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Sin has thus entered both heaven, and our world, and only God's rectitude has restrained God's power to prevent it. And we have only to keep the same principle in view, and we shall find all adequate relief from any distressing embarrassments, in reference to the complete integrity of God's character, in all the facts connected with the perpetuation of sin.
There need be no labored statement to defend the character of God against the perpetuated sin and suffering of fallen angels. If they originally fell, when God was dealing with them just as he must for his righteousness' sake, much less shall he be subject to any reproach when, for justice sake to them and in salutary warning to all others, he holds them still in being, and visits them in retribution precisely in accordance with their penal demerit. To annihilate them, or to abate any measure of the tokens of his displeasure, would be a weakness and a reproach to himself in his own sight. He is only doing by the fallen angels, now as ever, just what is due to himself. He can do no less in holding them to their misery, and do right.
The great difficulty in reconciling the perpetuation of sin with the integrity of the divine character, will be in the point that has so much disquieted Dr. Beecher, and so many other good and thoughtful men; the facts and circumstances of human depravity. The fact of infant suffering cannot be denied; and the facts that universal depravity abounds, and that men go astray from the opening of their moral character, and that this character opens in weakness and ignorance and under many perverting influences, are all as truly seen in the light of natural experience as in that of divine revelation. How can such perpetuations of depravity be consistent with the power and the goodness of God? Let us follow out our principle here as carefully and completely as we may.
When Adam committed his first sin, it was in the very necessities of the case a fact affecting humanity, as such. This must henceforth settle the question for him and his posterity, if he shall have any, whether they are to stand in
their former and hitherto uninterrupted communion with God or not. It needed no covenant transaction thereby to make Adam a federal head of the race; by his very paternity he must be a public head of mankind. What he should do must settle many things that God should do with man. If any child had sinned, while he and other children had remained holy, that child's sin could not have reached the race; this can only be effected in the progenitor, and that by his first sin. Subsequent acts can only be as individual, for in the first transgression, the line of the divine procedure with him must have its determination. He must bring the sentence down upon Adam, and thus cut short the race in his perdition; or, if God spare, it must be in some provision of his own, and afterwards deal with Adam and his race on this new footing of his mercy. A regard to what is due to his own excellency, requires that God should execute justice and judgment upon Adam, or that, in providing redemption and sparing him to multiply his posterity, God should regard him and his posterity only within the terms of that plan of redemption which he had settled for them.
It must thus ethically follow that Adam's posterity shall begin their life and action under circumstances different and less favorable than he had done. They must be cut off from that direct communion, face to face, which he had enjoyed, and all those tokens of full approbation and complacency and approving care which had appeared in paradise, must now wholly cease. There must also physically follow all the natural effects of Adam's sin, and of God's righteous curses for it. “ The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together,” in consequence. Human life begins differently, and terminates differently on earth, and, from the first, runs on differently, from that which had been the experience of Adam, or would have been the experience of his posterity in innocence. Both moral and natural consequences, which it behooves God to secure, must now flow down to the race, and henceforth man must begin and continue his moral action under them. The principles of rectitude determine all this change of condition.
Now, such ethical and physical changes need not, and should not be considered as making humanity penally guilty in Adam's sin. Others may suffer in consequence of what one does, but penal guilt and demerit can only be personal and individual, and concrete humanity cannot so be guilty. Yet in the sense of liability, there may be such a corruption, or vitium, in the concrete race as shall greatly affect each individual's opening activity. This may be to such a degree that, inasmuch as Adam sinned in his condition, à fortiori, it may be affirmed, as the Scriptures teach, that all his posterity will thus sin, and become “by nature children of wrath.” Our psychology here needs to discriminate the rational in the human soul from the animal, and, while it is quite a ready conception that the animal, as in nature and of nature, may be vitiated in the corruptions of nature, yet the rational can, as such, have no corruption or vitium from any casualty in nature, and only a moral debasement from violating the law of conscience which is in itself. Such corruption in the spirit, so far as physical changes can reach, may make it a certainty without any necessity, that the rational soul shall, with its first action, dispose itself perversely. The psychology will have thus an included pneumatology, and the physical corruption become the occasion for a voluntary moral pollution. Such a vitiated state of humanity is consequent upon Adam's first sin, and a regard to what is due to himself in rectitude requires God to establish and uphold such a connection. The ethical changes he ought to make, and the physical changes he ought not to break up, if he would be true to his own dignity and worth. He must punish in Adam and cut short the race in the progenitor, or perpetuate the race in such corruption.
But though it be not worthy of God to interfere physically and expel the corruption by new natural creations, or new laws of natural generation, yet how worthy of a God that which he did, and in the counsels of eternity always designed to do! The same principle directs in Redemption that had guided in creation; in the discipline of the first man; and in the connections of the first sin with all succeeding de
pravity; that which his own insight sees to be due to himself; that which will be fit for his own approbation and acceptance in the end. A new headship is introduced into humanity : Immanuel appears, as Deity superinduced upon the human; and, while the old stream of Adam's headship passes down, this new headship throws down also other and recuperative energies, working out their salutary changes under which the action of the corrupted race is widely modified. The Holy Spirit is purchased and sent down, to put the hand over and back of all instrumentalities, and deal directly, but only morally, with the soul. This may act in the first rational agency of the human spirit, and sanctify its first disposing; or, in any subsequent state of the depraved disposition in the flesh, this Holy Spirit may work effectually in connection with established means, and win the lost soul to God through a spiritual regeneration. It would not have been worthy of the divine honor to have gone back and physically mended that which Adam's sin had marred ; but oh! how worthy of God, to take occasion, from this sin of man, to put within humanity another and a divine life, which shall work out depravity and work in holiness, till the suffering Redeemer is “ satisfied.” This new headship, and its life by faith, becomes the central source of all hope and joy on earth, and all love and praise among the redeemed in heaven. The ultimate right, as seen by God in the claims of his ow true dignity, has guided his counsels and their execution from eternity.
With God was “the residue of the (creating] Spirit,” and it was thus due that what was in the absolute Deity, should be brought out in an existing creation. He governed and disciplined the moral beings he made, under the same ultimate rule as his directory. When man sinned, he followed solely the law of doing that which it became him to execute, and the facts of human depravity were thus connected with the first transgression. With a goodness infinitely higher than any craving of a benevolent susceptibility, or prompting of nature for happiness, and of a wholly distinct kind, even in the broad sense of a goodness that would have all that was
worthy for Infinite Excellency to receive, he planned and executed the work of the sinner's redemption, and only fails of attaining universal salvation in it, from the perverse rejection of sinners, in whose behalf his own honor will not allow his power and grace to work any longer nor any further. In this broad sense, rectitude demands more than justice, more than benevolence; it is a goodness that contains them both, and demands that they both meet and embrace each other for what the Lord Jehovah sees in himself is due to himself. Thus sin was, and much sin and misery ever will be, because divine power must work under the guidance of divine rectitude.
SCIENCE AND TIL BIBLE.
A REVIEW OF 6 VIIE SIX DAYS OF CREATIOx” OF PROF. TAILER LEWIS.
By James D Dina. LL.D., Silliman Professor of Natural History, Yale Coll...
“ The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork." Thus spake the Psalmist in view of the revelation which God had made of himself in his works. With deeper emphasis may we now utter the same ascription of praise; for that revelation, as its records have been unfolded in these later days, has opened more and more glorious thoughts of the Almighty Architect, and appears as unfathomable in its truths, as God himself is infinite. The world in general is satisfied to see this glory as exhibited in form, color, magnitude, and other outside quali
1 The Six Days of Creation, or the Scriptural Cosmology, with the Ancient Idea of Time-Worlds in distinction from Worlds in Space. By Tayler Lewis, Professor of Greck in Union College. 12mo. pp. 407. Schenectady, 1855.