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But this no man ever was, neither can be, who does not know he hasa corrupt nature. .
This doctrine therefore is the “most proper” of all others, " to be instilled into a child :" that it is by nature a child of wrath, under the guilt and under the power of sin: that it can be saved from wrath, only by the merits, and sufferings, and love of the Son of God: that it can be delivered froin the power of sin, only by the inspiration of his Holy Spirit: but that by his grace it may be renewed in the image of God, perfected in love, and made meet for glory.
But “must it not lessen the due love of parents to children, to believe they are the vilest creatures in the world ?" (p. 262, 263.) Far from it; if they know how God loves both them and their's, vile and sinful as they are. And it is a certain fact, that no parents love their children more tenderly, than those who firmly believe this doctrine: and that none are more careful to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.'
But “ how can young people remember their Creator without horror, if he has given them life under such deplorable circumstances ?" They can remember him with pleasure, with earnest thankfulness, when they reflect out of what a pit he hath brought them up: and that if sin abounded, both by nature and habit, grace did much more abound.
You conclude, “Why should we subject our consciences to tales and fables, invented by priests and monks ?” (p. 264.) This fable, as you term it, of original sin, could not be invented by Romish priests or monks : because it is by many ages older than either; yea, ihan Christianity itself.
I have now weighed, as my leisure would permit, all the arguments advanced in your three parts. And this I have done with continual prayer, that I might know the truth as it is in Jesus. But still I see no ground to alter my sentiments, touching the general corruption of human nature. Nor can I find any better or any other way, of accounting for that general wickedness, which has prevailed in all nations, and through all ages, nearly from the beginning of the world to this day.
Lewisham, Jan. 25, 1757. .
YOU subjoin to your book a very large SuppųEMÉNT, in answer to Dr. Jennings and Dr. Watts. All that they have advanced, I am not engaged to defend ; but such parts only as affect the merits of the
You divide this part of your work into eight sections. The first treats
OF IMPUTED GUILT.
And here you roundly affirm, “ No action is said in Scripture to be imputed to any person for righteousness or condemnation, but the proper act and deed of that person.'
Were then the iniquities and sins which were put upon the scape. goat, his own proper act and deed! You answer,
Here was no im. putation of sin to the goat. It was only a figurative way of signify. ing the removal of guilt, from the penitent Israelites, by the goat's going into the wilderness.” But how could it be a figure of any such thing, if no guilt was imputed to bim?
" Aaron is commanded, to put the iniquities of Israel upon the scape-goat. (Lev. xvi 21.) And this goat is said to bear the iniquities of the people' (ver. 22.) This was plainly an imputation. i et it could not possibly be an imputation of any thing done by the animal itself. The effects also which took place upon the execution of the ordinance indicate a translation of guilt for the congregation was cleansed, but the goat was polluted. The congregation so cleansed, that their iniquities were borrie away, and to be found no more: the goat so polluted, that it communicated defilement to the person who conducted it into a land not inhabited.”
In truth the scape-goat was a figure of him, on whom the Lord laid the iniquities of us all." (Isa. liii. 6.) He bore our iniquity!' (ver. 11.) "He bare the sin of many.' (ver. 12.) The Prophet uses three different words in the original; of which the first does properly signify the meeting together; the last, the lifting up a weight or burden. This burden it was which made bim .sweat as it were great drops of blood falling to the ground.' " But iniquity and sin sometimes signify suffering.” (p. 8, 9.). Yes; suffering for sin, the effect being put for the cause. Accordingly what we mean by, our sins were imputed to him,' is, he was punished for them; he was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities.' He who knew no sin,' but what was thus imputed, was made sin,' a sin offering for us : " It pleased the Lord" (your own words) - 10 bruise him, in order to the expiation of our sins.” (p. 10, 11.)
But with regard to parents and their posterity, God assures us, children shall not die for the iniquity of their fathers.'” No, not eternally. I believe none ever did or ever will die eternally, merely for the sin of our first father.
" But the Scripture never speaks of imputing any sin to any person, but what is the act of that person.” (p. 13, 14.)
It was but now you yourself observed, that by “our sins were imputed to Christ,". we mean,
He suffered for them.” Our sins then were imputed to Christ. And yet these sins were not the act of the person that suffered. He did not commit the sin which was thus imputed to him.
But “no just constitution can punish the innocent.” (p. 16.). This is undoubtedly true. Therefore God does not look upon infants as innocent, but as involved in the guilt of Adam's sin. Otherwise
Supplement, p. 7.
death, the punishment denounced against that sin, could not be inflicted upon
them. " It is allowed the posterity of Ham and Gehazi, and the children of Dathan and Abiram, suffered for the sins of their parents.” It is enough. You need allow no more. All the world will see, if they suffered for them, then they were punished for them. Yet we do not "confound punishment with suffering, as if to suffer and to be punished, were the same thing." Punishment is not barely suffering, but suffering for sin : To suffer and to be punished, are not the same thing. But to suffer for sin, and to be punished are precisely the same.
If therefore the children of Dathan and Abiram suffered for the sins of their parents, which no man can deny, then they were punished for them. Consequently it is not true, that " in the instances alleged, the parents only were punished by the sufferings of the children.” If the children suffered for those sins, then they were punished for them. Indeed sometimes the parents too were punished, by the sufferings of their children ; which is all that your heap of quotations proves :* and sometimes they were not. But however this were ; if the children suffered for their sins, they were punished for them.
It is not therefore “evident, that in all these cases, children are considered not as criminals, involved in guilt, but as the enjoyments of their parents who alone are punished by their sufferings.” (p. 18.) On the contrary, it is very evident that the children of Canaan weré . punished for the sin of Ham; and that the children of Dathan and Abiram were punished with death, as “involved in the guilt of their parents."
On the other hand, the virtues of an ancestor may convey great advantages to his posterity. But no man's posterity can be rewarded for their ancestor's virtue." (p. 21.) The point here in dispute between Dr. Watts and you, is whether the thing, concerning which you agreed, should be expressed by one term or another? You both agree, (and no man in his senses can deny) that in all ages, God has, on account of pious ancestors, given many blessing to their offspring. But he thinks, these blessings should be termed rewards, and so do all the world ;) you say, they should not. The fact is plain either way; God does continually, and he did in all ages, give numberless blessings to the children, on account of the piety of their fathers, And it is certain, blessings given on account of virtue, have been hitherto termed rewards both by God and man
You conclude this section, “ Thus it appears, the distinction between personal sin and imputed guilt, is without'any ground in Scripture.” (p. 22.) Just the contrary appears, namely, that guilt was imputed to the scape-goat, to the children of wicked parents, and to our blessed Lord himself, without any personal sin. The distinction therefore is sound and scriptural.
Of the Nature and Design of our Afflictions and Mortality.
THAT GOD designs to bring good out of these is certain. But does this prove, they have not the nature of punishments ? Did Adam himself suffer any affliction ? Any toil or pain? Doubtless, he did, long before be returned to dust. And can we doubt, but he received spiritual good from that pain? Yet it was a punishment still : as really such, as if it had consigned him over to everlasting punishment. This argument therefore is of no weight : “ God draws good out of punishments: therefore they are no punishments at all.” However, then, the sufferings wherein Adam's sin has involved his whole posterity, may “try and purify us, in order to future and everlasting happiness,” (p. 23,) this circumstance does not alter their nature: they are punishments still.
Let "afflictions, calamities, and death itself, be means of improving in virtue,” (p. 24,) of healing or preventing sin, this is no manner of proof, that they are not punishments. Was not God able to heal or prevent sin, without either pain 'or death? Could not the Almighty have done this, as easily, as speedily, and as effectually,
without these as with them? Why then did he not? Why did · Adam's sin bring these on his whole posterity? Why should one man suffer for another man's fault? If you say, to cure his own; I ask, 1. What necessity was there of any suffering at all for this? If God intended only to cure his sin, he could have done that without any suffering. I ask, 2. Why do infants suffer? What sin have they to be cured thereby ? . If you say, “ It is to heal the sin of their parents, who sympathize and suffer with them :" in a thousand instances this has no place : the parents are not the better, nor any way likely to be the better, for all the sufferings of their children. Their sufferings therefore, yea, and those of all mankind, which are entailed upon them by the sin of Adam, are not the result of mere · mercy but of justice also. In other words, they have in them the nature of punishments, even on us and on our children. Therefore children themselves are not innocent before God. They suffer, therefore they deserve to suffer.
And here another question arises; What benefit accrues to the brute creation, from the sufferings wherein their whole race is involved through the sin of the first man? The fact cannot be denied, daily experience attests what we read in the oracles of God, that the whole ereation groaneth and travaileth in pain to this day,' a considerable part of it groans to God, under the wantonness or cruelty of man. Their sufferings are caused, or at least greatly increased, by our luxury or inhumanity: nay, and by our diversions ! We draw entertainment from the pain, the death of other creatures: not to mention several entire species, which at present have such natural qualities, that we are obliged to inflict pain, nay, perhaps death upon them, purely in our own defence. And even those species which are out of the reach of men, are not out of the reach of suffering. The lions do lack and suffer hunger,' though they are as it were sovereigns of the plain. Do they not acknowledge this, when roaring for their prey,' they seek their meat from God ? And what shall we say of their helpless prey? Is not their lot more miserable still? Now what benefits, I say, have these from their sufferings ? Are they also “ tried and purified thereby ?" Do sufferings “ correct their inordinate passions, and dispose their minds to sober reflections ?” Do they “give them opportunity of exercising kindness and compassion, in relieving each other's distresses ?” That I know not: but I know by this and a thousand proofs, that when man, the lord of the visible creation, rebelled against God, every
part of the creation began to suffer on account of his sin. And to suffering on account of sin, I can give no properer name than that of punishment.
" It was to reclaim offenders, that an extraordinary power was exercised, either immediately by our Lord himself, or by his apostles, of inflicting bodily distempers, and in some cases death itself.” (p. 25.) I do not remember any more than one single case wherein one of the apostles 6 inflicted death.” I remember no instance recorded in Scripture, of their “ inflicting bodily distempers.” (The blindness inflicted on Elimas cannot be so termed, without great impropriety,) and certain I am, that our Lord himself inflicted neither one nor the other.
The citations in the next page prove no more than that we may reap benefit from the punishment of others. (p. 26.) But though either we or they reap benefit from them, yet they are punishments still.
“We do not here consider death and suffering as they stand in the threatening of the law.” (p. 27.) You are sensible, if we did, all mankind must acknowledge them to be punishments. And this is the very light wherein we do and must consider them in the present question. We consider death and suffering, as they stand in that threatening, Thou shalt surely die.' That this was denounced to all mankind we know, because it is executed on all. Therefore, considering suffering and death as so threatened and executed, we cannot deny, that they are punishments : punishments not on Adam only, but on all that in fact do either die or suffer.
To sum up this point: although the wisdom and mercy of God do “bring good out of evil." Although God designs to extract blessings from punishments, and does it in numberless instances : yet this does not alter the nature of things, but punishments are punishments still : still this name properly belongs to all sufferings, which are inflicted on account of sin : and, consequently, it is an evident truth, that the whole animate creation is punished for Adam's sin.