« PreviousContinue »
such view ; for it could not be viewed under circumstances under which it never existed. 5. If it be as our author supposes, that the sentence of death on all men comes under the notion of a judgment to condemnation by this means, viz. that the threatening to Adam was in some respect the ground of it; then it also comes under the notion of a punishment: For threatenings annexed to breaches of laws, are to punishments ; and a judgment of condemnation to the thing threatened, must be to punishment; and the thing condemned to, must have as much the notion of a punishment, as the sentence has the notion of a judgment to condemnation. But this, Dr. Taylor wholly denies : He denies that the death sentenced to, comes as any punishment at all, but insists that it comes only as afavor and benefit, and a fruit of fatherly love to Adam’s posterity, respected, not as guilty, but wholly innocent. So that his scheme will not admit of its coming under the notion of a sentence to condemnation in any respect whatsoever. Our author's supposition, that the possible existence of Adam's posterity comes under the threatening of the law, and into the hands of the judge, and is the ground of the condemnation of all men to death, implies, that death, by this sentence, is appointed to mankind as an evil, at least negatively so ; as it is a privation of good : For he manifestly speaks of a nonexistence as a negative evil. But herein he is inconsistent with himself: For he continually insists, that mankind are subjected to death only as a benefit, as has been before shewn. According to him, death is not appointed to mankind as a negative evil, as any cessation of existence, as any cessation or even diminution of good; but on the contrary, as a means of a more hafifty existence, and a great increase of good. So that this evasion, or salvo of Dr. Taylor's, is so far from helping the matter, or salving the inconsistence, that it increases it. And that the constitution or law, with the threatening of death annexed, which was given to Adam, was to him as the head of mankind, and to his posterity as included in him, not only follows from some of our author's own assertions, and
Vol. VI. 2 N
the plain and full declarations of the apostle, in the fifth of Romans (of which more afterwards) which drove Dr. Taylor into such gross inconsistencies: But the account given in the three first chapters of Genesis, directly and inevitably leads us to such a conclusion. Though the sentence, Gen. iii. 19. Unto dust thou shalt return, be not of equal extent with the threatening in the foregoing chapter, or an execution of the main curse of the law therein denounced ; for, that it should have been so, would have been inconsistent with the intimations of mercy just before given : Yet it is plain, this sentence is in pursuance of that threatening, being to something that was included in it. The words of the sentence were delivered to the same person, with the words of the threatening, and in the same manner, in like singular terms, as much without any express mention of his posterity : And yet it manifestly appears by the consequence, as well as all circumstances, that his posterity were included in the words of the sentence; as is confessed on all hands. And as the words were apparently delivered in the form of the sentence of a judge, condemning for something that he was displeased with, and ought to be condemned, viz. sin; and as the sentence to him and his posterity was but one, dooming to the same suffering, under the same circumstances, both the one and the other sentenced in the same words, spoken but once, and immediately to but one person, we hence justly infer, that it was the same thing to both ; and not as Dr. Taylor suggests, p. 67, a sentence to a proper punishment to Adam, but a mere promise of favor to his posterity. Indeed, sometimes our author seems to suppose, that God meant the thing denounced in this sentence, as a favor both to Adam and his posterity." But to his posterity, or mankind in general, who are the main subject, he ever insists, that it was purely intended as a favor. And therefore, one would have thought the sentence should have been delivered, with manifestations and appearances of favor, and not of anger. How could Adam understand it as a promise of great favor, considering the manner and circumstances of the denunciation? How could he think, that God would go about to delude him, by clothing himself with garments of vengeance, using words of displeasure and rebuke, setting forth the heinousness of his crime, attended with cherubims and a flaming sword; when all that he meant was only higher testimonies of favor, than he had before in a state of innocence, and to 'manifest fatherly love and kindness, in promises of great blessings? If this was the case, God's words to Adam must be understood thus: “Because thou hast done so wickedly, hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of 'the tree of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it; therefore I will be more kind to thee than I was in thy state of innocence, and do now appoint for thee the following great favors: Cursed be the ground for thy sake,” &c. And thus Adam must understand what was said, unless any will say (and God forbid that any should be so blasphemous) that God clothed himself with appearances of displeasure, to deceive Adam, and make him believe the contrary of what he intended, and lead him to expect a dismal train of evils on his posterity, contrary to all reason and justice, implying the most horribly unrighteous treatment of millions of perfectly innocent creatures. It is certain there is not the least appearance in what God said, or the manner of it, as Moses gives us the account, of any other, than that God was now testifying displeasure, condemning the subject of the sentence he was pronouncing, as justly exposed to punishment for sin, and for that sin which he mentions. When God was pronouncing this sentence, Adam doubtless understood, that God had respect to his posterity, as well as himself, though God spake wholly in the second person singular, “Because thou hast eaten....In sorrow shalt thou eat ...Unto the dust shalt thou return.” But he had as much reason to understand God as having respect to his posterity, when he directed his speech to him in like manner in the threatening, Thou shalt surely die. The sentence plainly refers to the threatening, and results from it. The threatening says, If thou eat, thou shalt die : The sentence says, Be, cause thou hast eaten, thou shalt die. And Moses, who wrote the account, had no reason to doubt but that the affair would be thus understood by his readers; for such a way of speaking was well understood in those days : The history he gives us of the origin of things, abounds with it. Such a manner of speaking to the "first of the kind, or heads of the race, having respect to the progeny, is not only used in almost every thing that God said to Adam and Eve, but even in what he said to the very birds and fishes, Gen. i. 22 ; and also in what he said afterwards to Noah, Gen. ix. and to Shem, Ham and Japheth, and Canaan, Gen. ix. 25....27. So in promises made to Abraham, in which God directed his speech to him, and spake in the second person singular, from time to time, but meant chiefly his posterity : “To thee will I give this land. In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed,” &c. &c. And in what is said of Ishmael, as of his person, but meant chiefly of his posterity, Gen. xvi. 12, and xvii. 20. And so in what Isaac said to Esau and Jacob, in his blessing ; in which he spake to them in the second person singular, but meant chiefly their posterity. And so for the most part in the promises made to Isaac and Jacob, and in Jacob's blessing of Ephraim and Manasseh, and of his twelve sons. But I shall take notice of one or two things further, shewing that Adam's posterity were included in God's establishment with him, and the threatening denounced for his sin ; and that the calamities which come upon them in consequence of his sin, are brought on them as punishments. This is evident from the curse on the ground; which, if it be any curse at all, comes equally on Adam's posterity with himself. And if it be a curse, then against whomsoever it is designed and on whomsoever it terminates, it comes as a punishment, and not as a blessing, so far as it comes in consequence of that sentence. Dr. Taylor, page 19, says, “A curse is pronounced upon the ground, but no curse upon the woman and the man." And in pages 45, 46, S. he insists that the ground only was cursed, and not the man ; just as though a curse could ter. minate on lifeless, senseless earth ! To understand this cusrse otherwise than as terminating upon man through the ground, would be as senseless as to suppose the meaning to be, The &round shall be funished, and shall be miserable for thy sake. Our author interprets the curse on the ground, of its being incumbered with noxious weeds; but would these weeds have been any curse on the ground, if there had been no inhabitants, or if the inhabitants had been of such a nature, that these weeds would not have been boxious, but useful to them 2 It is said, Deut. xxviii. 17, “Cursed shall be thy basket, and thy store ;” and would he not be thought to talk very ridiculously, who should say, “Here is a curse upon the basket, but not a word of any curse upon the owner; and therefore we have no reason at all to look upon it as any punishment upon him, or any testimony of God's displeasure towards him.” How plain is it, that when lifeless things, which are not capable of either benefit or suffering, are said to be cursed or blessed with regard to sensible beings, that use or possess these things or have connexion with them, the meaning must be, that these sensible beings are cursed or blessed in the other, or with respect to them . In Exod. xxiii. 25, it is said, “He shall bless thy bread and thy water.” And I suppose, never any body yet proceeded to such a degree of subtilty in distinguishing, as to say, “Here is a blessing on the bread and the water, which went into the possessors' mouths, but no blessing on them.” To make such a distinction with regard to the curse God pronounced on the ground, would in some respects be more unreasonable, because God is express in explaining the matter, declaring that it was for man's sake, expressly referring this curse to him, as being with respect to him, and for the sake of his guilt, and as consisting in the sorrow and suffering he should have from it. “In sorrow shalt thou eat of it. Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee.” So that God's own words tell us where the curse terminates. The words are parallel with those in Deut. xxviii. 16, but only more plain and explicit, “Cursed shalt thou be in the field,” or in the ground.
* Page 25, 45, 46. S.