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a man be clean before God? Because he is conceived and born in sin? No such thing. But because it the purest creatures are not pure in comparison of God, much less a being subject to so many infirmities as a mortal man." Infirmities! What then? Do innocent infirmities make a man unclean before God? Do labour, pain, bodily weakness, or mortality, make us filthy and abominable? Surely not. Neither could they make a man pure from sin, less pure than the moon and stars. Nor can we conceive Adam as he came out of the hands of God, to have been in any sense less clean than these. All these texts therefore must refer to that sinful impurity, which every man brings into the world.
You add, “Which is a demonstration to me, that Job and his friends were wholly strangers to this doctrine." A demonstration of a peculiar kind! I think neither mathematical nor logical.
16. The last proof is John iii. 6, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.' (p. 144.)
* “Here by flesh Dr. Taylor understands nothing else, but the mere parts and powers of a man: and by being born of the flesh, the being born of a woman, with the constitution and natural powers of a
Now let us suppose that human nature is not at all corrupted, and let us try what sense we can make of other scriptures, where the word flesh is used in opposition to spirit, as it is here. Rom. viii. 1, • There is no condemnation to them who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit;' that is, not after the pure, uncorrupted constitution and powers of man. Again ver. 8, • They that are in the flesh cannot please God;' that is, they that have the parts and powers of a man. Again, “ If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die :' that is, if ye live suitably to the constitution and powers of your nature. Once more : how shall we understand the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the fesh.' (Gal. v. 17.) If flesh means nothing but the pure and uncorrupted powers of human nature ?
“But this text, John ii. 3, is, according to Dr. Taylor, so far from implying any corruption of our nature, that “on the contrary it supposes we have a nature susceptible of the best habits, and capable of being born of the spirit.” (p. 145.) And who ever denied it? Who ever supposed, that such a corruption of nature, as for the present disables us for spiritual good, renders us incapable of being born of the Spirit ?
“ But if natural generation is the mean of conveying a sinful nature from our first parents to their posterity, then must itself be a sinful and unlawful thing.” I deny the consequence. You may transmit
children a nature tainted with sin, and yet commit no sin in so doing. “ Again, we produce one another, only as the oak produces the
The proper production of a child is from God." But if God produces a fætus, which has sinful dispositions, he produces those dispositions :" (p. 146.) Your argument proves too much. It would
* Vindication, p. 78, &c.
prove God to be the author of all actual (as well as original) sin. For “it is the power of God under certain laws and established rules,” which produces not only the fætus, but all the motion in the universe. It is his power which so violently expands the air, on the discharge of a pistol or cannon. It is the same which produces muscular motion, and the circulation of all the juices in man. But does he therefore produce adultery or murder? Is he the cause of those sinful motions? He is the cause of the motion; (as he is of the fætus,) of the sin he is not. Do not say, This is too fine a distinction ! Fine as it is, you must necessarily allow it. Otherwise you make God the direct author of all the sin under heaven. To apply this more directly to the point. God does produce the fætus of man, as he does of trees, empowering the one and the other to propagate each after its kind. And a sinful man propagates after his kind, another sinful man. Yet God produces, in the sense above mentioned, the man, but not the sin.
17. Their sixth proposition is, “ The fall brought upon mankind the loss of comniunion with God, his displeasure and curse, so as we are by nature children of wrath, bondslaves to Satan, and justly liable to all punishments, in this world and that which is to come.”
In proof of the first clause of this proposition, they cite Gen. iii. 8. 10. 24. On this you observe, “ Adam and Eve by their sin did forfeit communion with God. But God did not take the forfeiture.” (p. 147.) Surely he did, when they were afraid and hid themselves from his presence. “But afterward they had frequent communion with him.” This does not prove, they did not lose it before.
“ But their posterity did not. Abel had communion with him, and so had the patriarchs and prophets. And so have we at this day. So that, as we could not justly have lost this communion by Adam's sin, it is true, in fact, that we have not lost it. We still have · fellowship with the Father and Son.' (p. 148.)
Could we not justly, by Adam's sin, have lost our very existence ? And if we had not existed, could we have had communion with God? “But we have not lost it in fact. We still have · fellowship with the ather and with the Son.' Who have ? All men born into the world ? All Jews, and Turks, and Heathens? Have all that are called Christians ? Have the generality of Protestants fellowship with the Father and the Son ? What fellowship ? Just as much as light has with darkness, as much as Christ has with Belial. The bulk of mankind, Christians as well as Heathens, Protestants as well as Papists, are at this day, and have been ever since they were born, * without God,' c.feos, Atheists in the world.
We need not therefore say, “ Their fellowship with God, is owing to his mercy through a Redeemer.” They have none at all: no fellowship with the only true God, and with Jesus Christ whom he hath sent. Indeed they have no great need of Jesus Christ, according to your account : seeing “ All that God's grace doth for us in Christ, to repair what we lost in Adam, is raising us up at the last day!” You add, " And therefore communion with God, is either the same grace which was vouchsafed to Adam, continued to us,” (p. 149 ;) (to every man born into the world, as naturally as seeing or hearing!) “Or, if there be any thing extraordinary in it" (which you judge can hardly be allowed !) “ it belongs to the redundancy of grace, which has no relation to any thing we lost by Adam.” That the whole passage has relation to what we lost in Adam, has been shown already. But what conception you have of communion with God is easily seen by this wonderful account of it.
“ However, this text gives no intimation, that Adam's posterity lost communion with God for his sin.” It shows that Adam did so. And all his posterity has done the same. Whence is this, unless from his sin ?
Ver. 24. So he drove out the man: and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword, which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.'
Although God is equally present in every place, yet this was a clear token, that man had not now that near communion with him, which he had enjoyed before his sin.
18. Prop. “The fall brought upon mankind God's displeasure and curse, so we are by nature the children of wrath."
“ The text on which this is grounded, Eph. ii. 2, 3, we have considered before." And those considerations have been answered at Jarge. (p. 150.) You add, " How mankind could be justly brought under God's displeasure for Adam's zin, we cannot understand. On the contrary, we do understand, it is unjust. And therefore, unless our understanding or perception of truth, be false, it must be unjust. But understanding must be the same in all beings, as far as they do understand. Therefore, if we understand, that it is unjust, God understands it to be so too.” (p. 15.1.)
Plausible enough. But let us take the argument in pieces. “ How mankind could be justly brought under God's displeasure, for Adam's sin, we cannot understand.” I allow it. I cannot understand, that is, clearly or fully comprehend the deep of the divine judgment therein: no more than I can, how the whole brute creation through his sin should have been made subject to vanity, and should groan together, in weakness, in various pain, in death, until this day. “On the contrary, we do understand, it is unjust.” I do not understand, it is. It is quite beyond my understanding. It is a depth which I cannot fathom. “Therefore unless our understanding, or perception of truth, be false, it must be unjust.” Here lies the deceit. You shift the terms, and place as equivalent those which are not equivalent. Our perception of truth cannot be false : our understanding or apprehension of things may. “But understanding must be the same in all beings.” Yes, in the former sense of the word, but not in the latter. "Therefore if we understand (apprehend) it is unjust, God understands it so too.” Nay verily : 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are his thoughts higher than our thoughts.'
“ What a God must he be, who can curse his innocent creatures before they have a being! Is this thy God, O Christian ?” Bold enough! So Lord B- “Moses's God your God ?" He is mine: although he said, Cursed be Canaan, including his posterity, before they had a being. And although he now permits millions to come into a world, which every where bears the marks of his displeasure. And he permits human souls to exist in bodies, which are (how we know not, but the fact we know) conceived and born in sin, by reason whereof, all men coming into the world are children of wrath. But he has provided a Saviour for them all. And this fully acquits both his justice and mercy.
19. “So as we are by nature bond-slaves to Satan,” (2 Tim. ii. 26.) And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the Devil, who are taken captive at his will.' (p. 152.)
But you say, “ The apostle speaks this of the unconverted Gentiles, who were slaves to Satan, not through Adam, but through their own fault.”
Both one and the other. But how does it appear, that he speaks this of the Gentiles only?
Without offering at any proof of this, you go on, « The clause • taken captive by him,' is spoken, not of the Devil, but of the servant of the Lord.” For thus the place should be rendered, That they may wake out of the snare of the Devil, being revived by him, that is, the servant of the Lord, to his, that is, God's will." (p. 153.)
Well, the proof. The word Swere signifies to revive : and so here, to restore men to life and salvation.” As a proof of this sense of the word, you cite Luke v. 10. But this rather proves the contrary. For there it has nothing to do with reviving. We read in the verse before of the fishes which they had taken: alluding to which Jesus said unto Simon, from henceforth thou shalt catch men:' take them captive in the gospel net. Although therefore it were allowed, (which cannot be done,) that his related, not to the word immediately preceding, but to another which stands three verses off, yet even this would avail nothing : since the sense which you impose upon wygewig is what it will by no means bear.
You say indeed, “ It always means, to take alive, or save alive." (p. 154.) It does mean to take alive. But you bring no one authority to prove, that it ever means, to save alive. It therefore “ suits the Devil and his snare” admirably well: for he does not take therein those who are free among the dead : but those who are alive in a natural, though dead in a spiritual sense.
“But however this be, they were not led captive through Adam's sin, but their own wickedness.” (p. 155.) They were bond-slaves to Satan, (which was the point to be proved,) through Adam's sin, and their own wickedness.
“ Yea, but what an inconsistency must that be in the divine dispensations and in the Scriptures, if it can be made appear from them, that God hath for no fault of our's, but only for Adam's one sin, put us all into the bands of the Devil : when he hath been in all ages providing means to preserve or rescue mankind from him ?” (p. 156.) What can be made appear from the Scriptures is this : that from Adam sin passed upon all men: that hereby all men, being by nature dead in gin, cannot of themselves resist the Devil: and that consequently, all who will not accept of help from God, are taken captive by Satan at his will.' And there is no inconsistency between this and any of the Divine dispensations.
“ Prop. And justly liable to all punishments in this world, and that which is to come.”
That all men are liable to these for Adam's sin alone, I do not assert : but they are so, for their own outward and inward sins, which through their own fault, spring from the infection of their nature. And this, I think, may fairly be inferred from Rom. vi. 23, The wages of sin is death its due reward : death, temporal, spiritual, and eternal. God grant, we may never feel it so !
19. You conclude this part: “I cannot see that we have advanced one step farther than where we were at the conclusion of the first part, namely, That the consequences of Adam's first sin upon us, are labour, sorrow, and mortality, and no other.” (p. 102.)
The contrary to this baving been so largely proved, instead of repeating those proofs over again, I shall close this part with that beautiful description of the present state of man, which Mr. Hervey gives us from Mr. Howe's LIVING TEMPLE. “Only,” says he, “ let me hint, that it considers the human soul as originally a habitation of God through the Spirit.'
“ That he hath withdrawn himself and left this his temple desolate, we have many sad and plain proofs before us. The stately ruins are visible to every eye, and bear in their front (yet extant,) this doleful inscription, "Here God once dwelt. Enough appears of the admirable structure of the soul of man, to show the divine presence did sometime reside in it: more than enough of vicious deformity to proclaim he is now retired and gone. The lamps are extinct, the altar overturned; the light and love are now vanished, which did the one shine with so heavenly brightness, the other burn with so pious fervour. The golden condlestick is displaced, to make room for the throne of the prince of darkness. The sacred incense, which sent up its rich perfumes, is exchanged for a poisonous, hellish vapour. The comely order of this house is all turned into confusion : the beauties of holiness into noisome impurities : the house of prayer into a den of thieves. Thieves of the worst kind; for every lust is a thief, and every theft is sacrilege. The noble powers which were designed and dedicated to divine contemplation and delight in God, are alienated to the service of the most despicable idols, and employed in the vilest embraces: to behold and admire lying vanities, to indulge and cherish lust and wickedness.
“ There is not now a system, an entire table of coherent truths to be found, or a frame of holiness, but some shivered parcels. And if any with great toil and labour apply themselves, to draw out here one piece, and there another, and set them together; they serve rather to show, how exquisite the divine workmanship was in the original composition, than the excellent purposes for which the whole was at first designed. Some pieces agree and own one another :