« AnteriorContinuar »
It cannot be denied, however, that some remnants of the divine image still exist in us, not wholly extinguished by this spiritual death.* This is evident, not only from the wisdom and holiness of many of the heathen, manifested both in words and deeds, but also from what is said Gen. ix. 2. the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth.' v. 6. 'whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God made he man. These vestiges of original excellence are visible, first, in the understanding. Psal. xix. 1. the heavens declare the glory of God ;' which could not be, if man were incapable of hearing their voice. Rom. i. 19, 20. • that which may be known of God is manifest in them.... for the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen.' v. 32. who knowing the judgement of God.' i. 15. which show the work of the law written in their hearts.' vii. 23, 24. I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my inind....O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?' Nor, secondly, is the liberty of the will entirely destroyed. First, with regard to things indifferent, whether natural or civil. I Cor. vii. 36, 37, 39. let him do what he will.... he hath power over his own will....she is at liberty to be married to whom she will.' Secondly, the will is clearly not altogether inefficient in respect of good works, or at any rate of good endeavours; at least after the grace of God has called us : but its power is so small and
* See p. 77. note $. And again ;For there are left some remains · of God's image in man, as he is merely man'. Tetrachordon. Prose Works, II. 124.
insignificant, as merely to deprive us of all excuse for inaction, without affording any subject for boasting. Deut. xxx. 19. choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live. Psal. lxxviii. 8. 'a generation that set not their heart aright.' Jer. vii. 13–16.
because I spake unto you, rising up early, and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not ; therefore,' &c. Language which would not have been applied to mere senseless stocks. xxxi. 18. • turn thou me, and I shall be turned.' Zech. i. 3. turn ye unto me, and I will turn unto you.' Mark ix. 2.°, 24. if thou canst believe.... and straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief.' Rom. j. 14. 'when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law. vi. 16. know ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey ; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness ?? vii. 18. to will is present with me ;' and v. 21. when I would do good :' which words appear to be spoken in the person of one not yet fully renewed, and who, if he had experienced God's grace in vocation, was still destitute of his regenerating influence. See v. 14. • I am carnal, sold under sin.' For as to the expression in v. 25. I thank God through Jesus Christ,' this, and similar language and conduct, are not inconsistent with the character of one who is as yet only called. ix. 31. • Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. x. 2. they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.' 1 Cor. ix. 17. if I do
this thing willingly, I have a reward, but if against my will-. Philipp. iii. 6. concerning zeal, persecuting the church ; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.' 1 Pet. v. 2. • feed the flock of God.... not by constraint, but willingly.' Hence almost all mankind profess some desire of virtue, and turn with abhorrence from some of the more atrocious crimes. 1 Cor. v. 1. ósuch fornication as is not so much as mentioned among the Gentiles.
There can be no doubt that for the purpose of vindicating* the justice of God, especially in his calling of mankind, it is much better to allow to man, (whether as a remnant of his primitive state, or as restored through the operation of the grace whereby he is called) some portion of free will in respect of good works, or at least of good endeavours, rather than in respect of things which are indifferent. For if God be conceived to rule with absolute disposal all the actions of men, natural as well as civil, he appears to do nothing which is not his right, neither will any one murmur against such a procedure. But if he inclines the will of man to moral good or evil, according to his own pleasure, and then rewards the good, and punishes the wicked, the course of equity seems to be disturbed ; and it is entirely on this supposition that the outcry against the divine justice is founded. It would appear, therefore, that God's
* Ad asserendam justitiam Dei. Milton introduces the Latinism in his Paradise Lost:
That to the height of this great argument
general government of the universe, to which such frequent allusion is made, should be understood as relating to natural and civil concerns, to things indifferent and fortuitous, in a word, to anything rather than to matters of morality and religion. And this is confirmed by many passages of Scripture. 2 Chron. xv. 12, 14. they entered into a covenant to seek Jehovah the God of their fathers with all their heart, and with all their soul : and they sware unto Jehohovah.' Psal. cxix. 106. • I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgements.' For if our personal religion were not in some degree dependent on ourselves, and in our own power, God could not properly enter into a covenant with us; neither could we perform, much less swear to perform, the conditions of that covenant.
OF THE DEATH OF THE BODY.
The third degree of death is what is called the death of the body. To this all the labours, sorrows, and diseases which afflict the body, are nothing but the prelude. Gen. iii. 16. I will greatly multiply thy sorrow.' v. 17. in sorrow shalt thou eat of it.' v. 19. in the sweat of thy face thou shalt eat bread.' Job v.7. man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.' Deut. xxviii. 22. Jehovah shall smite thee with a consumption.' Hos. ii. 18. in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the. field. Rom. ii. 9. tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil.' All nature is likewise subject to mortality and a curse on account of man. Gen. iii. 17. cursed is the ground for thy sake.' Rom. viii. 20, 21, the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly.' Even the beasts are not exempt, Gen. ii. 14. vi. 7. So the first-born of beasts' in the land of Egypt perished for the sins of their masters, Exod. xi. 5.
The death of the body is to be considered in the light of a punishment for sin, no less than the other degrees of death, notwithstanding the contrary opinion