sin is the transgression of the law," this is its definition; "the wages of sin is death," this is its penalty. Here we have no mention made of any particular sin, as rendering the transgressor liable to this penalty, nor of any particular circumstance under which sin may be committed, as calling forth that fatal expression of the Divine displeasure; but of sin itself generally :-of transgression of the Divine law, in every form and degree, it is affirmed, "the wages of sin is DEATH." This is, therefore, to be considered as an axiom in the jurisprudence of Heaven. "Sin," says St. James, with like absolute and unqualified manner, "when it is finished, bringeth forth DEATH;" nor have we the least intimation given in Scripture, that any sin whatever is exempted from this penalty; that some sins are punished in this life only, and others in the life to come. The degree of punishment will be varied by the offence; but death is the penalty attached to all sinless it is averted by pardon, which itself supposes that in law the penalty has been incurred. What was there, then, in the case of Adam to take him out of this rule? His act was a transgression of the law, and therefore sin; as sin, its wages was "death," which, in Scripture, we have seen, means, in its highest sense, future punishment.
To this Dr. Taylor, whom most modern writers who deny the doctrine of original sin have followed, objects: "Death was to be the consequence of his disobedience, and the death here threatened can be opposed only to that life God gave Adam when he created him."
To this it has been replied:-
True: but how are you assured, that God, when he created him, did not give him spiritual, as well as animal, life? Now spiritual death is opposed to spiritual life. And this is more than the death of the body.
But this, you say, is pure conjecture, without a solid foundation. For no other life is spoken of before. Yes there is. The image of God is spoken of before. This is not therefore pure conjecture; but k grounded upon a solid foundation, upon the plain word of God. Al lowing then that 'Adam could understand it of no other life than that which he had newly received;' yet would he naturally understand it of the life of God in his soul, as well as of the life of his body. In this light therefore the sense of the threatening will stand thus: 'Thou shalt surely die;' as if he had said, I have formed thee of the dust of the ground, and 'breathed into thy nostrils the breath of lives,' both of animal and spiritual life; and in both respects thou art become a living soul. 'But if thou eatest of the forbidden tree, thou shalt cease to be a living soul. For I will take from thee' the lives I have given, and thou shalt die spiritually, temporally, eternally." (Wesley on Original Sin.)
The answer of President Edwards is more at large.
"To this I would say; it is true, death is opposed to life, and must be understood according to the nature of that life, to which it is opposed. But does it therefore follow, that nothing can be meant by it but the loss of life? Misery is opposed to happiness, and sorrow is in Scripture, often opposed to joy; but can we conclude from thence, that nothing is meant in Scripture by sorrow, but the loss of joy? Or that there is no more in misery, than the loss or absence of happiness? And if the death threatened to Adam can, with certainty, be opposed only to the life given to Adam, when God created him; I think a state of perfect, perpetual, and hopeless misery is properly opposed to that state Adam was in when God created him. For I suppose it will not be denied, that the life Adam had, was truly a happy life; happy in perfect innocency, in the favour of his Maker, surrounded with the happy fruits and testimonies of his love. And I think it has been proved, that he also was happy in a state of perfect righteousness. Nothing is more manifest than that it is agreeable to a very common acceptation of the word life in Scripture, that it be understood as signifying a state of excellent and happy existence. Now that which is most opposite to that life and state in which Adam was created, is a state of total, confirmed wickedness, and perfect hopeless misery, under the Divine displeasure and curse; not excluding temporal death, or the destruction of the body, as an introduction to it.
"Beside, that which is much more evident than any thing Dr. T. says on this head, is, that the death which was to come on Adam, as the punishment of his disobedience, was opposed to that life, which he would have had as the reward of his obedience in case he had not sinned. Obedience and disobedience are contraries; the threatenings and promises which are sanctions of a law, are set in direct opposition; and the promises, rewards, and threatened punishments, are most properly taken as each other's opposites. But none will deny, that the life Which would have been Adam's reward, if he had persisted in obedience, was eternal life. And therefore we argue justly that the death which stands opposed to that life, (Dr. T. himself being judge,) is manifestly eternal death, a death widely different from the death we now die-to use his own words. If Adam for his persevering obedience, Was to have had everlasting life and happiness, in perfect holiness, union with his Maker, and enjoyment of his favour, and this was the life which was to be confirmed by the tree of life; then, doubtless, the death threatened in case of disobedience, which stands in direct opposition to this, was an exposure to everlasting wickedness and misery, in separation from God, and in enduring his wrath." (Original Sin.)
The next question is, whether Adam is to be considered as a mere of whose misconduct terminated in himself; or no otherwise affected his posterity than dentally as the misconduct of an ordinary parent may affect the circumstances of his children: or whether he is to be regarded as a public man, the head and representative of the human race, who, in consequence of his fall have fallen with him, and received direct hurt and injury in the constitution of their bodies, and the moral state of their minds.
The testimony of Scripture is so explicit on this point, that all the attempts to evade it have been in vain. In Romans v, Adam and Christ are contrasted in their public or federal character, and the hurt which mankind have derived from the one, and the healing they have received the other, are also contrasted in various particulars, which are equally represented as the affects of the "offence" of Adam, and of the Adam, indeed, in verse 14, is called, with evident allusion to this public representative character, the figure, (tupo~,) type, or model "of him that was to come." The same apostle also adopts the phrases, "the first Adam," and "the second Adam," which mode of speaking can only he explained on the ground, that as sin and death descended from one, so righteousness and life flow from the other; and that what Christ is to all his spiritual seed, that Adam is to all his natural descendants. On this, indeed, the parallel is founded, I Cor. xv, 22, "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive," words which on any other hypothesis can have no natural signification. Nor is there any weight in the observation, that this relation of Adam to his descendants is not expressly stated in the history of the fall; since, if it were not indicated in that account, the comment of an inspired apostle is, doubtless, a sufficient authority, But the fact is, that the threatenings pronounced upon the first pair have all respect to their posterity as well as to themselves. The death threatened affects all,- "In Adam all die," "death entered by sin," that is, by his sin, and then "passed upon all men." The painful childbearing threatened upon Eve has passed on to her daughters. The ground was cursed, hut that' affected Adam's posterity also, who, to this hour, are doomed to eat their bread by" the sweat of their brow." Even the first blessing, "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it," was clearly Pronounced upon them as public persons, and both by its very terms and the nature of the thing. since they alone could neither replenish the earth nor subject it to their use and dominion, comprehended their posterity. In all these cases they are addressed in such a form of speech as is appropriated to individuals; but the circumstances of the case infallibly show, that, in the whole transaction, they stood before their Maker as public persons, and as the legal representatives of their descendants, though in so many words they are not invested with these titles.
The condition in which this federal connection between Adam and to be exhibited. The imputation of Adam's sin to his posterity has been a point greatly debated. In the language of theologians it is considered as mediate or immediate. Our mortality of body and the corrupt ion of our moral nature, in virtue of our derivation from him, is what is meant by the mediate imputation of his sin to us: by immediate imputation is meant that Adam's sin is accounted ours in the sight of God. by virtue of our federal relation.
To support the latter notion, various illustrative phrases have been used: as, that Adam and his posterity constitute one moral person, and that the whole human race was in him, its head, consenting to his act, &c. This is so little agreeable to that distinct agency which enters into the very notion of an accountable being, that it cannot be maintain, and it destroys the sound distinction between original and actual sin. It asserts, indeed, the imputation of the actual commission of Adam's sin to his descendants, which is false in fact; makes us stand chargeable with the full latitude of his transgression, and its attendant circumstances; and constitutes us, separate from all actual voluntary offence, equally guilty with him, all which are repugnant equally to our consciousness and to the equity of the case.
The other opinion does not, however, appear to go the length of Scripture, which must not be warped by the reasonings of erring man. There is another view of the imputation of the offence of Adam to us which is more consistent with its testimony. This is very clearly stated by Dr. Watts in his answer to Dr. Taylor.
"When a man has broken the law of his country, and is punished for so doing, it is plain that tin is imputed to him: his wickedness is upon him; he bears his iniquity; that is, he is reputed or accounted guilty: he is condemned and dealt with as an offender.
"But if a man, having committed treason, his estate is taken from him and his children, then they bear the iniquity of their father, and his sin is imputed to them also.
"If a man lose his life and estate for murder, and his children thereby become vagabonds, then the blood of the person murdered is said to be Upon the murderer and upon his children also. So the Jews: His blood be on us and on our children; let us and our children be punished for it.
"But it may be asked, How can the acts of the parent's treason be imputed to his little child? Since those acts were quite out of the reach of an infant, nor was it possible for him to commit them ?-I answer, "Those acts of treason or acts of service are, by a common figure, said to be imputed to the children, when they suffer or enjoy the consequences of their father's treason or eminent service: though the particular actions of treason or service, could not be practised by the children. This would easily be understood should it occur in human history. And why not when it occurs in the sacred writings.
"Sin is taken either for an act of disobedience to a law, or for the regal result of such an act; that is, the guilt, or liableness to punishment. Now when we say, the sin of a traitor is imputed to his children. we do not mean that the act of the father is charged upon the child; but that the guilt or liableness to punishment is so transferred to him that he suffers banishment or poverty on account of it.
"Thus the sin of Achan was so imputed to his children, that they were all stoned on account of it, Josh. vii, 24. In like manner the covetousness of Gehazi was imputed to his posterity, 2 Kings v, 27; when God by his prophet pronounced, that the leprosy should cleave unto him and to his seed forever.
"The Scriptures, both of the Old and New Testament, use the words sin and iniquity, (both in Hebrew and Greek,) to signify not only the criminal actions themselves, but also the result and consequences of those actions, that is, the guilt or liableness to punishment: and sometimes the punishment itself, whether it fall upon the original criminal, or upon others on his account.
"Indeed, when sin or righteousness is said to be imputed to any man, on account of what himself bath done, the words usually denote both the good or evil actions themselves, and the legal result of them. But when the sin or righteousness of one person is said to be imputed to another, then generally those words mean only the result thereof; that is, a liableness to punishment on the one hand, and to reward on the other.
"But let us say what we will, in order to confine the sense of the imputation of sin and righteousness to the legal result, the reward or punishment of good or evil actions; let us ever so explicitly deny the imputation of the actions themselves to others, still Dr. Taylor will level almost all his arguments against the imputation of the actions themselves, and then triumph in having demolished what we never built, and in refuting what we never asserted."
In the sense then above given, we may safely contend for the imputation of Adam's sin; and this precisely with the Apostle Paul, who speaks of the imputation of sin to these who" had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's trangression," that is, to all who lived between and, consequently, to infants who personally had not offended; and also declares, that, "by one man's disobedience many were made, constituted, accounted, and dealt with as sinners," and treated as had actually sinned: for, that this is his sense, is clear from what follows, "so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous,"-constituted, accounted, and dealt with as such, though not actually righteous, but, in fact, pardoned criminals. The first consequence, then, of this imputation is the death of the body, to which all the descendants of Adam are made liable, and that on account of the sin of Adam.-" through the offence of one many are dead." But though this is. the first, it is far from being the only consequence. For, as throughout the apostle's reasoning in the fifth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, to which reference has been made, "the gift," "the free gift," "the gift by grace," mean one and the same thing, even the whole benefit given by the abounding grace of God, through the obedience of Christ; and as these verses are evidently parallel to 1st Corinthians xv, 22, "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive," "it follows that dying and being made alive, in the latter passage, do not refer to the body only, but that dying implies all the evils temporal and spiritual which are derived from Adam's sin, and being made alive, all the blessings which are derived from Christ in time and in eternity." (Wesley on Original Sin.)
The second consequence is, therefore, death spiritual that moral state which arises from the withdrawment of that intercourse of God with the human soul, in consequence of its becoming polluted, and of that influence upon it which is the only source and spring of the right and vigorous direction and employment of its powers in which its rectitude consists; a deprivation, from which a depravation consequently and necessarily follows. This, we have before seen, was included in the original threatening, and if Adam was a public person, a representative of it has passed on to his descendants, who, in their natural state, are therefore said to be: dead in trespasses and sins." Thus it is that the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; and that all evils naturally proceed from it," as corrupt streams from a corrupt fountain.
The third consequence is eternal death, separation from God, and glory in a future state. This follows from both the above premises,-from the federal character of Adam; and life given by Christ being opposed by the apostle to the death derived from Adam. The justice of this is objected to, a point which will be immediately considered; but it is now sufficient to say, that in the making the descendants of Adam liable to eternal death, because of his offence, be unjust, the infliction of temporal death is so also; the duration of the punishment making no difference in the simple question of justice. If punishment, 'whether of loss or of pain, be unjust, its measure and duration may be a greater or a less injustice; but it is unjust in every degree. If, then, we only confine the hurt we have received from Adam to bodily death; if this legal result of his transgression only be imputed to us, and we are so constituted sinners as to become liable to it, we are in precisely the same difficulty, as to the equity of the proceeding, as when that legal result is extended farther. The only way out of this dilemma is that consider death not as a punishment, but as a blessing, which involves the absurdity of making it threaten a benefit as a penalty for an offence, which sufficiently refutes the notion.
The objections which have been raised against the imputation of Adam's offence, in the extent we have stated it, on the ground of the justice of the proceeding, are of two kinds. The former are leveled not against that Scriptural view of the case which has just been exhibited, but against that repulsive and shocking perversion of it which is found in the high Calvinistic creed, which consigns infants, not elect, to a conscious and endless punishment, and that not of loss only, but of pain, for this first offence of another. The latter springs from regarding the legal part of the whole transaction which affected our first parents and their posterity, separately from the mercy which was concurrent with it, and which included, in like manner both them and their whole race. With the high Calvinistic view we have now nothing to do. It will stand or fail with the doctrines of election and reprobation, as held by that school, and these will be examined in their place. The latter class of objections now claim our attention; and as to them we observe, that, as the question relates to the moral government of God, if one part of the transaction before us is intimately and inseparably connected with another and collateral procedure, it 'cannot certainly be viewed in its true light but in that connection. The redemption of man by Christ was not certainly an after thought brought in upon man's apostasy; it was provision, and then man fell, he found justice hand in hand with mercy. What are, then, the facts of the whole case? For greater clearness, let us take Adam and the case of his adult descendants first. All become liable to bodily death; here was justice, the end of which is to support law, as that supports government. By means of the anticipated sacrifice of the Redeemer's atonement, which as we shall in its place show, is an effectual means of declaring the justice of God, the sentence is reversed, not by exemption from bodily death. but by a happy and glorious resurrection. For, as this was an act of grace, almighty God humanly, the circumstances under which it should be administered, in ordering which the unerring wisdom of God had its natural influence. The evil of sin was still to be kept visible before the universe, for its admonition, by the actual infliction of death upon all men; the grace was to be manifested in reparation of the loss by restoration to immortality. Again, God, the fountain of spiritual life, forsook the soul of Adam and unfit for his residence. He became morally dead and corrupt, and, as "that flesh," this is the natural state of his ascendants. Here was justice, a display of the evil of sin, and of the penalty which it ever immediately induces-man forsaken by God, and a picture to the whole universe of corruption and misery, resulting from that departure from him which is imp lied in one sinful act, But that spiritual quickening influence visits him from another quarter and through other means. The second Adam "is a quickening Spirit." The Holy Spirit is the purchase of his redemption, to be given to man, that he may again infuse into his corrupted nature the heavenly life, and sanctify and regenerate it. Here is the mercy. As to a future state, eternal life is promised to all men believing in Christ, which reverses the sentence of eternal death. Here again is the manifestation of mercy. Should this be rejected, he stands liable to the whole penalty, to the punishment of loss as the natural consequence of his corrupted nature which renders him unfit for heaven: to the punishment of even pain for the original offence, we may also, without injustice, say, as to an adult, whose actual transgressions, when the means of deliverance have been afforded him by Christ, is a consenting to all rebellion against God, and to that of Adam himself: and to the penalty of his own actual transgressions, aggravated by his having made light of the Gospel. Here is the collateral display of justice. In all this, it is impossible to impeach the equity of the Divine procedure, since no man ultimately by the sin of Adam, but by his own wilful obstinacy-the "abounding of Christ, having placed before all men, upon their believing, not merely compensation for the loss and injury sustained by Adam, hut infinitely higher blessings, both in kind or degree, than were forfeited in him. As to adults, then, the objection taken from Divine justice is unsupported.
We now come to the case of persons dying in infancy. The great consideration which leads to a solution of this case is found in Romans v, 18, "Therefore, as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one the free gift Came upon all men unto justification of life." In these words, the sin of Adam and the merits of Christ are pronounced to be co-extensive; the words applied to both are precisely the same, "judgment came upon ALL MEN," "the FREE GIFT came upon ALL MEN." If the whole human race be meant in the former clause, the whole human race is meant in the latter also; and it follows that as all are injured by the offence of Adam, so all are benefited by the obedience of Christ. Whatever, therefore, that benefit may be, all children dying in infancy must partake of it, or there would be a large portion of the human race upon whom the "free gift," the effects of "the righteousness of one," did not "come," which is contrary to the apostle's words.
This benefit, whatever it might be, did not so "come upon all men" as to relieve them immediately from the sentence of death.. This is obvious, from men being still liable to die, and from the existence of a corrupt nature or spiritual death in all mankind. As this is the case with adults, who grow up from a state of childhood, and who can both trace the corruptness of their nature to their earliest years, and were always liable to bodily death; so, for this reason, it did not come immediately upon children, whether they die in infancy or not- For there is no more reason to conclude that those children who die in infancy were born with a pure nature, than they who live to manhood; and the fact of their being born liable to death, a part of the penalty, is sufficient to show that they were born under the whole malediction.
The "free gift," however, which has come upon all men, by the righteousness of one, is said to be "unto justification of life," the full reversal of the penalty of death; and, by "the abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness," the benefit extends to the "reigning in life by one, Jesus Christ." If the "free gift" is so given to all men that this is the end for which it is given, then is this "justification of life," and this "reigning in life by Jesus Christ," as truly within the reach of infants, dying in infancy, as within the reach of adults living to years of choice. This "free gift" is bestowed upon "all men," nc, in order to justification of life; it follows, then, that, in the case of infants, this gift may be connected with the end for which it was given, as well as in the case of adults, or it would be given in vain, and in fact be, in no sense whatever, a gift or benefit, standing opposed, in Its result, to condemnation and death.
Now we know clearly by what means the "free gift," which is bestowed in order to justification of life, (that is, that act of God by which a sinner, under sentence of death, is adjudged to life,) is connected with~', that end in the case of adults. The gift "comes upon them," in its effects, very largely, independent of any thing they do-in the long: suffering of God; in the instructions of the Gospel; the warnings of ministers; the corrective dispensations of Providence; above all, in preventing grace, and the influences of the Holy Spirit removing so much of their spiritual death as to excite in them various degrees of religious feeling, and enabling them to seek the face of God, to turn at his rebuke, and, by improving that grace, to repent and believe the Gospel. In a word, "justification of life" is offered them; nay, more, it is pressed upon them, and they fail of it only by rejecting it. If they yield and embrace the offer, then the end for which "the free gift came" upon them is attained-"justification of life.
As to infants, they are not, indeed, born justified and regenerate; so that to say that original sin is taken away, as to infants, by Christ, is not the correct view of the case, for the reasons before given; but they are all born under the "free gift," the effects of the " righteousness" of one, which extended to "all men;" and this free gift is bestowed on them in order to justification of life, the adjudging of the condemned to live. All the mystery, therefore, in the case arises from this, that in adults we see the free gift connected with its end, actual justification, by acts of their own, repentance and faith; but as to infants, we are not informed by what process justification, with its attendant blessings, is actually bestowed, though the words of the apostle are express, that through "the righteousness of one" they are entitled to it. Nor is it surprising that this process should be hidden from us, since the Gospel was written for adults, though the benefit of it is designed for all; and the knowledge of this work of God, in the spirit of an infant, must presuppose an acquaintance with the properties of the human soul, which is, in fact, out of our reach. (If, however, an infant is not capable of a voluntary acceptance of the benefit of the "free gift;" neither, on the other hand, is it capable of a voluntary rejection of it; and it is by rejecting it that adults perish. If much of the benefit of this "free gift" comes upon us as adults, independent of our seeking it; and if, indeed, the very power and inclination to seek justification of life is thus prevenient, and in the highest sense free; it follows, by the same rule of the Divine conduct, that the Holy Spirit may be given to children; that a Divine and an effectual influence may be exerted on them, which, meeting with no voluntary resistance, shall cure the spiritual death and Corrupt tendency of their nature; and all this without supposing any great difference in the principle of the administration of this grace in their case and that of adults. But the different circumstances of children dying in their infancy, and adults, proves also that a different administration of the same grace, which is freely bestowed upon all, must take place. Adults are personal offenders, infants are not; for the former, confession of sin, repentance, and the trust of persons consciously perishing for their transgressions, are appropriate to their circumstances, but not to those of the latter; and the very wisdom of God may assure us that, in prescribing the terms of salvation, that is, the means by which the "free gift" shall pass to its issue, justification of life, the circumstances of the persons must be taken into account. The reason of pardon, in every case, is not repentance, not faith, not any thing done by man, but the merit of the sacrifice of Christ. Repentance and faith are, it is true, in the case of adults, a sine qua non, but in no sense the meritorious cause. The reasons of their being attached to the promise, as conditions, are nowhere given, but they are nowhere enforced as such, except on adults. It; in adults, we see the meritorious cause working in conjunction with instrumental causes, they are capable of what is required; but when we see, even in adults, that, independent of their own acts, the meritorious cause is not inert, but fruitful in vital influence and gracious dealing, we see such a separation of the operation of the grand meritorious cause, and the subordinate instrumental causes, as to prove that the benefits of the death of Christ are not, in every degree, and consequently, on the same principle, not in every case, conferred under the restraints of conditions. So certainly is infant salvation attested by the Scriptures; so explicitly are we told that the free gift is come upon all men to justification of life, and that none can come short of this blessing but those who reject it.
But there is another class of instrumental causes to be taken into the account in the case of children; though they arise not out of their personal acts. The first and greatest, and general one, is the intercession of Christ himself, which can never be fruitless; and that children are the objects of his intercession is certain, both from his office as the intercessor of all mankind, the "mediator between God and man," that is, all men; and from his actually praying for children in the days of his abode on earth. "He took them up in his arms and blessed them;" which benediction was either in the form of prayer, or it was authoritative, which makes the case still stronger. As to their future state, he seems also to open a sufficiently encouraging view, when he declares that, "of such is the kingdom of heaven;" for, whether we understand this of future felicity, or of the Church, the case is settled; in neither case can they be under wrath, and liable to condemnation.
Other instrumental causes of the communication of this benefit infants, wherever the ordinances of the Christian Church are established, and used in faith, are the prayers of parents, and baptism in the name of Christ; means which cannot be without their effect, both as to infants who die, and those who live; and which, as God's own ordinances, he cannot but honour, in different degrees, it may be, as to those who live and those whom he intends to call to himself; but which are still means of grace, and channels of saving influence; or they are dead forms, ill becoming that which is so eminently a dispensation, not of the letter, but of the spirit.
The injustice, then, alleged as implicated in the doctrine of original sin, when considered in this its whole and Scriptural view, entirely vanishes; and, at the same time, the evil of sin is manifested, and the justice also of the Lawgiver, for mercy comes not by relaxing the hold of justice. That still has its full manifestation in the exaction of vicarious obedience to death, even the death of the cross, from the second Adam, who made himself the federal head of fallen men, and gave "justification unto life" only by his submission to "judgment unto condemnation."
Having thus established the import of the death threatened as the penalty Adam' transgression, to include corporal, moral, or spiritual or and eternal death; and showed, that the sentence included also the whole of his posterity, our next is to ascertain that moral condition actually born into the world , notwithstanding at gracious provision which is made in Christ for human redemption. On this the testimony of Scripture is so explicit and ample, and its humbling representations are so borne out by consciousness and by experience, that it may well be matter of surprise, that the natural innocence of human nature should ever have had its advocates, at least among those who profess to receive the Bible as the word of God. In entering upon the subject of this corruption of human nature, it must first be stated that there are several facts of history and experience to be accounted for; and that they must all be taken into account in the different theories which are advocated.
1. That in all ages great, and even general wickedness has prevailed among those large masses of men which are called nations.
So far as it relates to the immediate descendants of A am before the flood; to all the nations of the highest antiquity; to the Jews through. out every period of their history, down to their final dispersion; and to the empires and other states whose history is involved in theirs; we have the historical evidence of Scripture, and much collateral evidence also from their own historians.
To what does this evidence go, but, to say the least, the actual depravity of the majority of mankind in all these ages, and among all these nations? As to the race before the flood, a murderer sprang up in the first family, and the world became increasingly corrupt, until "God saw that the wickedness of man was great, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually;" "that all flesh had corrupted their way upon earth ;" and that "the earth Was filled with violence through them." Only Noah was found righteous before God; and because of the universal wickedness, a wickedness which spurned all warning, and resisted all correction, the flood was brought upon the world of the ungodly, as a testimony of Divine anger.
The same course of increasing wickedness is exhibited in the sacred records as taking place after the flood. The building of the tower of Babel was a wicked act, done by general concert, before the division of nations; this we know from its having excited the Divine displeasure, though we know not in what the particular crime consisted. After the division of nations, the history of the times of Abraham, Lot, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses, sufficiently show that idolatry, injustice, oppression, and gross sensualities characterized the people of Canaan, Egypt, and every other country mentioned in the Mosaic narrative.
The obstinate inclination of the Israelites to idolatry, through all ages to the Babylonish captivity, and the general prevalence of vice among men, is acknowledged in every part of the Old Testament. Their moral wickedness, after their return from Babylon, when they no longer practised idolatry, and were, therefore, delivered from that most fruitful source of crime, may be collected from the writers of the Old Testament who lived after that event; and their general corruption in the time of our Lord and his apostles stands forth with disgusting prominence in their writings and in the writings of Josephus, their own historian.
As to all other ancient nations, of whom we have any history, the accounts agree in stating the general prevalence of practical immorality and of malignant and destructive passions; and if we had no such acknowledgments from themselves; if no such reproaches were mutually cast upon each other; if history were not, as indeed it is, a record of crimes, in action and in detail; and if poets, moralists, and satirists did not all give their evidence, by assuming that men were influenced by general principles of vice, expressing themselves in particular modes in different ages, the following great facts would prove the case :- The fact of GENERAL RELIGIOUS ERROR, and that in the very fundamental principles of religion, such as the existence of one only God; which universal corruption of doctrine among all the ancient nations mentioned above, shows both indifference to truth and hostility against it, and therefore proves, at least, the general corruption of men's hearts, of which even indifference to religious truth is a sufficient indication.
The universal prevalence of IDOLATRY, which not only argues great debasement of intellect, but deep wickedness of heart, because, in all ages, idolatry has been more or less immoral in its influence, and generally grossly so, by leading directly to sanguinary and impure practices.
The prevalence of SUPERSTITION wherever idolatry has prevailed, and often when that has not existed, is another proof. The essence of this evil is the transfer of fear and hope from God to real or imaginary creatures and things, and so is a renunciation of allegiance to God, as the Governor of the world, and a practical denial either of his being or his providence.
Aggressive WARS, in the guilt of which all nations and all uncivilized tribes have been, in all ages, involved, and which necessarily suppose hatred, revenge, cruelty, injustice, and ambition.
The accounts formerly given of the innocence and harmlessness of the Hindoos, Chinese, the inhabitants of the South Sea Islands, and other parts of the world, are now found to be total mistakes or wilful falsehoods.
In all heathen nations, idolatry, superstition, fraud, oppression, and vices of almost every description, show the general state of society to be exceedingly and even destructively corrupt; and though Mohammedan nations escape the charge of idolatry, yet pride, avarice, oppression, injustice, cruelty, sensuality, and gross superstition are all prevalent among them.
The case of Christian nations, though in them immorality is more powerfully checked than in any other, and many bright and influential examples of the highest virtue are found among their inhabitants, sufficiently proves that the majority are corrupt and vicious in their habits. The impiety and profaneness; the neglect of the fear and worship of God; the fraud and villany continually taking place in the commerce of mankind; the intemperance of various kinds which is found among all classes; the oppression of the poor; and many other evils, are in proof of this; and, indeed, we may confidently conclude, that no advocate of the natural innocence of man will contend that the majority of men, even in this country, are actually virtuous in their external conduct, and much less that the fear and love of God, and habitual respect to his will, which are, indeed, the only principles which can be deemed to constitute a person righteous, influence the people at large, or even any very large proportion of them.
The fact, then, is established, which was before laid down, that men in all ages and in all places have, at least, been generally wicked.
2. The second fact to be accounted for is, the strength of that tendency to the wickedness that we have seen to be general.
The strength of the corrupting principle, whatever it may be, is marked by two circumstances.
The first is the greatness of the crimes to which men have abandoned themselves.
If the effects of the corrupt principle had only been manifested in trifling errors, and practical infirmities, a softer view of the moral condition in which man is born into the world might, probably, have been admitted; but in the catalogue of human crimes, in all ages, and among great numbers of all nations, but more especially among those nations where there has been the least control of religion, and, there. fore, where the natural dispositions of men have exhibited themselves under the simplest and most convincing evidence, we find frauds, oppressions, faithlessness, barbarous cruelties and murders, unfeeling Oppressions, falsehoods, every kind of uncleanness, uncontrolled anger, deadly hatred and revenge, as to their fellow creatures, and proud and scornful rebellion against GOD.
The second is, the number and influence of the checks and restraints against which this tide of wickedness has urged on its almost resistless and universal course.
It has opposed itself against the law of God, in some degree found among all men; consequently, against the checks and remorse of conscience; against a settled conviction of the evil of most of the actions indulged in, which is shown by their having been blamed in others (at least whenever any have suffered by them) by those who themselves have been in the habit of committing them.
Against the restraints of human laws, and the authority of magistrates; for, in all ancient states, the moral corruption continued to spread until they were politically dissolved, society not being able to hold itself together, in consequence of the excessive height to which: long indulgence had raised passion and appetite.
Against the provision made to check human vices by that judicial: act of the Governor of the world, by which he shortened the life of man, and rendered it uncertain, and, at the longest, brief.
Against another provision made by the Governor of the world, in part with the same view, i. e. the dooming of man to earn his sustenance by labour, and thus providing for the occupation of the greater portion of time in what was innocent, and rendering the means of sensual indulgences more scanty, and the opportunities of actual immorality more limited.
Against the restraints put upon vice, by rendering it, by the constitution and the very nature of things, the source of misery of all kinds and degrees, national, domestic, personal, mental, and bodily.
Against the terrible judgments which God has, in all ages, brought: upon wicked nations and notorious individuals, many of which visitations were known and acknowledged to be the signal manifestations of his displeasure against their vices.
Against those counteractive and reforming influences of the revelations of the will and mercy of God, which at different times have been vouchsafed to the world: as, against the light and influence of the patriarchal religion before the giving of the law; against the Mosaic institute, and the warnings of prophets among the Jews; against the religious knowledge which was transmitted from them among heathen nations connected with their history, at different periods; against the influence of Christianity when introduced into the Roman empire, and when transmitted to the Gothic nations, by all of whom it was grossly corrupted; and against the control of the same Divine religion in our own country, where it is exhibited in its purity, and in which the' most active endeavours are adopted to enlighten and correct society.
It is impossible to consider the number and power of these checks without acknowledging, that those principles in human nature which give rise to the mass of moral evil which actually exists, and has always existed since men began to multiply upon the earth, are most powerful and formidable in their tendency.
3. The third fact is, that the seeds of the vices which exist in so be discovered in children in their earliest years ;selfishness, envy, pride, resentment, deceit, lying, and often cruelty ; and so much is this the case, so explicitly is this acknowledged by all, that it is the principal object of the moral branch of education to restrain and correct those evils, both by coercion and by diligently impressing upon children, their faculties open, the evil an mischief of all such affections and tendencies.
4. The fourth fact is, that every man is conscious of a natural tendency to many evils.
These tendencies are different in degree and in kind. In some they move to ambition, and pride, and excessive love of honour; in others, to anger, revenge, and implacableness; in others, to cowardice, meanness, and fear; in others, to avarice, care, and distrust; in others, to sensuality and prodigality. But where is the man who has not his peculiar constitutional tendency to some evil in one of these classes But there are, also, evil tendencies common to all. These are, to love creatures more than God; to forget God; to be indifferent to our obligations to him to regard the opinions of men more than the approbation of God; to be more influenced by the visible things which surround us than by the invisible God, whose eye is ever upon us, and by that invisible state to which we are all hastening.
It is the constant practice of those who advocate the natural innocence of man, to lower the standard of the Divine law under which man is placed; and to this they are necessarily driven, in order to give some plausibility to their opinions. They must palliate the conduct of men; and this can only be done by turning moral evils into natural ones, or into innocent infirmities, and by so stating the requisitions made upon our obedience by our Maker, as to make them consistent with many irregularities. But we have already shown, that the love of God requires our supreme love and our entire obedience; and it will, therefore, follow, that whatever is contrary to love and to entire subjection, whether in principle, in thought, in word, and in action, is sinful; and if so, then the tendency to evil, in every man, must, and on these premises will, be allowed. Nor will it serve any purpose to say, that man's weakness and infirmity is such that he cannot yield this perfect obedience; for means of sanctification and supernatural aid are provided for him in the Gospel; and what is it that renders him indifferent to them but the corruptness of his heart?
Beside, this very plea allows all we contend for. It allows that the law is lowered, because of human inability to observe it and to resist temptation; but this itself proves, (were we even to admit the fiction of this lowering of the requisitions of the law,) that man is not now in the state in which he was created, or it would not have been necessary to bring the standard of obedience down to his impaired condition.
5. The fifth fact is, that, even after has been formed in men to renounce these views, and "to live righteously, soberly, and godly," as becomes creatures made to glorify God, and on their trial for eternity, strong and constant resistance is made and inclinations of the heart at ever step of the attempt.
This is so clearly a matter of universal experience, that, in the moral writings of every age and country, and in the very phrases and turns of all languages, virtue is associated with difficulty, and represented under the notion of a warfare. Virtue has always, therefore, been represented as the subject of acquirement; and resistance of evil as being necessary to its preservation. It has been made to consist in self rule, which is, of course, restraint upon opposite tendencies; the mind is said to be subject to diseases, and the remedy for these diseases is placed in something outward to itself-in religion, among inspired men; in philosophy, among the heathen.
This constant struggle against the rules and resolves of virtue has been acknowledged in all ages, and among Christian nations more especially, where, just as the knowledge of what the Divine law requires is diffused, the sense of the difficulty of approaching to its requisition is felt; and in proportion as the efforts made to conform to it are sincere, is the despair which arises from repeated and constant defeats, when time aid of Divine grace is not called in. "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?"
These five facts of universal history and experience, as they cannot be denied, and as it would be most absurd to discuss the moral condition of human nature without any reference to them, must be accounted for; and it shall now be our business to inquire, whether they can be 1 best explained on the hypothesis drawn from the Scripture, that man is by nature totally corrupt and degenerate, and of himself incapable of any good thing; or on the hypothesis of man's natural goodness, r, at worst, his natural indifference equally to good and to evil; notions which come to us ambition with this disadvantage, that they have no text of Scripture to adduce to afford them any plausible support whatever.
The testimony of Scripture is decidedly in favour of the first hypothesis.
It has already been established, that the full penalty of Adam's offence passed upon his posterity; and, consequently, that part of it which consists in the spiritual death which has been before explained. A full provision to meet this case is, indeed, as we have seen, made in the Gospel; but that does not affect the state in which men are born. It is a cure for an actually existing disease brought by us into the world; for, were not this the case, the evangelical institution would be one of prevention, not of remedy, under which light it is always represented.
If, then, we are all born in a state of spiritual death; that is, with influence of God upon our faculties, which we have seen necessary to give them a right, a holy tendency and to maintain them in it; and if that is restored to man by a dispensation of grace and favour, it follows that, in his natural state, be is born with sinful propensities, and that, by nature, he is capable, in his own strength, of "no good thing."
With this the Scriptural account agrees.
It is probable, though great stress need not be laid upon it, that when it is said, Gen. v, 3, that "Adam begat a son in his own likeness," that there is an implied opposition between the likeness of God, in which Adam was made, and the likeness of Adam, in which his son was begotten. It is not said, that he begat a son in the likeness of God; a very appropriate expression if Adam had not fallen, and if human nature had sustained, in consequence, no injury; and such a declaration was apparently called for, had this been the case, to show, what would have been a very important fact, that, notwithstanding the personal delinquency of Adam, yet human nature itself bad sustained no deterioration, but was propagated without corruption. ()n the contrary, it is said, that be begat a son in his own likeness; which, probably, was mentioned on purpose to exclude the idea, that the image of God was hereditary in man. in Gen. vi, 5, it is stated, as the cause of the flood? that "God saw that the wickedness of man was teat in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was Here it is true, that the actual moral state of the antediluvians may only be spoken of, and that the text does not directly prove the doctrine of hereditary depravity: yet is the actual wickedness of man traced up to the heart, as its natural source, in a manner which seems to intimate, that the doctrine of the natural corruption of man was held by the writer, and by that his mode of expression was influenced. "The heart of man is here put for his soul. This God had formed with a marvelous thinking power. But so is his soul debased, that every imagination,. figment, formation of the thoughts of it, is evil, only evil, continually evil. Whatever it forms within itself as a thinking power, is an evil formation. If all men's actual wickedness sprung from the evil formation of their corrupt heart, and if, consequently, they were sinners from the birth, so are all others likewise." (Hebden.)
That this was the theological sentiment held and taught by Moses, and implied even in this passage, is made very clear by Gen. viii, 21, "I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake: for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; smite any more every living thing." The sense of which plainly is, that, notwithstanding the wickedness of mankind, though they sin from their childhood, yet would he not, on that account, again destroy "every living thing." Here it is to be observed, 1. That the words are spoken as soon as Noah came forth from the ark, and, therefore, after the antediluvian race of actual and flagrant transgressors had perished, and before the family of Noah had begun to multiply upon the earth; when, in fact, there, were no human beings upon earth but righteous Noah and his family. 2. That they are spoken of "man" AS MAN; that is, of human nature, and, consequently, of Noah himself and the persons saved with him in the ark. 3. That it is affirmed of MAN, that is, of mankind, that the imagination of the heart "is evil from his youth." Now the term "imagination" includes the thoughts, affections, and inclinations; and the word "youth" the whole time from the birth, the earliest age of man. This passage, therefore, affirms the natural and hereditary tendency of man to evil.
The book of Job, which embodies the patriarchal theology, gives ample testimony to this as the faith of those ancient times. Job xi, 12, Vain man would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass's colt;" fierce, untractable, and scarcely to be subjected. This is the case from his birth; it is affirmed of man, and is equally applicable to every age; it is his natural condition, he is "born," literally, "the colt of a wild ass."
"Man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward," Job v, 7; that is, he is inevitably subjected to trouble; this is the law of his state in this world, as fixed and certain as one of the laws of nature. The proof from this passage is inferential; but very decisive. Unless man is born a sinner, it is not to be accounted for, that he should be born to trouble. Pain and death are the consequences only of sin, and absolutely innocent beings must be exempt from them.
4 "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean ?" Job xiv, 4. The word thing is supplied by our translators, but person is evidently understood. Cleanness and uncleanness, in the language of Scripture, signify sin and holiness; and the text clearly asserts the natural impossibility of any man being born sinless, because he is produced by guilty and defiled parents.
"What is man, that he should be clean; and he which is born of woman, that he should be righteous'?" Job xv, 14. The same doctrine is here affirmed as in the preceding text, only more fully, and it may be taken as an explanation of the former, which was, perhaps, a proverbial expression. The rendering of the LXX. is here worthy of notice, for, though it does not agree with the present Hebrew text, it strongly marks the sentiments of the ancient Jews on the point in question. "Who shall be clean from filth'? Not one; even though his life on earth be a single day."
Psalm Ii 5 " old, I was shaken in iniquity; and in sin did m mother conceive me." What possible sense can given o t is passage on the hypothesis of man's natural innocence'? It is in vain to render the first clause, "I was brought forth in iniquity;" for nothing is gained by it. David charges nothing upon his mother, of whom he is not speaking, but of himself: he was conceived, or, if it please better, was born a sinner. And if the rendering of the latter clause were allowed, which yet has no authority, "in sin did my mother nurse me;" still no progress is made in getting quit of its testimony to the moral corruption of children, for it is the child only which is nursed, and, if that be allowed, natural depravity is allowed, depravity before reason~ able choice, which is the point in question.
Psalm lviii, 3, 4, "The wicked are estranged from the womb, they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies." The are alienated from the womb; "alienated from the life of God from the time of their coming into the world." (Wesley.) "Speaking lies:" they show a tendency to speak lies as soon as they are capable of it, which shows the existence of a natural principle of falsehood.
Proverbs xxii, 15, and xxix, 15, "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him." "The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame." "These passages put together are a plain testimony of the inbred corruption of young children. 'Foolishness,' in the former, is not barely 'appetite,' or a want of the knowledge attaiable by instruction, as some have said. Neither of these deserve that sharp correction recommended. But it is an indisposedness to what is good, and a strong propensity to evil. This foolishness 'is bound up in the heart of a child;' it is rooted in his inmost nature. It is, as it were, fastened to him by strong cords; so the original word signifies. From this corruption of the heart in every child, it is that 'the rod of correction' is necessary to give him wisdom; hence it is that a child left to himself, without correction, 'brings his mother to shame.' If a child were born equally inclined to virtue and vice, why should the wise man speak of foolishness, or wickedness as fastened so closely to his heart'? And why should the rude and reproof be so necessary for him? These texts, therefore, are another clear proof of the corruption of human nature." (Hebden.)
The quotation of Psalm xiv, 2, 3, b the Apostle Paul in Romans iii, 10, &c, is also an important Scriptural proof of the universal moral Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men to see if they seek God. They are all gone aside, they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one." When the psalmist affirms this of the children of men, it is fair to conclude that lie is speaking of all men, and of human nature as originating actual depravity; and it is, indeed, obvious, from the context, that he is thus accounting for Atheism and other evils, the prevalence of which he laments. But, as the apostle quotes this passage and the parallel one in the 53d Psalm as Scriptural proofs of the universal corruption of mankind, the sense of the psalmist is fixed by his authority, and cannot be questioned. All, indeed, that the opponents of this interpretation can say, is. that, in the same psalm the psalmist speaks also of righteous persons, "God is in the generation of the righteous ;" but that is nothing to the purpose, seeing that those who contend for the universal corruption of mankind, allow also that a remedy has been provided for the evil; and that by its application some, in every age, have been made righteous, who were originally and naturally sinful. In fact, it could not be said, with respect to men's actual moral conduct in that, or probably in any age, that "not one" was "righteous;" but in every age it may be said, that not one is so originally, or by nature; so that the passage is not to be explained on the assumption that the inspired writer is speaking only of the practice of mankind in his own times. Of the same kind are all those passages which speak of what is morally evil as the characteristic and distinguishing mark, not of any individual, not of any particular people, living in some one age or part of the world; but of man, of human nature; and especially those which make sinfulness the natural state of that part of the human race who have not undergone that moral renovation which is the fruit of a Divine operation in the heart, a work ascribed particularly to the Holy Spirit. Of these texts the number is very great, and it adds also to the strength of their evidence, that the subject is often mentioned incidentally, and by way of illustration and argument in support of something else, and must, therefore, be taken to be an acknowledged and settled opinion among the sacred writers, both of the Old and New Testament, and one which neither they nor those to whom they spoke or wrote questioned or disputed.
"Cursed," says the Prophet Jeremiah, "is he that trusteth in MAN." Why in man, if he were not by nature unworthy of trust? On the scheme of man's natural innocence, it would surely have been more appropriate to say, Cursed be he that trusteth indiscriminately in men, some of whom may have become corrupt; but here human nature itself, man, in the abstract, is held up to suspicion and caution. "The heart," proceeds the same prophet, "is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it?" which is the reason adduced for the caution preceding against trusting in man. It is precisely in the same way that our Lord designates human nature, when he affirms, that "from within, out of the heart, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, murders, &c; all these things come from within, and defile the man." This representation would not be true, on the scheme of natural innocence. All these things would come from without, not from within, as their original source. The heart must first be corrupted by outward circumstances, before it could be the corrupter.
But to proceed with instances of the more incidental references to the fault and disease of man's very nature, with which the Scriptures abound. "How much more abominable and filthy is man, who drinketh iniquity like water?" Job xv, 16. "Madness is in the heart of the sons of men, while they live," Eccles. ix, 3. "But they like men have transgressed the covenant," Hos. vi, 7. "If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children," Matt. vii, 11. "Thou savourest not the things that be of God; but the things that be of Men. Matt. xvi. 2S. "Are ye not carnal, and walk as MEN?" 1 Cor. iii, 3. "That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the lusts of men; but to the will of God," 1 Peter iv, 2. "We are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness," 1 John v, 19. "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of GOD," John iii, 8. "That ye put off the old man, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man," Eph. iv, 22-24.
The above texts are to be considered as specimens of thee manner in which the sacred writers speak of the subject rather than as approaching to an enumeration of the passages in which the same sentiments are found in great variety of expression, and which are adduced on various Occasions. They are, however, sufficient to show, that man, and the heart of man, and the moral nature of man, as spoken of by them in a Way not to be reconciled to time notion of their purity, or even their indifference to good and evil. On two parts of the New Testament which irresistibly fix the whole of this evidence in favour of the opinion of the universal church of Christ, in all ages our remarks ma be some what more extended. The first is our Lord's discourse with Nicodemus, John iii, in which he declares the necessity of a new birth in contradistinction to our natural birth, in order to our entrance into the kingdom of GOD; And lays it down, that the Spirit of God is the sole author of this change, and that what is born of the flesh cannot alter its nature; it is flesh still, and must always remain so, and in that state is unfit for heaven. "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God; that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." Throughout the New Testament, it will be are, in a moral sense, opposed to each other, the one means the corrupt nature and habits of men, not, sanctified by the Gospel; the other, either the' principle and habit of holiness in good men, or the Holy Spirit himself, who imparts, and constantly nurtures them. "I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing," Rom. vii, iS. "I myself with the mind serve the law of God; but with the flesh, the law of sin," Rom. 'iii, 25. "There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit," Rom. viii, 1. "They that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you," Row. viii, 5-9.
These passages from St. Paul serve to fix the meaning of the terms flesh and Spirit, as used by the Jews, and as they occur in the discourse of our Lord with Nicodemus; and they are so exactly parallel to it, that they fully confirm the opinion of those who understand our Lord as expressly asserting, that man is by nature corrupt and sinful, and unfit, in consequence, for the kingdom of heaven; and that all amendment of his case must result, not from himself, so totally is he gone from original righteousness; but from that special operation of the Holy Spirit which produces a new birth or regeneration. Both assert the natural state of man to be fleshly, that is, morally corrupt; both assert, that in man himself there is no remedy; and both attribute principles of holiness to a supernatural agency, the agency of the Spirit of God himself.
No criticism can make this language consistent with the theory of natural innocence. St. Paul describes the state of man, before he comes under the quickening and renewing influence of the Spirit, as being "in the flesh;" in which state "he cannot please God;" as having a "carnal mind" which "is not, and cannot be, subject to the law of God." Our Lord, in like manner, describes the state of "the flesh," this condition of entire unfitness for the kingdom of heaven as our natural state; and to make this the stronger, he refers this unfitness for heaven not to our acquired habits, but to the state in which we are born; for the very reason which he gives for the necessity of a new birth is, that "that which is born of the flesh is flesh," and therefore we "must be born again." To interpret, therefore, the phrase, "to be flesh, as being born of the flesh," merely to signify that we are, by natural birth, endowed with the physical powers of human nature, is utterly absurd; for what, then, is it to he born of the Spirit? Is it to receive physical powers which do not belong to human nature? Or, if they go a step farther, and admit, that "to be flesh as being born of the flesh," means to be frail and mortal like our parents; still the interpretation is a physical and not a moral one, and leads to this absurdity, that we must interpret the being born of the Spirit physically and not morally, likewise. Now since the being born of the Spirit refers to a change which is effected in time, and not at the resurrection, because our Lord speaks of being "born of water," as well as the Spirit, by which he means baptism; and, as St. Paul says to the Ro. mans, in the passage above quoted, "ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit;" and therefore speaks of their present experience in this world, it may be asked, what physical change did, in reality, take place in them in consequence of being "born of the Spirit ?" On all hands it is allowed, that none took place; that they remained "frail and mortal" still; and it follows, therefore, that it is a moral and not a physical change which is spoken of, both by our Lord and by the apostle; and, if a moral change from sin to holiness, then is the natural state of man from his birth, and in consequence of his birth, sinful and corrupt.
The other passage is the argument in the third chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, in which the apostle "proves both Jews and Gentiles under sin, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God;" and then proposes the means of salvation by faith in Christ, on the express ground that "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Whoever reads that argument, and considers the universality of the terms used, ALL, EVERY, ALL THE WORLD, BOTH JEWS AND GENTILES, must conclude, in all fairness of interpretation, that the whole human race, of every age, is intended. But, if any will construe his words partially, then he is placed in the following dilemma: -The apostle grounds the wisdom and mercy of that provision which is made for man's salvation in the Gospel upon man's sinfulness, danger, and helplessness. Now the Gospel as a remedy for disease, as salvation from danger, is designed for all men, or but for a part; if for all, then all are diseased and in danger; if but for a part, then the undiseased part of the human race, those who are in no danger, have no interest in the Gospel, it is not adapted to their case; and not only is the argument of the apostle lost, but those who advocate this notion must explain how it is, that our Lord himself commanded the Gospel to be preached "to every creature," if but a part of mankind needs its salvation.
The doctrine, then, of Scripture is, I think, clearly established to he, that of the natural and universal corruption of man's nature; and we now consider, whether on this ground, or on the hypothesis of man's natural innocence or indifference to good or to evil, the facts above enumerated can be best explained. They are, 1. The, at least, general corruption of manners in all times and countries. 2. The strength of, the tendency in man to evil. a. The early appearance of the principles of various vices in children. 4. Every man's consciousness of a natural tendency in his mind to one or more evils. 5. That general resistance to virtue in the heart, which renders education, influence, watchfulness, and conflict necessary to counteract the force of evil. These points have been already explained more at large; and they are facts which, it is presumed, cannot be denied, and such as have the confirmation of history and experience.
That they are easily and fully accounted for by the Scriptural doctrine is obvious. The fountain is bitter, and the tree is corrupt; the bitter stream and the bad fruit are, therefore, the natural consequences. But the advocates of the latter hypothesis have no means of accounting for these moral phenomena, except by referring them to bad ex 1 ample and a vicious education.
Let us take the first. To account for general wickedness, they refer to general example.
But, 1. This does not account for the introduction of moral wickedness. The children of Adam were not born until after the repentance of our first parents and their restoration to the Divine favour. They appear to have been his devout worshippers, and to have had access to his "presence," the visible glory of the Shechinah. From what ex ample, then, did Cain learn malice, hatred, and finally, murder? Example' will not account, also, for the too common fact of the children of highly virtuous parents becoming immoral; for, since the examples nearest to them and constantly present with them are good examples, if the natural disposition were as good as this hypothesis assumes, the good example always present ought to be more influential than bad examples at distance, and only occasionally seen or heard of.
2. If men arc naturally disposed to good, or only not indisposed to it, it is not accounted for, on this hypothesis, how bad example should have become general, that is, how men should generally have become wicked.
If the natural disposition be more in favour of good than evil, there ought to have been more good than evil in the world, which is contradicted by fact; if there had been only an indifference in our minds to good and evil, then at least, the quantum of vice and virtue in society ought to have been pretty equally divided, which is also contrary to fact; and also it ought to have followed from this, that at least all time children of virtuous persons would have been virtuous: that, for instance, the descendants of Seth would have followed in succession the steps of their righteous forefathers, though the children 9f Cain (passing by the difficulty of his own lapse) should have become vicious. On neither supposition can the existence of a general evil example in the world be accounted for. It ought not to have existed, and if so, the general corruption of mankind cannot be explained by it.
3. This very method of explaining the general viciousness of society does itself suppose the power of bad example; and, indeed, in this it agrees with universal opinion. All the moralists of public and domestic life, all professed teachers, all friends of youth, all parents have repeated their cautions against evil society to those whom they wished to preserve from vice. The writings of moralists, heathen and inspired, are full of these admonitions, and they are embodied in the proverbs and wise traditional sayings of all civilized nations. But the very force of evil example can only be accounted for, by supposing a proneness in youth to be corrupted by it. Why should it be more influential than good example, a fact universally acknowledged, and so strongly felt, that, for one person preserved by the sole influence of a good example, every body expects that a great number would be corrupted by an evil one? But if the hypothesis of man's natural innocence were true, this ought not to be expected as a probable, much less as a certain result. Bad example would meet with resistance from a good nature; and it would be much more difficult to influence by bad examples than by good ones.
4. Nor does example account for the other facts in the above enumeration. It does not account for that strong bias to evil in men, which, in all ages, has borne down the most powerful restraints; for from this tendency that corrupt general example has sprung, which is alleged as the cause of it; and it must, therefore, have existed previously, because the general example, that is, the general corrupt practice of men is its effect. We cannot, in this way, account for the early manifestation of wrong principles, tempers, and affections in children; since they appear at an age when example can have little influence, and even when the surrounding examples are good, as well as when they are evil. Why, too, should virtue always be found more or less a conflict? so that self-government and self-resistance are, in all cases, necessary for its preservation. The example of others will not account for this; for mere example can only influence when it is approved by the judgment; but here is a case in which evil is not approved, in Which "whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are pure," are approved, desired, and cultivated; and yet the resistance of the heart to the judgment is so powerful, that a constant warfare and a strict Command are necessary to perseverance.
Let us, then, see whether a bad education, the other cause, usually alleged to account for these facts, will be more successful.
1. This cause will no more account for the introduction of passions so hateful as those of Cain, issuing in a fratricide so odious, into the family of Adam, than will example. As there was no example of these evils in the primeval family, so certainly there was no education which could incite and encourage them. We are, also, left still without a reason why, in well-ordered and religious families, where education an the example, too, is good, so many instances of their inefficacy should occur. If bad education corrupts a naturally well-disposed mind, that good education ought still more powerfully to affect it, and give it a right tendency. It is allowed, that good example and good education, in many instances, effectual; but we can account for them, without giving up the doctrine of the natural corruption of the heart. It is, however, impossible for those to account for those failures of both example and instruction which often take place, since, on the hypothesis of man's natural innocence and good disposition, they ought never to occur, or, at least, but in very rare cases, and when some singular counteracting external causes happen to come into operation.
2. We may also ask, how it came to pass, unless there were a pre-disposing cause to it, that education, as well as example, should hay been generally bad? Of education, indeed, men are usually mo careful than of example. The lips are often right when the life is wrong; and many practise evil who will not go so far as to teach it. If human nature, then, be born pure, or, at worst, equally disposed to good and evil, then the existence of a generally corrupting system of education, in all countries and among all people, cannot be accounted for. We have an effect either contrary to the assigned cause, or one to which the cause is not adequate-it is the case of a pure fountain sending forth corrupt streams; or that of a stream which, if turbid, has a constant tendency to defecation, and yet becomes still mo muddy as it flows along its course.
3. It is not, however, the fact, that education is directly and universally so corrupting a cause as to account for the depravity of mankind. In many instances it has been defective; it has often inculcated views of interest and honour; it has fostered prejudices and in national, though not social, hatreds; but it has only in few cases be employed to teach those vices into which men have commonly fallen. In fact, education, in all countries, has been, in no small degree, opposed to vice; and, as the majority of the worst people among us who shudder to have their children instructed in the vices which they the selves practise, so in the worst nations of antiquity, the characters of schoolmasters were required to be correct, and many principles and maxims of a virtuous kind were, doubtless, taught to children. When Horace says of youth, "Cereus in vitium flecti, monitoribus asper," he acknowledges its natural tendency to receive vicious impressions, but shows, too, that it was not left without contrary admonition. Precisel in those vices which all education, even the most defective, is design to guard against, the world has displayed its depravity most obviously; and thus, so far from education being sufficient to account for the evils which have stained society in all ages, its influence has been, in no small degree, opposed to them.
4. To come to the other facts which must be accounted for, education is placed upon the same ground in the argument as example. The early evil dispositions in children cannot thus be explained, for they appear before education commences; nor does any man refer to education his propensity to constitutional sins; the resistance he often feels to good in his heart; his proneness to forget God, and to be indifferent to spiritual and eternal objects; all these he feels to be opposed to those very principles which his judgment approves, and with which it was furnished by education.
It is only, then, by the Scriptural account of the natural and hereditary corruption of the human race, commonly called original sin, that these facts are fully accounted for; and as the facts themselves cannot be denied, such an interpretation of time Scripture as we have given above is, therefore, abundantly confirmed.
As the fact of a natural inclination to evil cannot be successfully combated, some have taken a milder view of the case; and, allowing these tendencies to various excesses, account for them by their being natural tendencies to what is pleasing, and so, for this reason, they deny them to be sinful, until they are complied with and approved by the will. This appears to be the view of Limborch, and some of the later divines of the Arminian school, who on this and other points very materially departed from the tenets of their master. (See Limborch's Theologia Christians, liber iii, caput 4.) Nothing, however, is gained by this notion, when strictly examined; for, let it be granted that these Propensities are to things naturally pleasing, and that, in excess, they are out of their proper order; yet as it happens that, as soon as every person comes to years to know that they are wrong, as being contrary to the Divine law, he yet chooses them, and thus, without dispute, makes them Sins; this universal compliance of the will with what is known to be evil is also to be accounted for, as well as the natural tendency to sinful gratifications. Now, as we have proved the universality of sin, this universal tendency of the will to choose and sanction the natural propensity to unlawful gratification is the proof of a natural state of mind, not only defective by corrupt, which is what we contend for. If it be said, that these natural propensities to various evils in children are not sinful before they have the consent of the will, all that can be maintained is, that they are not actual sins, which no one asserts; but as a universal choice of evil, when accountableness takes place, proves a universal pravity of the will, previous to the actual choice, then it inevitably follows, that, though infants do not commit actual sin, yet that theirs is a sinful nature.
Finally, the death and sufferings to which children are subject is a proof that all men, from their birth, are "constituted," as the apostle has it, and treated as "sinners." An innocent creature may die; no one disputes that; but to die was not the original law of our species, and the Scriptures refer death solely to sin as its cause. Throughout the sacred writings, too, it is represented as a penalty, as an evil of the highest kind; and it is in vain to find out ingenious reasons to prove it a blessing to mankind. They prove nothing against the directly opposite character which has been stamped upon death and time suffering of moral disease, by the testimony of GOD. On the hypothesis of man's natural innocence, the death of the innocent is not to be reconciled to any known attribute of God, to any manifested principle of his moral development; but on that of his natural corruptness and federal relation to Adam it is explained: it is a declaration of God's hatred of sin; a proclamation of the purity and inflexibility of his law; while the connection of this state, with the provisions of the covenant of grace, present "mercy and truth meeting together, righteousness and peace kissing each other."
As to that in which original sin consists, some divines and some public formularies have so expressed themselves, that it might be inferred that a positive evil, infection, and taint had been judicially infused into man's nature by God, which has been transmitted to all his Posterity. Others, and those the greater number, both of the Calvinist and Arminian schools, have resolved it into privation. This distinction is well stated in the Private Disputations of Arminius.
"But since the tenor of the covenant into which God entered with our first parents was this, that if they continued in the favour and grate of God, by the observance of that precept and others, the gifts which had been conferred upon them should be transmitted to their posterity by the like Divine grace which they had received; but if they should render themselves unworthy of those favours, through disobedience, that their posterity should likewise be deprived of them, and should behave to the contrary evils: hence it followed, that all men, who were to be naturally propagated from them, have become obnoxious to death temporal and eternal, and have been destitute of that gift of the Holy Spirit or of original righteousness. This punishment is usually called a privation of the image of God, and original sin.
"But we allow this point to be made the subject of discussion-beside the want or absence of original righteousness, may not some other contrary quality be constituted, as another part of original sin? We think it is more probable, that this absence alone of original righteousness is Original sin itself, since it alone is sufficient for the commission and production of every actual sin whatever."
This is by some divines called, with great aptness, "a depravation arising from a deprivation," and is certainly much more consonant with the Scriptures than the opinion of the infusion of the evil qualities into the nature of man by a positive cause, or direct tainting of the heart.' This has been, indeed, probably an opinion, in the proper sense, wit few, and has rather been collected from the strong and rhetorical expressions under which the moral state of man is often exhibited, and, on this account, has been attacked as a part of the doctrine of original sin, by the advocates of original innocence, and as making God directly the author of sin. No such difficulty, however accompanies the accurate and guarded statement of that doctrine in the sense of Scripture. The depravation, the perversion, the defect of our natures is to be traced to our birth, so that in our flesh is no good thing, and they that are in the flesh cannot please God, but this state arises not from the infusion of evil into the nature of man by God but from that separation of man from God, the extinction of spiritual life which was effected by sin, and the consequent and necessary corruption of man's moral nature. For that positive evil and corruption may flow from a mere privation may be illustrated by that which supplies the figure of speech, "death," under which the Scriptures represent the state of mankind. For, as in the death of the body, the mere privation of the principle of life produces inflexibility of the muscles, the extinction of heat, and sense, and motion, and surrenders the body to the operation of an agency which life, as long as it continued, resisted, namely, that of chymical decomposition; so, from the loss of spiritual life, followed estrangement from God moral inability, the dominion of irregular and the rule of appetite; and enmity to God.
This connection of positive evil, as the effect, with privation of the life and image of God, as the cause, is, however, to be well understood and carefully maintained, or otherwise we should fall into a great error on the other side, as, indeed, some have done, who did not perceive that the Corruption of man's nature necessarily followed upon the privation referred to. It is, therefore, a just remark of Calvin, that "those who have defined original sin as a privation of the original righteousness, though they comprise the whole of the subject, yet have not used language sufficiently expressive of its operation and influence. For our nature is not only destitute of all good, but is so fertile in all evils, that it cannot remain inactive (Institutes.) Indeed, this privation is not fully expressed by the phrase "the loss of original righteousness," unless that be meant to include in it the only source of righteousness in even the first man, the life which is imparted and supplied by the Holy Spirit. A similar want of explicitness we observe also in Calvin's own statement in his generally very able chapter on this subject, that Adam lost "the ornaments" he received from his Maker for us as well as for himself; unless we understand by these original "ornaments" and "endowments" of human nature in him, the principle also, as above stated from which they all flowed; and which, being forfeited, could no longer be imparted in the way of nature. For when the Spirit was restored to Adam, being pardoned, it was by grace and favour; and he could n impart it by natural descent to his posterity, though born of him who in a state of acceptance with God, since these influences are the gift of God, which are imparted not by the first but by the second Adam not by nature, but by a free gift, to sinful and guilty man, the law being irreversible, "that which is born of the flesh is flesh."
Arminius, in time above quotation, has more forcibly and explicitly expressed that privation of which we speak, by the forfeiture "of the gift of the Holy Spirit" by Adam, for himself and his descendants, and the loss of original righteousness as the consequence.
This I take to be at once a simple and a Scriptural view of the case President Edwards, who well argues against the notion of the infusion of evil, perplexes his subject by his theory of "natural and supernatural principles," which the notes of Dr. Williams, his editor, who has introduced the peculiarities of his system of passive power, have not relieve So far certain! , both are right; the latter, that the creature can uphold itself, e either physically or morally, without God; the former that our natural passions and appetites can only be the higher principles, which are " summarily comprehended in Divine love." But the power which upholds the rational creature in spiritual life is the Holy Spirit; and the source of these controlling supernatural power comprehend in "Divine, is also the Holy Spirit; from the loss of which all the depravation of man's nature proceeded.
This point may be briefly elucidated. The infliction of spiritual dead which we have already shown to be included in the original sentence consisted, of course, in the loss of spiritual life, which was that principle from which all right direction and control of the various powers faculties of man flowed. But this spiritual life in the first man was not a natural effect, that is, an effect which would follow from his creation, independent of the vouchsafed influence of the Holy Spirit This may be inferred from the "new creation," which is the renewal of man after the image of Him who at first created him. This is t. work of the Holy Spirit; but even after this change, this being" again," man is not able to preserve himself in the renewed condition into which he is brought, but by the continuance of the same quickening and aiding influence. No future growth in knowledge and experience no power of habit, long persevered in, render him independent of the b of the Holy Spirit; he has rather, in proportion to his growth, a deconsciousness of his need of the indwelling of God, and of what the apostle calls his "mighty working." The strongest aspirations of this new life is after communion and constant intercourse with God; and as that is the source of new strength, so this renewed strength expresses itself in a "cleaving unto the Lord," with a still more vigorous "purpose of heart." In a word, the sanctity of a christian is dependent wholly upon the presence of the Sanctifier. We can only work out our own salvation as "God worketh in us to will and to do."
This is the constant language of the New Testament; but if we are restored to what was lost by Adam, through the benefit brought to us by the second Adam; if there be any correspondency between the moral state of the regenerate man, and that of man before his fall, we do not speak of degree, but of substantial sameness of kind and quality; it love to God be in us what it was in him; if holiness, in its various branches, as it flows from love, be in us what it was in him; we have sufficient reason to infer, that as they are supported in us by the influence of the Divine Spirit, they were so supported in him. Certain it is, that before we arc thus quickened by the Spirit, we are "dead in trespasses and sins;" and if we are made alive by that Spirit, it is a strong presumption that the withdrawing of that Spirit from Adam, when he wilfully sinned, and from all his posterity, that is, from human nature itself, was the cause of the death and the depravation which followed.
But this is not left to mere inference. For, as Mr. Howe justly observes, when speaking of" the retraction of God's Spirit from Adam," "This we do not say gratuitously; for do but consider that plain text, Gal. iii, 13, 'Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; for cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree; that the blessing of Abraham might come upon us Gentiles, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.' If the remission of the curse carry with it the conferring of the grace of the Spirit, then the curse, while it did continue, could not but include and carry in it the privation of the Spirit. This was part of the curse upon apostate Adam, the loss of God's Spirit. As soon as the law was broken, man was cursed, so as that thereby this Spirit should be withheld, should be kept off, other. Wise than as upon the Redeemer's account, and according to his methods it should be restored. Hereupon it could not but ensue that the Holy image of God must be erased and vanished." (Posthumous Works.)
This accounts for the whole case of man's corruption. The Spirit's influence in him did not prevent the possibility of his sinning, though it afforded sufficient security to him, as long as he looks up to that source of strength. He did sin, and the Spirit retired; and, the tide of sin once turned in, the mound of resistance being removed, it overflowed his whole nature. In this state of alienation from God men are born, with all these tendencies to evil because the only controlling and sanctifying power, the presence of the Spirit is wanting, and is now given to man, not as when first brought into being, as a creature; but is secured to him by the mercy and grace of a new and which the Spirit is administered in different degrees, times, and modes, according to the wisdom of God, never on the ground of our being creatures, but as redeemed from the curse of the law by him who became a curse for us.
A question, as to the transmission of this corruption of nature from parents to children, has been debated among those who, nevertheless, admit the fact; some contending that the soul is ex traduce; others, that it is by immediate creation. It is certain that, as to the metaphysical part of this question, we can come to more in favour of the doc trine of traduction. "Adam begat a son in his own likeness." "That which is born of the flesh is flesh." which refers certainly to the soul as well as to the body. The fact also of certain dispositions and eminent faculties of the mind being often found in families appears to favour this notion; though it may be plausibly said, that, as the mind operates by bodily instruments, there may be a family constitution of the body, as there is of likeness, which may be more favourable to the excitement and exertion of certain faculties than others.
The usual argument against this traduction of the human spirit is, that the doctrine of its generation tends to materialism. But this arises from a mistaken view of that in which the procreation of a human being lies, which does not consist in the production out of nothing of either of the parts of which the compounded being, man, is constituted, but in the uniting them substantially with one another. The matter of the body is not, then, first made, but disposed, nor can it be supposed that the soul is by that act first produced. That belongs to a higher power; and then the only question is, whether all souls were created in Adam, and are: transmitted by a law peculiar to themselves, which is always under the control of the will of that same watchful Providence, of whose constant agency in the production and ordering of the kinds, sexes, and circum. stances of the animal creation, we have abundant proof; or whether they are immediately created. The usual objection to the last notion is, that God cannot create an evil nature; but if our corruption is the result of privation, not of positive infection, the notion of the immediate creation of the soul is cleared of a great difficulty, though it is not wholly disentangled. But the tenet of the soul's descent appears to have most countenance from the language of Scripture, and it is no small confirmation of it, that when God designed to incarnate his own Son, stepped out of the ordinary course, and formed a sinless human nature immediately by the power oft the Holy Ghost. The philosophical difficulties which have presented themselves to this opinion appear chiefly to have arisen from supposing that consciousness is an essential attribute of spirit; and that the soul is naturally immortal; the former of which cannot he proved, while the latter is contradicted by Scripture, which makes our immortality a gift dependent on the will of the giver. Other difficulties have arisen for want of considering the constant agency of God in regulating the production of all things, and of rational accountable creatures especially.
But whichever of these views is adopted, the soul and the body are united before birth, and man is born under that curse of the law which has deprived fallen human nature of the Spirit of God, who can on y be restored by Christ. It is, therefore, well and forcibly said by Calvin,-"to enable us to understand this subject, (man's birth in sin,) we have no need to enter on that tedious dispute, with which the fathers were not a little perplexed, whether the soul proceeds by derivation. We ought to be satisfied with this. That the Lord deposited with Adam the endowments he chose to confer upon human nature; and, therefore, that when he lost the favours he had received, he lost them not only or himself, but for us all. Who will be solicitous about a transmission of the soul, when he hears, that Adam received the ornaments that he lost no less for us than for himself? that they were given, not to one man only, but to the whole human nature? There is nothing absurd, therefore, if, in consequence of his being spoiled of his dignities, that nature be now destitute and poor." (Institutes.)
From this view of the alienation of the nature of man from GOD, it does not, however, follow that there should be nothing virtuous and praiseworthy among men until, in the proper sense, the subjects of the regeneration insisted upon in the Gospel as necessary to qualify men for the kingdom of heaven. From the virtues which have existed among heathens, and from men being called upon to repent and believe the Gospel, it has been argued that human nature is not so entirely corrupt and disabled as the above representation would suppose; and, indeed, on the Calvinistic theory, which denies that all men are interested in the benefits procured by the death of Christ, it would be extremely difficult for any to meet this objection, and to maintain their own views of the corruption of man with consistency. On the contrary theory of God's universal love nothing is more easy; because, in consequence of the atonement offered for all, the Holy Spirit is administered in all, and to his secret operations all that is really spiritual and good, in its principle, is to be ascribed.
Independent of this influence, indeed, it maybe conceived that there may be much restraint of evil, and many acts of external goodness the world, without at all impugning the doctrine of an entire estrangement of the heart from God, and a moral death in trespasses and sins.
1. The understanding of man is, by its nature, adapted to perceive the evidence of demonstrated truth, and has no means of avoiding the conviction hut by turning away the attention.-Wherever, then, revelations of the Divine law, or traditional remembrances of it are found, notions of right and wrong have been and must be found also.
2. So much of what is right and wrong is connected with the interests of men, that they have been led publicly to approve what is right in all instances, in all instances where it is obviously beneficial to society, and to disapprove of wrong. They do this by public laws, by their writings, and by their censures of offenders. A moral standard of judging of vice and virtue has, therefore, been found every where, though varying in degree; which men have generally honestly applied to others in passing a judgment on their characters, though they hay not used the same fidelity to themselves. More or less, therefore, the practice of what is condemned as vice or approved as virtue is shameful or creditable, and the interests and reputation of men require that they obtain what is called a character, and preserve it; a circumstance which often serves to restrain vicious practices, and to produce a negative virtue, or an affectation of real and active virtue.
3. Though the seeds of sin lie hid in the heart of all, yet their full development and manifestation in action can only take place slowly and by the operation of exciting circumstances. Much of the evil in the world, also, lies in the irregularities of those natural appetites and the excesses of those passions which are not in themselves evil, and such corrupt habits cannot be formed until after opportunities of frequent indulgence have been given. This will account for the comparative innocence of infancy, of youth, and of those around whom many guards have been thrown by providential arrangement.
4. We may notice, also, that it is not possible, were all men equally constituted as to their moral nature, that all sins should show themselves in all men; and that although there is nothing in the proper sense, good in any, that society should present an unvarying, mass of corruption, which some appear to think a necessary corollary from the doctrine of the universal corruption of human nature. Avarice, the strong desire of getting and of hoarding wealth, necessarily restrains from expensive vices. An obsequious and a tyrannical temper cannot co-exist in the same circumstances, and yet, in other circumstances, the obsequious man is often found to be tyrannical, and the latter obsequious. Certain events excite a latent passion, such as ambition, and it becomes a major passion, to which all others are subordinated, and even vicious dispositions and habits controlled in order to success: just on the same principle that the ancient athlete and our modern prize fighter abstain from sensual indulgences, in order to qualify themselves for the combat; but who show, by the habits in which they usually live, that particular vices are suspended only under the influence of a stronger passion. Perhaps, too, that love of country, that passion for its glory and aggrandizement, which produced so many splendid actions and characters among the Greeks and Romans, a circumstance which has been urged against the doctrine of man's depravity, may come under this rule. That it was not itself the result of a virtuous state of mind in, at least, the majority of cases, is clear from the frauds, injustice, oppressions, cruelties, and avarice with which it was generally connected.
5. It is a fact, too, which cannot be denied, that men have constitutional evil tendencies, some more powerfully bent to one vice, some to another. Whether it results from a different constitution of the mind that the general corruption should act more powerfully in one direction in this man, and in another in that; or from the temperament of the body; or from some law impressed by God upon a sinful nature, (which it involves no difficulty to admit, inasmuch as society could scarcely have existed without that balance of evils and that check of one vice upon another which this circumstance produces,)-such is the fact; and it gives a reason for the existence of much negative virtue in society.
From all these causes, appearances of good among unregenerate men will present themselves, without affording any ground to deduct anything from those statements as to man's fallen state which have been just made; but these negative virtues, and these good from interest, ambition, or honour have no foundation in the fear of God, in a love to virtue as such, in a right will, or in spiritual affections; and they afford, therefore, no evidence of spiritual life, or, in other words, of religious principle. To other vices, to which there is any temptation, and to those now avoided, whenever the temptation comes, men uniformly yield; and this shows, that though the common Corruption varies its aspects, it is, nevertheless, unrelieved by a real virtuous principle in any, so far as they are left to themselves.
But virtues on principle, though an imperfect one, and therefore neither negative nor simulated, may also be found among the unregenerate, and have existed, doubtless, in all ages. These, however, are not from man, but from God, whose Holy Spirit has been vouchsafed to world, through the atonement. This great truth has this controversy. Some Calvinists seem to acknowledge it substantially, under the name of "common grace: :" others choose rather to refer all appearances of virtue to nature, and thus, by attempt of the Spirit to all mankind, attribute to nature what is inconsistent with their opinion of its entire corruption But there is, doubtless, to be sometimes found in men not yet regenerate in the Scripture sense, not even decided in their choice, something of moral excellence, which cannot be referred to any of the causes above adduced; and of a much higher character than is to be attributed, to a nature which, when left to itself, is wholly destitute of spiritual life. Compunction for sin, strong desires to be freed from its tyranny, such a fear of God as preserves them from many evils, charity, kindness, good neighbourhood, general respect for goodness and good men, a lofty sense of honour and justice, and, indeed, as the very command issued to them to repent and believe the Gospel in order to their salvation implies, a power of consideration, prayer, and turning to God, so as to commence that course which, persevered in, would lead on to forgiveness and regeneration are to be attributed to mere nature, is to surrender the argument to the semi-Pelagian, who contends that these are proofs that man is not wholly degenerate. They are to be attributed to the controlling influence of Holy Spirit; to his incipient workings in the hearts of men; to the warfare which he there maintains, and which has sometimes a partial victory, before the final triumph comes, or when, through the fault of man, through "resisting," "grieving," "vexing," "quenching" that Holy Spirit, that final triumph has never come. It is thus that one part of Scripture is reconciled to another, and both of fact; the declaration of man's total corruption, with the presumption of his power to return to God, to repent, to break off his sins, which all the commands and invitations to him from the Gospel imply: and thus it is that we understand how, especially in Christian countries, where the Spirit is more largely effused, there is, so much more general virtue than in others; and in those circles especially, in which Christian education, and the prayers of the pious, and, the power of example are applied and exhibited.
The Scriptural proof that the Spirit is given to "the world" is obvious and decisive. We have seen that the curse of the law implied a denial of the Spirit; the removal of that curse implies, therefore, the gift of the. Spirit, and the benefit must be as large and extensive as the atonement. Hence we find time Spirit's operations spoken of, not only as to the good, but the wicked, in all the three dispensations. In the patriarchal," the Spirit strove with men;" with the antediluvian race, before and all the time the ark was preparing. The Jews in the wilderness are said to have "vexed his Holy Spirit;" Christ promises to send the Spirit to convince the world of sin; and the book of God's Revelations concludes by representing the Spirit as well as the Bride, the Holy Ghost as well as the Church in her ordinances, inviting all to come and take of the water of life freely. All this is the fruit of our redemption and the new relation in which man is placed to God; as a sinner, it is true, still; hut a sinner for whom atonement has been made, and who is to be wooed and won to an acceptance of the heavenly mercy. Christ having been made a curse for us, the curse of the law no longer shuts out that Spirit from us; nor can justice exclaim against this going forth of the Spirit, as it has been beautifully expressed, "to make gentle trials upon the spirits of men" to inject some beams of light, to inspire contrite emotions, which, if they comply with, may lead on to those more powerful and effectual. If, however, they rebel against them, and oppose their Sensual imaginations and desires to the secret promptings of God's Spirit, they ultimately provoke him to withdraw his aid, and they relapse into a state more guilty and dangerous. Again and again they are visited in various ways, in honour of the Redeemer's atonement, and for the manifestation of the long suffering of God. In some the issue is life; in others, an aggravated death; but in most cases this struggle, this "striving with man," this debating with him, this standing between him and death, cannot fail to correct and prevent much evil, to bring into existence some "goodness," though it may be as the morning cloud and the early dew, and to produce civil and social virtues, none of which however, are to be placed to the account of nature, nor used to soften our views of its entire alienation from God; but are to be acknowledged as magnifying that grace which regards the whole of the sinning race with compassion, and is ever employed in seeking and saving that which is lost.
 The covenant of works, a term much in use among divines, is one which is not in so much use as formerly; but, rightly understood, it has a good sense. The word usually translated covenant in the New Testament, more properly signifies a dispensation or appointment, which is, indeed, suited to time majesty of law, and even time authoritative establishment of a sole method of pardon. But in both there are parties, not to their original institution, but to their beneficent accomplishment, and in this view each may be termed a covenant.
 This phrase doss not occur in the canonical Scriptures; but is, probably, taken from Wisdom x, 1, "She preserved the first formed father of the world that was created, and brought him out of his fall."
 Holden's Dissertation on the Fall of Man, chap. ii. in this volume the literal sense of the Mosaic account of the fall is largely investigated and ably established.
 We have no reason at all to suppose, as it is strangely done almost uniformly by commentators, that this animal had the serpentine form in any mode or degree at all before his transformation. That he was then degraded to a rep. tile, to go "upon his belly," imports, on the contrary, an entire alteration and loss of the original form-a form of which it is clear no idea can now be conceived.
 "'And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food,' &c. Now Eve could plainly know, by her senses, that the fruit was desirable to the eye, but it was impossible she could know that it was good for food, but from the example and experiment of the serpent. It was also impossible she could know that it was desirable to mako use of it, but by the example of the serpent, whom she saw from a brute become a rational and vocal creature, as she thought by eating that fruit. The text says she saw it was good for food, and that it was desirable to make wise, and seeing does not imply conjecture or belief, but certain knowledge; knowledge founded upon evidence and proof; such proof as she had then before her eyes. And when once we are sure that she had this proof, as it is evident she had, the whole conference between her and the serpent is as rational and intelligible as any thing in the whole Scriptures." (Delany's Dissertations.)
 "Impulsus etsi vehemens valde atque potens esset, voluntatis tamen imps. rio atque arbitrio semper egressus ejus in actum subjiciebatur. Poterat enirn vo luntaR, divinae voluntatis consideratione armata, resistere illi, eumque in ordinem ista vi redigere; alioquin enim frustanea fuisset legislatio qua affectus circum. scribebatur ot refraenabatur." (Episcopius, Disputatio ix.)
 "Accessit in Adamo specialis quidam conjugis propriae amor, quo adductus a gratiani illius, affectui suo proclivius indulsit, et tontationi sathanae facilius cossit auremque praebuit." (Episcopius, Disputatio ix.)
 "Diabolus cause. talis statui non potest; gina ille suasione sola usus legi. tur: suasio autem necessitatem nullam affert, sed moraliter tantum voluntatem ad se allicera atque attractiore conatur." (Episcopius.)
 "Legem tamen hanc idcirco homini latam fuisse arbitramur, at ei obse quendo et obtemperando, palam publiceque veluti testaretur, se, cui dominium rerum omnium creatarum a Deo delatum erat, Deo tamen ipsi subjectum obnoxi. umque esse; utquo obsequio eodem suo tanquam vasallus et cliens, publico aliquo recognitionis symbolo, profiteretur, so in omnibus Deo suo, tanquam supremo Domino, obtemperare et parere velle; id quod aequissimum erat." (Episcopius.)
 The former word signifies a traducer and false accuser, the latter an adversary.
 See tenets of the remonatrants, in Nichol's "Calvinism and Arminianisin Compared."
 "Omnia in omnibus vitri sunt; sed non omnia in singulis extant." (Seneca.)
 "Hac conditione nati sumus, animalia obnoxia non paucioribus animi quam corporis morbis." (Seneca.)
 "Vidoamus quanta slut quae a philosophia remedia morbis animorum adhi. beantur; eat enim quaedam medicina certe," &c. (Cicero.)
 The term "original sin" appears to have been first introduced by St. Augustine, in his controversy with the Pelagians.
 "Qui studet optatam cursu contingere metam, Multa tulit fecitque puor; sudavit et alsit; Abstinuit venere, et vino." (Horace.)