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disposed to aggravate, rather than to extenuate his offences, to which this last mentioned consideration would have greatly contributed.
Rom. v. 12, 13, 14. Wherefore, is by one man stn entered into the world, and death by fin; and fo death pasted upon all men, for that all have finned, &c. I think a caresul and impartial reader will observe, that the apostle speaks not here of the death of children, whom he does not once mention, or reser to, through the whole argument. But he speaks of those who were not only capable of sinning but had aSiualfy sinned, and resers us to the Mosaic history of mankind in the ages between the sall of Adam and the giving of the law by Moses. Sin and death entered into the world by Adam, and death hath palled upon all men, for that all have sinned, consequently must have transgressed some law, vr. 14. For, before the giving of the law by Moses, fin was in the world, but fin is not imputed where there is no law: and the law of Moses they could not sin against before it was given. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not finned after the st-ii'itude of Ad'.m's transgression, i.e. by eating the forbk-Jen fruit, or violating any posi:ive law of lise given to them. What law then had they sinned against? Most evidently, the law of righteousness which God had written on their hearts; the sanction of which they were also well apprized of (as the apostle speaks of I 2. the
the gentiles in generals ch. i. 32, of this epistle) Who knowing the judgment of God that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the fame, but have pleasure in them that do them. Hence it appears that the apostle does not speak of the sin of Adam being imputed to make men sinners, and subject them to death; but of actual and personal fins, and of death as the recompence of them. Now look into the Mosaic history of this period, and we find before the flood that the wickedness of men was
great in the ea>th. Gen. vi. 5. The earth also
was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. For all Jlesh had corrupted his way upon the earth, v. II, 12. And after the flood, excepting the saith and obedience of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, we have little else recorded besides trangresfions of the law of righteousness, sins which men committed, though not after the similitude of Adam's transgression. As to the death of insants; God, the great giver of lise, hath, undoubtedly a persect right to resume it, whenever it seemeth meet to his insinite wisdom. But I do not recollect that the sacred writers do any where represent it as a punishment either for Adam's sin, or their own. In a sew cases they speak of it as a punishment of the sin of their immediate parents, but then, as a punishment to their parents, who had sinned, not to the children who had not sinned.
Rom. v. 6, 8. For when we were yet without
strengths in due time, Christ died for the ungodly. But God commended his love-towards us, in that whili we were yetstnners, Christ died for us. Let the intelligent reader judge for himself, whether the apostle does not speak here of the state of mankind (particularly of himself and the persons he writes to) before Christ's death, and the consequent publication of the gospel to the world, and intimate that the case is very different since that happy event? Doth he not plainly make the distinction in both verses, that we might not mistake his meaning, When we were yet without strength, and while we were yet sinners? But doth the case continue the same, since Christ died, with those to whom the blessings of the gospel are imparted? then hath Christ died, and the gospel been published in vain. Yet some writers represent the state of those for whom Christ died, and who have received the gospel, as just the same, as tostrength, with them who had not received it, and who lived before it was published. Surely, any of us- would be displeased to have our words wrested to purposes so different from our intentions; especially, when we had endeavoured to guard them from such abuse. God our maker hath given us intelligent capacities, suited to those discoveries which he hath made of his will, whether by the lierht of nature, or revelation; he hath given us also freedom of choice and action for the conduct of I 3 ourselves j
ourselves; he hath granted us the light and motives of the gospel for our suller instruction and persuasion; he is ever present with us and ready to assist our sincere endeavours to know and to do his will: surely then, it is unjust and ungrateful to him to say that we are still withoutJlrength; and if we be sinners, it is wholly our own sault. As for the gentiles, even the worst of them, the apostle no where ascribes their want of strength, to their not having received from their maker sufficient abilities to know and do his will acceptably, but to their having voluntarily corrupted themselves and one another, and thereby lost the abilities which God had given them, and become dead in trespasses and fins.
Rom. vii. 7, 8. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not fubjeEt to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then, they that are in - thefiesh cannot please God.
It appears to me that the apostle speaks here only of personal character and conduct, and the effects of them in producing governing habits: but not at all of any corruption or depravity of the nature of man effected by Adam's sin, whereby he is become incapable of doing that which is good, or of pleasing God. Adam, or his sin, is not mentioned by the apostle in treating of this subject. It is readily acknowledged, that a person who attaches himself to the gratification of his carnal or sensual appetites and passions cannot perform the will of God, but
must daily become more and more alienated from him and from his duty: but this is saying no more than that a wicked man cannot be a good man, or please God so long as he continues wicked. But it by no means follows that this man is unable to hear, understand, and receive salutary convictions from the truths of God, revealed by his Son Jesus Christ, and thereby become changed in his sentiments, dispositions, and conduct, and from carnally-minded become spiritually-minded. The various forms oS speech which the apostle uses in the preceding and following verses seem only to express one and the fame thing, viz. the change produced in the dispositions and conduct of men by preaching the gospel to them, and their attention to it, and sincere reception of it, together with the happy efsects and consequences of it.
Ephesians ii. 3. And were by nature children of •wrath even as others.
If we compare the passages in which the apostle uses the word nature, we shall sind that he did not mean by it that internal frame, constitution, or condition of being wherewith God our maker hath formed us; but that external condition, or those outward circumstances (especially with relation to God and religious concerns) in which divine providence hath caused us to be born and live. Human nature, in our fense of the phrase, is the fame in all mankind; but different persons may be