Page images
PDF
EPUB

would not have been agreeable to the wise and holy proceedings of the judge of all the earth. Since God declared, that if there had been found but ten righteous in Sodom, he would have spared the whole city for their sake, may we not well suppose, if infants are perfectly innocent, that he would have spared the old world, in which there were, without doubt, many hundred thousand infants, and in general one in every family, whose perfect innocence pleaded for its preservation ? Especially when such vast care was taken to save Noah and his family, (some of whom, one at least, seem to have been none of the best) that they might not be involved in that destruction. If the perfect sinlessness of infants had been a notion entertained among the people of God of old, in the ages next following the flood, handed down from Noah and his children, who well knew that vast multitudes of insants perished in the flood, is it likely that Eliphaz, who lived within a few generations of Shem and Noah, would have said to Job, as he does in that forementioned, Job iv. 7. “Who ever perished, being innocent? And when were the righteous cut off?” Especially since in the same discourse (Chap. v. 1.) he appeals to the tradition of the ancients for a confirmation of this very point; as he also does in Chap. xv. 7.... 10, and xxii. 15, 16. In which last place he mentions that very thing, the destruction of the wicked by the flood, as an instance of that perishing of the wicked, which he supposes to be peculiar to them, for Job's conviction; in which the wicked were cut down out of time, their foundation being overflown with a flood. Where it is also observable, that he speaks of such an untimeliness of death as they suffered by the flood, as one evidence of guilt ; as he also does, Chap. xv. 32, 33. “It shall be accomplished before his time; and his branch shall not be green.” But those that were destroyed by the flood in infancy, above all the rest were cut down out of time ; when instead of living above nine hundred years, according to the common period of man's life, many were cut down before they were one year old. And when God executed vengeance on the ancient inhabitants of Canaan, not only did he not spare their cities and families for the sake of the infants that were therein, nor take any care that they should not be involved in the destruction ; but often with particular care repeated his express commands, that their infants should not be spared, but should be utterly destroyed, without any pity; while Rahab the harlot (who had been far from innocence, though she expressed her faith in entertaining, and safely dismissing the spies) was preserved, and all her friends for her sake. And when God executed his wrath on the Egyptians, by slaying their first born, though the children of Israel, who were most of them wicked men, as was before shewn, were wonderfully spared by the destroying angel, yet such first born of the Egyptians as were infants, were not spared. They not only were not rescued by the angel, and no miracle wrought to save them (as was observed in the case of the infants of Sodom) but the angel destroyed them by his own immediate hand, and a miracle was wrought to kill them. Here, not to stay to be particular concerning the command by Moses, respecting the destruction of the infants of the Midianites, Num. xxxi. 17. And that given to Saul to destroy all the infants of the Amalekites, 1 Sam. xv. 3, and what is said concerning Edom, Psalm crxxvii. 9. “Happy shall he be that taketh, and dasheth thy little ones against the stones. I proceed to take notice of something remarkable concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, represented in Fzek. ix. when command was given to them, that had charge over the city, to destroy the inhabitants, verse 1.8 And this reason is given for it, that their iniquity required it, and it was a just recompense of their sin, verse 9, 10. And God at the same time was most particular and exact in his care that such should by no means be involved in the slaughter, as had proved by their behavior, that they were not partakers in the abominations of the city. Command was given to the angel to go through the city, and set a mark upon their foreheads, and the destroying angel had a strict charge not to come near any man, on whom was the mark; yet the infants were not marked, nor a word said of sparing them : On the contrary, infants were expressly mentioned as those that should be utter

ly destroyed, without pity, verse 5, 6. “Go through the city, and smite : Let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity. Slay utterly old and young, both maids and little children; but come not near any man upon whom is the mark. And if any should suspect that such instances as these were peculiar to a more severe dispensation, under the Old Testament, let us consider a remarkable instance in the days of the glorious gospel of the grace of God; even the last destruction of Jerusalem; which was far more terrible, and with greater testimonies of God's wrath and indignation, than the destruction of Sodom, or of Jerusalem in Nebuchadnezzar's time, or any thing that ever had happened to any city or people, from the beginning of the world to that time : Agreeable to Matth. xxiv. 21, and Luke xxi. 22, 23. But at that time particular care was taken to distinguish and deliver God's people, as was foretold Dan. xii. 1. And we have in the New Testament a particular account of the care Christ took for the preservation of his followers : He gave them a sign, by which they might know when the desolation of the city was nigh, that they that were in Jerusalem might flee to the mountains, and escape. And as history gives account, the Christians followed the directions given, and escaped to a place in the mountains called Pella, and were preserved. Yet no care was taken to preserve the infants of the city, in general; but, according to the predictions of that event, they were involved with others in that great destruction : So heavily did the calamity fall upon them, that those words were verified, Luke xxiii. 29. “Behold the days are coming, in which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the womb that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. And that prophecy in Deut. xxxii. 21...25, which has undoubtedly special respect to this very time, and is so applied by the best commentators. “I will provoke them to jealousy, with those that are not a people ; for a fire is kindled in mine anger; and it shall burn to the lowest hell. I will heap mischiefs upon them : I will spend mine arrows upon them. They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and bitter destruction. The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy

both the young man, and the virgin, the suckling also, with the man of grey hairs.” And it appears by the history of that destruction, that at that time was a remarkable fulfilment of that in Deut. xxviii. 53....57, concerning flarents’ eating their children in the siege ; and the tender and delicate woman eating her newborn child. And here it must be remembered, that these very destructions of that city and land are spoken of in those places forementioned, as clear evidences of God's wrath, to all nations which shall behold them. And if so, they were evidences of God's wrath towards infants; who, equally with the rest, were the subjects of the destruction. If a particular kind or rank of persons, which made a very considerable part of the inhabitants, were from time to time partakers of the overthrow, without any distinction made in divine providence, and yet this was no evidence at all of God's displeasure with any of them ; then a being the subjects of such a calamity could not be an evidence of God’s wrath against any of the inhabitants, to the reason of all nations, or any nation, or so much as one person,

VoI. VI. - 2 I

PART II.

Containing observations on particular parts of the Holy Scripture, which prove the Doctrine of Original Sin.

CHAPTER I.

Observations relating to things contained in the three first Chapters of Genesis, with reference to the Doctrine of Original Sin.

SECTION I.

Concerning Original Righteousness; and whether our first Parents were created with Righteousness, or moral rectitude of Heart &

THE doctrine of Original Righteousness, or the creation of our first parents with holy principles and dispositions, has a close connexion, in several respects, with the doctrine of Original Sin. Dr Taylor was sensible of this ; and accordingly he strenuously opposes this doctrine, in his book against Original sin. And therefore in handling the subject, I would in the first place remove this author's main objection against this doctrine, and then shew how the doctrine may be inferred from the account which Moses gives us, in the three first chafters of Genesis.

« PreviousContinue »