« PreviousContinue »
ruin for their sin, which actually will be the consequence, unless mere grace steps in and prevents it. If this be allowed, the argument from justice is given up; for it is to sup: pose that their liableness to misery and ruin comes in a way of justice; otherwise there would be no need of the interposition of divine grace to save them. Justice alone would be sufficient sceurity, is exercised, without grace. It is all one in this dispute about what is just and righteous, whether men are born in a miserable state, by a tendency to ruin, which actually follows, and that justly ; or whether they are born in such a state as tends to a desert of ruin, which might justly follow, and would actually follow, did not grace prevent. For the controversy is not, what grace will do, but what justice might do. _* I have been the more particular on this head, because it enervates many of the reasonings and conclusions by which Dr. Taylor makes out his scheme; in which he argues from that state which mankind are in by divine grace, yea, which he him. self supposes to be by divine grace, and yet not making any allowance for this, he from hence draws conclusions against what others suppose of the deplorable and ruined state mankind are in by the fall. He often speaks of death and afflic. tion as coming on Adam's posterity in consequence of his sin; and in pages 20, 21, and many other places, he supposes that these things come in consequence of his sin, not as a punishment or a calamity, but as a benefit. But in page 23, he supposes these things would be a great calamity and misery, if it were not for the resurrection ; which resurrection he there, and in the following pages, and in many other pla: ces, speaks of as being by Christ; and often speaks of it as being by the grace of God in Christ. In pages 63, 64, speaking of our being subjected to sorrow, labor and death, in consequence of Adam's sin, he represents these as evils that are reversed and turned into advantages, and that we are delivered from through grace in ChristAnd in pages 65....67, he speaks of God's thus turning death into an advantage through grace in Christ, as what vindicates the justice of God in bringing death by Adam.
In pages 152, 156, it is one thing which he alleges against this proposition of the assembly of divines, that we are by nature bondslaves to Satan; That God hath been firoviding, from the beginning of the world to this day, various means and disfensations, to fireserve and rescue mankind from the devil. In pages 168.170, one thing alleged in answer to that objection against his doctrine, that we are in worse circumstances than Adam, is, the happy circumstances we are under by the provision and means furnished through free grace in Christ. In page 228, among other things which he says, in answering that argument against his doctrine, and brought to shew men have corruption by nature, viz. that there is a law in our members....bringing us into captivity to the law of sin \ and death, spoken of in Rom. vii. he allows that the case of those who are under a law threatening death for every sin (which law he elsewhere says, shews us the natural and firosher demerit of sin, and is fierfectly consonant to everlasting truth and righteousness) must be quite defilorable, if they have no reiief from the mercy of the lawgiver. In pages 90....93, S. in opposition to what is supposed of the miserable state mankind are brought into by Adam's sin, one thing he alleges, is, The noble designs of love, manifested by advancing a new and has fly disfiensation, founded on the obedience and righteousness of the Son of God ; and that although by Adam we are subjected to death, yet in this dispensation a resurrection is provided ; and that Adam's posterity are under a mild dispensation of grace, &c. In page 1 12, S. he vindicates God's dealings with Adam, in placing him at first under the rigor of law, transgress and die, (which, as he expresses it, was flutting his haffliness on a foot extremely dangerous) by saying, that as God had before determined in his own breast, so he immediately established his covenant usion a quite different bottom, namely, usion grace. In pages 122, 123, S. against what R. R. says, that God forsook man when he fell, and that mankind after Adam's sin were born without the divine favor, &c. he alleges among other things, Christ's coming to be the firoshitiation for the sins of
the whole world. And the riches of God’s merry in giving the fromise of a Redeemer to destroy the works of the devil. That he caught his sinning, falling creature in the arms of his grace. In his note on Rom. v. 20, p. 297, 298, he says as follows: “The law, I conceive, is not a dispensation suitable to the infirmity of the human nature in our present state ; or it doth not seem congruous to the goodness of God, to afford us no other way of salvation but by law, which, if we once transgress, we are ruined forever. For who then from the beginning of the world could be saved 2 And therefore it seems to me that the law was not absolutely intended to be a rule for obtaining life, even to Adam in Paradise. Grace was the dispensation God intended mankind should be under ; and therefore Christ was foreordained before the foundation of the world.” There are various other passages in this author's writings of the like kind. Some of his arguments and conclusions to this effect, in order to be made good, must depend on such a supposition as this: That God's dispensations of grace are rectifications or amendments of his foregoing constitutions and proceedings, which were merely legal; as though the dispensations of grace, which succeed those of mere law, implied an acknowledgment, that the preceding, legal constitution would be unjust, if left as it was, or at least, very hard dealing with mankind ; and that the other were of the nature of a satisfaction to his creatures, for former injuries or hard treatment ; so that put together, the injury with the satisfaction, the legal and injurious dispensation, taken with the following good dispensation, which our author calls grace, and the unfairness or improper severity of the former, amended by the goodness of the latter, both together made up one righteous dispensation. The reader is desired to bear in mind that which I have said concerning the interposition of divine grace, its not altering the nature of things, as they are in themselves; and accordingly, when I speak of such and such an evil tendency of things, belonging to the present nature and state of mankind, understand me to mean their tendency as they are in them
selves, abstracted from any consideration of that remedy the
taking it for granted that they come guilty into the world) is a thing most clearly and abundantly evident from the holy scriptures. 1 Kings viii. 46. “If any man sin against thee; for there is no man that sinneth not.” Eccl. vii. 20. “There is not a just man upon earth that doeth good, and sinneth not.” Job ix. 2, 3. “I know it is so of a truth, (i.e. as Bildad had just before said, that God would not cast away a fierfect man, &c.) but how should man be just with God? If he will contend with him, he cannot answer him one of a thousand.” To the like purpose, Psalm cxliii. 2. “Enter not into judgment with thy servant; for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.” So the words of the apostle (in which he has apparent reference to those of the Psalmist) Rom. iii. 19, 20. “That every mouth may be stopped, and all the world become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh Le justified in his sight; for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” So Gal. ii. 16, and 1 John i. 7....10. “If we walk in the light, the blood of Christ cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” As in this place, so in innumerable other places, confession and repentance of sin are spoken of, as duties proper for all ; as also prayer to God for pardon of sin ; and forgiveness of those that injure us, from that motive, that we hope to be forgiven of God. Universal guilt of sin might also be demonstrated from the appointment, and the declared use and end of the ancient sacrifices; and also from the ransom, which every one that was numbered in Israel, was directed to pay, to make atonement for his soul, Exod. xxx. 11.... 16. All are represented, not only as being sinful, but as having great and manisold iniquity, Job ix. 2, 3, James iii. 1, 2. There are many scriptures which both declare the universal sinfulness of mankind, and also that all sin deserves and justly exposes to everlasting destruction, under the wrath and curse of God ; and so demonstrate both parts of the