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hered to; then must they admit a distinction between “ the good and the evil,” between real and merely nominal Christians, and the necessity of the latter being changed and converted; then will their reprobation of others for making this distinction and inculcating this neceffity, be found absurd; then will it be obvious, that it is not, as they would persuade us, the Word of God, but their language about all baptized persons being in a state of salvation, which " means nothing:"_ If it is persisted in, that, in making this ideal distinction among the profeffors of Christianity, no persons who possess outward decency of character, or as they term it, “no moral Christians,” should be supposed radically defective; this is acknowledging in so many words, that internal and spiritual Christianity is dispensed with.
In reference then to the whole which has been advanced in this chapter; we appeal to all competent judges to say, whose teaching most resembles that of the Church and her Reformers on these subje&s; ours who make Christ and his peculiar doctrines the soul which animates the whole body of our divinity; or theirs who make so little use of the Saviour and these doctrines; ours who thus infist upon internal and practical Christianity, or theirs who rest fo much upon mere externals, and use the language which has been exhibited ?
The inquiry pursued with regard to the Doctrine of ORIGINAL SIN, and the consequent STATE AND CHARACTER OF MAN, in this world, as À SINNER.
LITTLE doubt, it is presumed, can remain in the intelligent and impartial mind, whose pretensions are best founded
on our subject, from what has been advanced in general - upon it. We wish, however, that the truth, on which ever
fide it lies, may be placed in every light, and, if possible, rendered unquestionably conspicuous. With this view, we will now particularize some of the most important points of Christian do&trine, respecting which the present controversy chiefly fubfists, and which are noticed by our opponents. In doing this, we must constantly keep in reniembrance what has already been proved; namely, that our church is certainly to be interpreted according to the most natural and full sense of her words, and that a practical acquaintance with her doctrines is required. We will begin our particulars with the do&rine of original fin, and the consequent state and character of man considered as a fioner.
It is not easy to conceive how any persons, who really believe the Bible, can consider this an uninteresting doctrine. “ It is obvious from the New-Teftament,” even Mr. Locke is constrained to observe, “ that the doctrine of redemption, and consequently of the Gospel, is founded on the supposition of Adam's falla." " Revelation,” the great Bishop Butler observes, “ supposes the world to be in a jiate of ruin, a sup
(a) Realopableness of Christianity, at the beginning.
position which seems the very ground of the Christian dispenfation 2.” “ In the corruption and depravity of human nature," an eminent modern Prelate adds, “ are founded all the peculiar precepts and doctrines of the gospel b." This native depravity, with actual tranfgreffion, its invariable effect in all capable subjects, are the disease, and, in the nature of the thing, only as the malady is rightly understood, will there be a proper solicitude respecting the remedy.
2. On this subject then, Dr. Croft, on behalf of himself and Brethren in sentiment, expreffes himself thus: “ Though we admit the dire effects of original fin, yet we do not admit them to the degree so warmly contended for."!. And this is a true statement of the case. They do not avowedly, and expressly, and in every sense, deny the doctrine and its awful effects; this would be exceeding both the Socinian and the Deistd; but it is their uniform endeavour to evade or extenuate, the plain representations of scripture on the subject. But let us further learn from the Divines under consideration themselves, in what manner they treat these doctrines, and what it is which they really admit respecting them. It may perhaps assist our inquiry to keep in view three particulars in the condition under which we are confidering man: namely, his corruption or finfulness, his defert, and his impotence.
Some then, among the most exalted of these teachers, deny the corruption of our nature by the fall altogether, and endeavour to propagate this notion in the church. This is the professed and notorious doctrine of Dr. Paley's great model, the late Bishop Law, as his works testify unquestion
(z) Analogy, Part 2. Chap. v. 8 5. See also Part 2. Ch. i. $ 2. (b) Bishop of Durham, Char, 1797, p. 3. (c) Thoughts, &c. p. 19. (d) See Taylor on Original Sin, p. 27, 30, 37, 164 ; Dr. Priestley's Familiar Illustration, p. 11; and Bishop Watson's Char. 1795. p. 68, ably. It is the doctrine of the eminent Bishop Warburton, to whom, as we have seen, our opponents fo generally refer us as a standard'. If this prelate does not absolutely avow the sentiment, be certainly approaches infinitely near such an avowal. "Adam,” he observes, '. ate, and became as he was at first created, mortal.” “ It is astonithing,” he fays, “that any other deuth should have been understood by his sentencek.” He refers us also, like Bishop Law, to Mr. Locke's Reasonableness of Christianity, where the doctrine is taught unequivocally .. At the most, “ What physical contagion we contracted at our birth, it is,” he says, “ of little use to inquire k.” The same appears to be the doctrine, which is propagated by the celebrated Bishop Watson. It is impossible to be more express in denying the depravity. of our nature than Dr. Taylor is, both in his treatise on Original Sin, and his Scheme of Scripture Divinity in which he refers to the other for explanation; yet upon this latter Work his Lordship bestows the most unqualified encomiums. “It deserves,” he says, “ to be generally known; and has been much sought after by the Clergy; and he thought he should do them an acceptable service, in making it a part of his collection !.” In nearly the same manner he treats the above mentioned Work of Mr. Locke, with its vindications against the orthodox Dr. Edwards, and other Works of a similar tendency. Mr. Fellowes also speaks out. “ The fin of Adam,” this Gentleman thinks himself imperiously called upon as a Minister of the Church of England’ to affirm, “ did not vitiate the nature of mankind. The punishment infli&ted on Adam for his transgression was death, and temporal misery. His posterity therefore are
(e) See his Confiderations on the Theory of Rel. third Edit. p. 45, Note c. p. 101, 325. (f) See above, p. 28.. (g) Divine Legation, B. 9. Vol. iii. Works, p. 634. (h) Ibid. p. 638. (i) See the beginning of it.
(k) Divine Lega. as above, p, 639. (1) Tracts, Vol. i. Contents. (m) Ibid. Vol. iv. Contents.
horn to mortality and to suffering; but they are not born either in guilt or in wickedness. They are not born disposed to evil and indi/posed to good. They are born innocent; and this was certainly the opinion of our Saviour ?.”
By others, the history, in the first part of Genesis, respecting the disobedience of our first Parents, is considered as being “ not a literal description of fact, but an allegorical story, like the Pilgrim's Progress.” “Many serious and thinking Christians,” Profeffor Hey, fays, have. thus confidered it. And for this reason he suggests a " doubt, whether the disorderly propenfities of man were owing to Adam's transgression," and whether the compilers of our ninth and tenth Articles meant to affirm that they are !
Another method of treating the subject of the Fall of man is, to represent it as a transaction “ of which we are very obscurely and imperfectly informed,” This is the famous Dr. Balguy's manner of speaking concerning, it ; which, Dr. Hey obferves, “ seems rather to imply, that he would not lay much stress on a state so little understood o.” Accordingly, as the fame Gentleman informs us, “ Dr. B. has only two very short expressions relating to original fin;?? and other " valuable authors,” he tells us, “ have not dwelt much on it p.” This view of the subject the learned Profeffor appears to adopt. “Every thinking man,” he says, . will keep it in mind. And on this ground also be founds the above doubt9. Mr. Ludlam is full on the point. Having observed that a change of character succeeded in Adam in consequence of his disobedience, “how far," he proceeds " or in what manner, this change affected his posterity, we are not clearly told"." “ Though the scriptures of the Old
- .. (2) See - The Anti-Calvinist; by Robert Fellowes, M. . of St. Mary Hall, Oxford; Curate of Harbury, and Author of a Picture of Christian Philosophy, &c. &c.” p. 15.
(n) See Nor. Lect. Vol. iii. p. 137, 152, 189*. (0) Ibid. p. 154. (p) Ibid. p. 176, 177.. (9) Ibid. p. 152, 163, 219, 189, 255. (r) Six Essays, p. 83.
* Sce Appendix, p. 424.