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ever be late in life.
At a very early period, the child learns to submit to the will of its parent. Its corporea! imbecility, its limited knowledge, and its cherished and absorbing affection for the parent, all, doubtless, contribute to affect it, with a sense of the propriety of such submission.
Yet it is placed in circumstances altogether unpropitious to holy developments; and, if it is allowed to remain in this world, will, like all that have gone before it, choose to do evil.
One act, in opposition to the will of the Great Creator, we have seen, spreads death through all the family of man, involves in sin innumerable myriads, originally made dependent on the first rebel, and strikes into eternity itself, a blow of utter desolation, to the hopes and happiness of human kind, Where are the consequences of rebellion to end? Who can estimate the bearing of one act? How murderous and ruinous the attempt, to pervert the laws of the divine government! What will be the misery and confusion, the devastation and horror resulting, where the rebel, in the holy Sovereignty of God, shall be allowed to push his enmity forward, eternity, in all the tragic scenes of Hell, shall unfold. Blessed be God, that He has provided a remedial scheme, by which, in perfect consistency with every principle of His moral government, man may be recovered, alike from his rebellion, and its ruinous tendency and results. Through the redemption which there is in Jesus Christ, the rebel can be recovered to the love and enjoyment of God to the possession and exhibition of holiness—and to the forfeited, and even enhanced glories of man's original condition. The eternal Son of God, by virtue of his assumed humanity, the redemption which He has wrought, and the sovereign ordination of God, is become a new Head of influences. There is life to be derived from the blessed Jesus. “Our life is hid with Christ in God," and Christ has become “our life.”l. All the life that ever is to be, or can be enjoyed, by fallen and degenerate men, is entrusted in the hands of Christ. It must flow from Hinn to them, and for that purpose, there must be some connection established between Him and them. But, as the law of development was that, on which the propagation of life was to be conducted from Adam down, so it has pleased God to provide, on the same principle, for the exhibition of the wonders of spiritual life. By virtue of our union with Christ, we live, and grow, and thrive. He is the vine, and we are the branches. He is the head, and we are the members of the body. “As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye," said the blessed Saviour, "except ye abide in me."
1. Col. iii, 3, 4,
Now, it is by the Holy Spirit, which proceedeth from the Father, through the Son, and whom the Son giveth to whomsoever he will, that a connection is established batween Him and the guilty soul of man. Through the agency of that Spirit, the man's thoughts, affections, and cares, are brought off from this world, and bestowed on Christ, in faith, and repentance, &c. and thus commence the evolution and exhibition in them, of those fruits of the Spirit, or gracious exercises, which form the character of the renovated man, and assimilate him to the great prototype in heaven. “The first man Adam, was made a living soul; the last Adam, was made a quickening Spirit. How beit, that was not first which is spiritual, but that which was natural, and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy;and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly."
llowever, the immediate reference of the apostle here, may be understood, --whether to the entire character of the
1. John xv, 4.
2. 1 Cor. xv, 15, 19.
redeemed, or to the ultimate perfection of their being, when put in possession of their glorious resurrection-body-it is of little consequence to determine. It is the great principle recognized by him, which concerns us; and that is, that the blessed Saviour stands at the head of an entire family of rational beings, in whom are developed his own likeness and life, and that by virtue of their connection with Him, just as our first father Adam stood, as it were, the fountain of our race, and has transmitted his own likeness and mortality, to those descending from him by ordinary generation. As yet, there is not the perfection of this great redeeming process; nor will there be, till, at the consummation of all things, the glorified spirits around the throne, shall repossess their risen and sublimated bodies. But the redeeming process is going on, and we may descry its wondrous developments, continually taking place, in all its incipient and early stages.
If it pleased God to commence almost simultaneously with the being's existence, and to bring it under the operation of the great laws of redemption, which, by virtue of a connection established with Christ, shall secure holy developments, can any one object? Surely none are disposed to do so, when, in this world, those developments are made, as in the case of those children, who seem to have been sanctified from the womb. Shall we then object to its being done in another world? The circun stance of death's eventuating as soon as birth, or, at any subsequent time, before the moral powers shall have been developed, so far as to bring the child directly and personally under the authority of law, can certainly be no objection against the reality of an union being constituted, between Christ and the soul of that child, through some special care or agency of the Spirit.
The death of the infant, is no more proof of its final condemnation, than the death of the believer. On the contrary, as the infant has neither done good nor evil, the presumption arising from its death, would rather seem to be, that inasmuch as its powers, if it had remained in this world, would have been developed in sin, so its removal to another and essentially different world—where all its modes of acquiring know. ledge, and also of acting, will be essentially differentwill most probably conduce to instantaneous and lofty exhibitions of holiness.
It is true, that the presumption may be applied the other way. Inasmuch, as God visits on the infant the consequences of the sin of Adam-subjecting it to disease and death, and placing it in a world, and under the operation of laws, which operate, with certainty, to secure its voluntary sinning, as soon as capable of moral agency; and inasmuch as one of the consequences of such rebellion against God, is, that a change will take place, either sooner or later, in the outward circumstances and relations of men in this world, by virtue of which, much more rapid and frightful developments of iniquity shall be made; -why may we not conclude, that, in the exercise of His sovereignty, God sees fit to anticipate such things, and transfer one and another, forthwith, as they come into this world, to a new scene of existence, when the full and final results of Adam's apostacy are displayed? Especially so, it might be added, since the promise of grace, in the covenant, seems to contemplate none other than the children of believers. “I will be a God to thee, and to thy sced after thee;"I and since there can
be no more inconsistency with divine justice, to place an inn fant in circumstances, when it will become a sinner soon
er than later, provided there is not to place it in any such circumstances at all? We confess, therefore, that nothing ought to be rashly and positively asserted on this subject, It would seem as if God had not seen it proper, to give us any decisive information on this subject; and we can see great wisdom and goodness too, in His keeping us in ahsolute ignorance on this point. Were' the former presumption an established truth, and reverently received among men, there is no knowing what mischievous consequences might result from it, nor how far men, to render their darling babes eternally happy, might be tempted to become the murderers of their offspring. And were the latter an established truth, with what heart-rending agony would every sensitive soul see the infant consigned to the tomb! It is well, that Providence has thrown an impenetrable veil over this thing. Yet, if we may be allowed to indulge a fond conjecture, the presumption seems strongest, that the death of an infant is a procedure of mercy, rather than of vindictive justice. For, as the great rule of procedure on the judgment day shall be, that God “will render unto EvERY ONE, according to the deeds done in the body, whether they be good or evil,” the righteous and the wicked shall receive their award and allotment upon a principle, which it is manifest, in the nature of things, cannot be adopted, with regard to those dying in infancy.
1. Guli silli
Admitting for a moment, that infants dying in infancy shall be saved, it is obvious that—if the view already given of the law of God's government in this world be correctit is, and can only be, by virtue of some connection established between Christ and them. A mere purpose of election establishes no such connection, though it may have respect to it, and secure it ultimately: but the sacred scriptures do not speak of men as elect, and safe in Christ till they are actually united unto Him. The mere purpose of God to bring into being the offspring of man gave them no being, nor established any connection between
1. 1 Rom.