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Was it by the corruption of Adam's nature? This will not be pretended. “He was endowed with original righteousness.” “God made man upright, in his own image.” The same authority which I have already quoted, admits, that God “created man, male and female, with reasonable and immortal souls, endued with knowledge, righteousness and true holiness, having the law of God written in their hearts.” I ask, then, how did our first parents come to sin ? and if they did, notwithstanding the purity of their nature, and the favourable situation, in which they were placed, free from every temptation, but one; can it be difficult to account for the sinfulness of men at present, surrounded, as we are, by necessities and pleasures, temptations and discouragements? If Adam had not offended, his son Cain, and all his posterity, would soon have brought sin into the world, without any such unreasonable imputation.
I shall conclude in the words of a very learned and able divine, of our persuasion, who wrote on this subject: “ If, in this discourse, you have discovered any truth, which you did not before understand, it is my earnest request, that you would rather lay it up in your heart, for your own use, than make it the subject of contention and strife, the fuel of party zeal, or the occasion of despising or censuring those, who do not see it. And, if you
should enter into discourse about it, let it
be with all moderation and coolness on your part, in the spirit of peace and mutual forbearance. And, therefore, never converse upon this or any other point with an angry man; passion and heat blind the judgment: nor with a bigot, who is determined for a scheme, and resolved to open his eyes to no further evidence. Whenever anger and bigotry appear in a conversation already begun, break it off; for you cannot proceed to any good purpose, and will be in danger of catching a spirit, which is quite contrary to the gospel. Hold the truth in love."
* Taylor on Original Sin, p. 267.
P. 296. - (1) Original sin is the subject of the ninth of the 39 Articles; and it is described in a very confused manner, but in substance as follows:—“Original sin is the fault and corruption of the natare of every man, of the offspring of Adam;" "and in every person, born into this world, (infants) it deserveth God's wrath and damnation: and tbis infection doth remain, yea, in them that are regenerated.”
“Article xiii.–Works done before the grace of Christ, and the inspiration of his spirit, are not pleasing to God; yea, rather, we doubt not but they have the nature of sin."
P. 097.-(2) “My dear children-Ye are of your father the devil; and the lusts of your father you will do. Your carnal mind is enmity against God; your heart is an habitation of devils; think how much of life you have already cast away in the practice of sin. O why thus grieve, thus break the heart
of a kind, a divine Saviour! my dear child, let thy heart meditate terror; God is angry with you every day; his bow is bent, his arrows of wrath are pointed against thee; his creatures are every one ready to devour thee; gladly would angels sheath their flaming swords in thy bowels; with earnestness devils beg Jehovah's permission to drag thee to Tophet; cursed art thou in thy gifts, in thy privileges, in thy labours, in thy food, in thy raiment, in thy basket, and in thy store. Hell from beneath is moved to meet thee at thy coming; damned angels, in cruel derision, stand ready to ask thee, art thou also become like one of us?' your Saviour hath besought you; why, tread on my bowels, and make me your stumbling block into deeper damnation.”--Catechism by John Brown, Minister, at Haddington.
Calvin holds, that infants are damned, for their own sins, in the womb.-Infantes quoque ipsi, dum suam secum damnationem a matris utero afferunt, non alieno, sed suo ipsorum vitio sunt obstricti.-Non enim natura nostra boni tantum inops & vacua est; sed malorum omnium adeo fertilis & fe. rax, ut otiosa esse non possit—totum hominum non alind ex seipso esse quam concupiscentiam.--Calv. Inst. ii. 1. 8.
P. 301.-(3) “To say the plain truth, Christians, in general, seem not to be perfectly qualified for the undertaking (converting infidels;) nor will be so, till metaphysical and scholastic divinity is either discarded from the Christian system, or at least allowed not to be essential to Christianity, nor necessary to be received as a condition of salvation.”—Jortin on Ecclesiastical History, iii. 165.
See Rammohun Roy, to the same purpose, page 118.
P. 301.-(4) Some call this the law given to Adam) a covenant of works; though it implies neither a covenant nor works: for no works are commanded: and one action only forbidden.- Milton's C. D.
ROMANS V.-11. “We also joy in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by
whom we have now received the atonement.”
THERE is no question in theology of more importance, or involved in greater obscurity, than the object and efficacy of the death of Christ. We are all persuaded, that it took place for our benefit; that it is an event, in which we are deeply interested, and for which we owe a debt of gratitude to our blessed Lord, and his heavenly Father, that we can never discharge. This we are bound to keep constantly in mind, particularly in every act of worship, and most of all in the solemnity of his last supper. But to account for the manner of its operation, and whether it operates only in one, or in various modes, are subjects, that have given rise to a variety of opinions. In many questions of this obscure nature,
we have reason to think, that this knowledge is not essential, There are points, of which it is very desirable, perhaps negessary, that we should be thoroughly convinced; but, with respect to the particulars of which, we may safely remain ignorant; and in these cases, it is generally better to be content with our ignorance, than to make them the subject of fruitless and perplexing ina vestigations, or contentious and uncharitable controversy.
The efficacy of the death of Christ is supposed by some, to consist only in example and testimony; an example of virtue and obedience, and a proof of sincerity. Some limit it to the communication of eternal life through the grace and benevolence of the Almighty; others extend it to the obtaining of this power of bestowing immortality by Christ, from love on his part to the human race. It is considered by many, as necessary to expiate the sins of the world, on the score of justice; and by not a few, as a sacrifice and satisfaction to the offended majesty of God, in order to appease the divine wrath, by the sufferings of an innocent victim, for the offences of the guilty.
A question has also been started, whether the death of Christ was an essential part of the scheme of salvation from the beginning; so that mankind could not have been redeemed without it; or whether it took place, in consequence of our