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Heathen, from those which had been Jews, to have ranked himself with the former, though he was truly of the latter.
If a minister in some congregation in England, speaking in a sermon of the sins of the nation, being himself of the nation, should say, “ We have greatly corrupted ourselves, and provoked God by our deism, blasphemy, profane swearing, lasciviousness, venality,” &c. speaking in the first person plural, though he himself never had been a deist, and per. haps none of his hearers, and they might also have been generally free from other sins he mentioned; yet there would be nothing unnatural in his thus expressing himself. But it would be a quite different thing, if one part of the Brit. ish dominions, suppose our king's American dominions, had universally apostatised from Christianity to deism, and had long been in such a state, and if one that had been born and brought up in England among Christians, the country being universally Christian, should be sent among them to shew them the folly and great evil of deism, and convert them to Christianity ; and this missionary, when making a distinction between English Christians, and these deists, should rank himself with the latter, and say, We American deists, we foolish, blind infidels," &c. this indeed would be very unnatural and absurd.
Another passage of the apostle, to the like purpose with that which we have been considering in the 5th of Romans, is that in Eph. ii. 3. “And were by nature children of wrath, even as others." This remains a plain testimony to the doctrine of Original Sin, as held by those that used to be called orthodox Christians, after all the pains and art used to torture and pervert it. This doctrine is here not only plainly and fully taught, but abundantly so, if we take the words with the context, where Christians are once and again represented as being, in their first state, dead in sin, and as quickcned and raised up from such a state of death, in a most marvellous display of free and rich grace and love, and exceed. ing greatness of the power of God, &c.
With respect to those words, nuev TEXTO QUCH okrns, IVe were by nature children of wrath, Dr. Taylor says, pages 112....114.
& The apostle means no more by this, than truly or really children of wrath; using a metaphorical expression, borrowed from the word that is used to signify a true and genuine child of a family, in distinction from one that is a child only by adoption.” In which it is owned, that the proper sense of the phrase is, being a child by nature, in the same sense as a child by birth or natural generation ; but only he supposes that here the word is used metaphorically. The instance he produces as parallel, to confirm his supposed metaphorical sense of the phrase, as meaning only truly, really, or properiy children of wrath, viz. the Apostle Paul's calling Timothy his own son in the faith, gonosov TEXVcy, is so far from confirming his sense, that it is rather directly against it. For doubtless the apostle uses the word ymotor in its original sig. nification here, meaning his begotten son, yomore being the adjective from you, offspring, or the verb yavaw, to beget ; aş much as to say, Timothy, my begotten son in the faith ; only allowing for the two ways of being begotten, spoken of in the New Testament, one natural, and the other spiritual ; one being the first generation, the other regeneration ; the one a being begotten as to the human nature, the other a being begotten in the faith, begotten in Christ, or as to one's Christianity. The apostle expressly signifies which of these he means in this place, Timothy my begotten son in the faith, in the same manner as he says to the Corinthians, 1 Cor. iv. 15. “ In Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.” To say the apostle uses the word Qusa, in Eph. ii. 3, only as signifying real, true, and proper, is a most arbitrary interpretation, having nothing to warrant it in the whole Bible. The word quois is no where used in this sense in the New Testament.*
Another thing which our author alleges to evade the force of this, is that the word rendered nature, sometimes signifies habit contracted by custom, or an acquired nature. But this is not the proper meaning of the word. And it is plain the
The following are all the other places where the word is used, Rom. i. 26, i. 14, 27, xi, 21, 24, thrice in that verse. Cor. xi. 14. Gal. ii, 15) iv. 8. James iii. 7, twice in that verse, and a Pet, i. 4, Vol. VI.
word in its common use, in the New Testament, signifies what we properly express in English by thc word nature. There is but one place where there can be the least pretext for supposing it can be used otherwise ; and that is 1 Cor. xi. 14. “Doth not even nature itself teach you, that if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?" And even here there is, I think, no manner of reason for understanding nature otherwise than in the proper sense. The emphasis used OUTH ,Quors, nature itself, shews that the apostle does not mean custom, but nature in the proper sense. It is true, it was long custom, that made having the head covered a token of subjection, and a feminine habit or appearance ; as it is custom that makes any outward action or word a sign or sig. nification of any thing; but nature itself, nature in its proper sense, teaches that it is a shame for a man to appear with the established signs of the female sex, and with significations of inferiority, &c. As nature itself shews it to be a shame for a father to bow down or kneel to his own child or servant, or for men to bow to an idol, because bowing down is by custom an established token or sign of subjection and submission ; such a sight, therefore, would be unnatural, shocking to a man's very nature. So nature would teach that it is a shame for a woman to use such and such lascivious words or ges. tures, though it be custom, that establishes the unclean sig. nification of those gestures and sounds.
It is particularly unnatural and unreasonable, to understand the phrase, Texia Quor, in this place, any otherwise than in the proper sense, on the following accounts.
1. It may be observed that both the words Texva and Quoise in their original signification, have reference to the birth or generation. So the word quois, which comes from ouw, which signifies to beget, or bring forth young, or to put forth, or bud forth as a plant that brings forth young buds and branches. And so the word Texvox comes from FIXTW, which signifies to bring forth children.
2. As though the apostle took care by the word used here, to signify what we are by birth, he changes the word he used before for children. In the preceding verse he used
vrov, speaking of the children of disobedience ; but here Texte, which is a word derived, as was now observed, from TIKTW, to bring forth a child, and more properly signifies a begotten or born child.
3. It is natural to suppose that the apostle here speaks in opposition to the pride of some, especially the Jews, (for the church in Ephesus was made up partly of Jews, as well as the church in Rome) who exalted themselves in the privileges they had by birth, because they were born the children of Abraham, and were Jews by nature, quos Judaios, as the phrase is, Gal. ii. 15. In opposition to this proud conceit, he teaches the Jews, that notwithstanding this, they were by nature children of wrath, even as others, i. e, as well as the Gentiles, which the Jews had been taught to look upon as sinners, and out of favor with God by nature, and born children of wrath.
4. It is more plain, that the apostle uses the word nature in its proper sense here, because he sets what they were by nature, in opposition to what they are by grace. In this verse, the apostle shews what they are by nature, viz. children of wrath ; and in the following verses he shews how very different their state is by grace, saying, verse 5, By grace ye are saved, repeating it again, verse 8, By grace ye are saved. But if by being children of wrath by nature, were meant no more than only their being really and truly children of wrath, as Dr. Taylor supposes, there would be no opposition in the signification of these phrases ; for in this sense they were by nature in a state of salvation, as much as by nature children of wrath ; for they were truly, really, and properly in a siate of salvation.
If we take these words with the context, the whole abundantly proves that by nature we are totally corrupt, with. out any good thing in us. For if we allow the plain scope of the place, without attempting to hide it, by extreme violence used with the apostle's words and expressions, the design here is strongly to establish this point ; that what Christians have that is good in them, or in their state, is in no part of it naturally in themselves, or from themselves, but is wholly
from divine grace, all the gift of God, and his workmanship, thé effect of his power, and free and wonderful love : None of our good works are primarily from ourselves, but with respect to them all, we are God's workmanship, created unto good works, as it were out of nothing: Not so much as faith itself, the first principle of good works in Christians, is of them. selves, but that is the gift of God.
Therefore the apostle compares the work of God, in forming Christians to true virtue and holiness, not only to a new creation, but a resurrection, or raising from the dead, ver. 1. “ You hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” And again, ver. 5. “ Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ." In speaking of Christians being quickened with Christ, the apostle has reference to what he had said before, in the latter part of the foregoing chapter; of God's manifesting the exceeding greatness of his powei towards Christian converts in their conversion, agreeable to the operation of his mighty power, when he raised Christ from the dead. So that it is plain by every thing in this discourse, the apostle would signify, that by nature we have no goodness ; but are as destitute of it as a dead corpse is of life: And that all goodness, all good works, and faith the principle of all, are perfectly the gift of God's grace, and the work of bis great, almighty, and exceeding excellent power. I think, there can be need of nothing but reading the chapter, and minding what is read, to convince all who have common understanding, of this ; whatever any of the most subtle critics have done, or ever can do, to twist, rack, perplex, and pervert the words and phrases here used.
Dr. Taylor here again insists, that the apostle speaks only of the Gentiles in their heathen state, when he speaks of those that were dead in sin, and by nature children of wrath ; and that though he seems to include himself among these, saying, “ We were by nature children of wrath, we were dead in sins ;" yet he only puts himself among them because he was the apostle of the Gentiles. The gross absurdity of which may appear from what was said before. But besides the things which have been already observed, there are some