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xii. 20; xvi. 25.) Thus he fearfully evidences the truth of Solomon's saying, 'The prosperity of fools shall destroy them.' (Prov. i. 43.)
Par.-If the unconverted man hath the fatal art of extracting poison out of every dealing of Providence, he can also extract a remedy out of every dispensation of divine grace.
Min.-Just the contrary; He hath the wretched skill to turn every spiritual blessing into a curse.-(1.) Does the Lord send his law as a schoolmaster to bring him to Christ?' (Gal. iii. 24.) It is to him a dead letter. Ignorant of its spiritual meaning, he contents himself with performing the outward duties it requires, and like the Pharisees, whose leaven has infected his soul, (Mark viii. 15,) he goes about to establish his own righteousness,' by the law, instead of fleeing, before it, to Christ who is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.' (Rom. x. 2.)—(2.) Does Jesus bless him with a written, or preached gospel? He rejects the counsel of God against himself;' and what should be a savour of life unto life' unto him, proves a savour of death unto death.' (Luke vii. 30; 2 Cor. ii. 16.)—(3.) Christ himself, the precious corner stone laid in Sion,' for lost sinners to build their hopes upon, becomes to him a stumbling-stone, and a rock of offence.' (1 Pet. ii. 8; Rom. viii. 33.) He sins on, without fear, because "God is merciful' to those who forsake their sin; and he blesses himself in his iniquity,' because Christ died to redeem him from all iniquity. (Tit. ii. 14.)
Is it any wonder then, if God is angry with him every day,' and declares that if he will not turn, He will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, made it ready, and prepared for him the instruments of death; -even the worm that dieth not, aud the fire which is not quenched.' (Mark ix. 44; Psalm vii. 12.)
Par.-You are very forward in sentencing people to eternal death. God is more merciful than you; and I hope none of us shall go into everlasting burnings. It
is barbarous to doom to unquenchable fire people who never were guilty of any notorious crimes.
Min.-If there be any barbarity in the case, I amı not chargeable with it. I simply tell you what I see in the Scriptures, and quote the chapter and verse that you may not think I impose my sentiments upon you. With regard to your objection, I make no doubt but the righteous Judge will punish those sinners, whose iniquities have peculiar aggravations, with torments peculiarly aggravated: But though the unconverted man's sins should not have been of the scandalous sort, his doom will be most fearful.
Par. This requires a solid proof, and you produce only a bare assertion.
Min.-Every wilful sin, (and the natural man commits some such daily,) hath in it the principle of all iniquity; viz. the contempt of that sovereign authority, which is equally stamped upon all the commandments of God. You know, that, even according to the civil law, he who genteelly robs a traveller of one piece of silver, forfeits his life, as well as he who barbarously murders him, and carries off a thousand pieces of gold; because both equally break the law which forbids robbery, though one docs it with less horrible circumstances than the other.
Par. But shall we say, the law of God is upon the same plan, as the law of the land, in this respect?
Min.-Yes, exactly, as to the tenor of it, it is: "The soul that sinneth,' and not the soul that committeth a crime of such or such a blackness, it shall die.' (Ezek. viii. 3.) The wages of sin',' whether it be scandalous or fashionable, is death;' (Rom. vi. 23 ;) ' for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven, against all unrighteousness of men,' and not only against offences of the grosser kind, as you foudly suppose. (Rom. i. 18.) The Scriptures agree, that they are cursed, who do err,' more or less, from God's commandments;' (Psalm cxix. 21;) that cursed is every one who continueth not in all things which are written
in the book of the law to do them,' (Gal. iii. 10;) and that whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, is guilty of all.' (James ii. 10.)
Par. The passages you quote are very express; but I hope the curse which they mention, is not so terrible as you imagine.
Min.-'It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.' (Heb. x. 31.) 'Our God is a consuming fire,' to unbelievers: (Heb. xii. 29 :) He declares, by his servants, that they all shall be damned that believe not the truth, but have pleasure in un righteousness,'-that the wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the people that forget God ;'—that the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on those that know him not, and obey not his gospel ;'—that they shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;'-and lastly, that the fearful curse will be fixed, for ever, by Christ the Judge of all, who will say to the unconverted, 'Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.' (2 Thess. ii. 12; Psalm ix. 17; 2 Thess. i. 8; Matt. xxv. 41.)
Thus you see, that it is not miuisters who condemn impenitent sinners to eternal death; but God's unchangeable law, which passes sentence upon them in this world, and the loving Jesus himself, who will ratify, and execute it, in the world to come. Nor is there any other place of refuge, from this dreadful curse, but the shadow of the Saviour's wings, who vouchsafes to redeem us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.' (Gal. iii. 13.)
Here the Minister ceased to speak, and his opponent, instead of making a quick reply, sat pensive some moments, as if he were at a loss to find new objections; but soon recovering himself, he began the Third Part, in which the Fall and Misery of Man are proved from Reason.
In which the Apostasy and Misery of Man are proved from Reason.
PAR. I confess you have silenced me by scripture : But does reason agree here with revelation? Many say, that the doctrine of original sin is "original nonsense."
Min. It is easy to cavil against, but difficult to overturn the truth. If the oracles of God maintain this doctrine, reason is not against it. Sound reason is for it, as I hope to prove by a variety of rational argu
FIRST ARGUMENT.-Reason tells us, that some mystery of iniquity lies hid under the shocking circumstances of the labour of women and birth of children; and that if our nature were not sinful, the gracious God could not, in justice, suffer millions of infants, who never actually sinned, to go through the miseries of a lingering life, and the agonies of an untimely death.
Par. Your argument would seem to me unanswerable, if it did not prove too much; but it unhappily proves that beasts also are sinful, for they are brought forth with sorrow, and end a toilsome life by a painful death, as well as the children of men.
Min. Your objection, far from overturning my argument, gives me an opportunity of strengthening it by three considerations.
1. Search the whole earth, and you will not find in it one species of creatures that brings forth its young ones, in general, with half the pangs and dangers wherewith women bring forth their children; and is
not this a call to look for the cause of this evil where it is most sensibly felt?
2. The curse of fallen man having seized upon the whole creation, caused a general degeneracy in every species of living creatures. The majesty of the lion sunk into cruelty, and the courage of the tiger into fierceness. All the ranks of milder animals were stamped with dulness, wildness or untractableness, and this fatal change made them hasten to their dissolution. Remember, therefore, that it is only in consequence of our curse rebounding upon beasts, and causing them to degenerate from their original perfection that toil follows, and death overtakes them.
3. Though this degeneracy cannot be called sinfulness in beasts, it can in man, not only because it came from him, and is much stronger in him; but also because he is naturally a moral agent, whereas beasts are not. Therefore, the degeneracy, sufferings, and death of beasts, prove the depravity and misery of man, as strongly as the effect proves the existence of its
Par. You surprise me in affirming, that the death of beasts is a consequence of their degeneracy, and their degeneracy a consequence of our curse aud sinfulness: I thought that beasts would have died even in Paradise.
Min.-This thought seems to want both the sanction of reason, and that of revelation: Reason dictates, that as a wise artist will never make a watch to get it bruised in pieces under the smith's hammer; so the wise God never originally made an animal for the stroke of death: And revelation informs us, that' by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin;' and that' by one man's offence, death reigned by one.' (Rom. v. 12, 16.) As therefore no creature would have died, if man had not brought sin and death into the world, so the death of every creature proves the sinfulness of man; and if even the death of an insect proves this, how much more man's own death;
Par. The force of your argument depends, in