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Another passage of this apostle, which shows that all who are made partakers of the benefits of Christ’s redemption, are in their first state wicked, desperately wicked, is Rom. v. 6-10. “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son; much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”—Here all for whom Christ died, and who are saved by him, are spoken of as being in their first state sinners, ungodly, enemies to God, exposed to divine wrath, and without strength, without ability to help themselves, or deliver their souls from this miserable state.
Dr. T. says, the apostle here speaks of the Gentiles only in their heathen state, in contradistinction to the Jews; and that not of particular persons among the heathen Gentiles, or as to the state they were in personally; but only of the Gentiles collectively taken, or of the miserable state of that great collective body, the heathen world: and that these appellation, sinners, ungodly, enemies, &c. were names by which the apostles in their writings were wont to signify and distinguish the heathen world, in opposition to the Jews; and that in this sense these appellations are to be taken in their epistles, and in this place in particular. 293293 Page 114-120. See also Dr. T.’s Paraph. and notes on the place. And it is observable, that this way of interpreting these phrases in the apostolic writings is become fashionable with many late writers; whereby they not only evade several clear testimonies to the doctrine of original sin, but make void great part of the New Testament; on which account it deserves the more particular consideration.
It is allowed to have been long common and customary among the Jews, especially the sect of the Pharisees, in 196 their pride, and confidence in their privileges as the peculiar people of God, to exalt themselves exceedingly above other nations, and greatly to despise the Gentiles, calling them by such names as sinners, enemies, dogs, &c. Themselves they accounted, in general (excepting the publicans, and the notoriously profligate), as the friends, the special favourites and children, of God; because they were the children of Abraham, were circumcised, and had the law of Moses, as their peculiar privilege, and as a wall of partition between them and the Gentiles.
But it is very remarkable, that a christian divine, who has studied the New Testament, and the epistle to the Romans in particular, so diligently as Dr. T. has done, should so strongly imagine that the apostles of Jesus Christ countenance and cherish these self-exalting, uncharitable dispositions and notions of the Jews which gave rise to such a custom, so far as to fall in with that custom, and adopt that language of their pride and contempt; and especially that the apostle Paul should do it. It is a most unreasonable imagination on many accounts.
1. The whole gospel dispensation is calculated entirely to overthrow and abolish every thing to which this self-distinguishing, self-exalting language of the Jews was owing. It was calculated wholly to exclude such boasting, and to destroy the pride and self-righteousness which were the causes of it. It was calculated to abolish the enmity, and break down the partition-wall between Jews and Gentiles, and of twain, to make one new man, so making peace: to destroy all dispositions in nations and particular persons to despise one another, or to say one to another, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou; and to establish the contrary principles of humility, mutual esteem, honour and love, and universal union, in the most firm and perfect manner.
2. Christ, when on earth, set himself, through the whole course of his ministry, to militate against this pharisaical spirit, practice, and language of the Jews; by which they showed so much contempt of the Gentiles, publicans, and such as were openly lewd and vicious, and thus exalted themselves above them; calling them sinners and enemies, and themselves holy, and God’s children; not allowing the Gentile to be their neighbour, &c. He condemned the Pharisees for not esteeming themselves sinners, as well as the publicans; trusting in themselves that they were righteous, and despising others. He militated against these things in his own treatment of some Gentiles, publicans, and others, whom they called sinners, and in what he said on those occasions. 294294 Matt. viii. 5-13. Matt. ix. 9-13. Matt. xi. 19-24. Matt. xv. 21-28. Luke vii. 37 to the end; Luke xvii.12-19. Luke. xix.1-10. John iv. 9, 39. &c. Compare Luke x. 29. &c.
He opposed these notions and manners of the Jews in his parables, 295295 Matt. xxi. 28-32. Matt. xxii.1-10. Luke xiv.16-24. Compare Luke xiii. 28, 29, 30. and in his instructions to his disciples how to treat the unbelieving Jews; 296296 Matt. x.14, 15 and in what he says to Nicodemus about the necessity of a new birth, even for the Jews, as well as the unclean Gentiles with regard to their proselytism, which some of the Jews looked upon as a new birth. And in opposition to their notions on their being the children of God, because the children of Abraham, but the Gentiles by nature sinners and children of wrath, he tells them that even they were children of the devil. 297297 John viii. 33-44. It may be observed, that John the Baptist greatly contradicted the Jew’s opinion of themselves, as being a holy people, and accepted of God, because they were children of Abraham—and on that account better than the heathen whom they called sinners, enemies, unclean, &c.—in baptizing the Jews as a polluted people, and sinners, as the Jews used to baptize proselytes from among the heathen; calling them to repentance as sinners, saying, Think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father; for I say unto you, that God is able, of these stones, to raise up children unto Abraham; and teaching the Pharisees, that instead of their being a holy generation, and children of God, as they call themselves, they were a generation of vipers.
3. Though we should suppose the apostles not to have been thoroughly brought off from such notions, manners, and language of the Jews, till after Christ’s ascension; yet after the pouring out of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, or at least, after the calling of the Gentiles, begun in the conversion of Cornelius, they were fully instructed in this matter, and effectually taught no longer to call the Gentiles unclean, as a note of distinction from the Jews, Acts x. 28. which was before any of the apostolic epistles were written.
4. Of all the apostles, none were more perfectly instructed in this matter, than Paul, and none so abundant in instructing others in it, as this great apostle of the Gentiles. None of the apostles had so much occasion to exert themselves against the forementioned notions and language of the Jews, in opposition to Jewish teachers and judaizing Christians who strove to keep up the separation-wall between Jews and Gentiles, and to exalt the former, and set at nought the latter.
5. This apostle, in his epistle to the Romans, above all his other writings, exerts himself in a most elaborate manner, and with his utmost skill and power, to bring the Jewish Christians off from every thing of this kind. He endeavors by all means that there might no longer be in them any remains of these old notions, in which they had been educated, of such a great distinction between Jews and Gentiles, as were expressed in the names they used to distinguish them by; the Jews, holy children of Abraham, friends and children of God; but the Gentiles, sinners, unclean, enemies, and the like. He makes it almost his whole business, from the beginning of the epistle, Rom. v. 6. &c. to convince them that there was no ground for any such distinction, and to prove that in common, both Jews and Gentiles, all were desperately wicked, and none righteous, no not one. He tells them, Rom. iii. 9. that the Jews were by no means better than the Gentiles; and (in what follows in that chapter) that there was no difference between Jews and Gentiles; and represents all as without strength, or any sufficiency of their own in the affair of justification and redemption. And in the continuation of the same discourse, in Rom. iv., he teaches that all who were justified by Christ, were in themselves ungodly; and that being the children of Abraham was not peculiar to the Jews. In Rom. v.still in continuation of the same discourse—on the same subject and argument of justification through Christ, and by faith in him—he speaks of Christ dying for the ungodly and sinners, and those who were without strength or sufficiency for their own salvation, as he had done all along before. But now, it seems, the apostle by sinners and ungodly, must not be understood according as he used these words before; but must be supposed to mean only the Gentiles as distinguished from the Jews; adopting the language of those self-righteous, self-exalting, disdainful judaizing teachers, whom he was with all his might opposing: countenancing the very same thing in them, which he had been from the beginning of the epistle discountenancing, and endeavoring to discourage, and utterly to abolish, with all his art and strength.
One reason why the Jews looked on themselves better than the Gentiles, and called themselves holy, and the Gentiles sinners, was, that they had the law of Moses. They made their boast of the law. But the apostle shows them, that this was so far from making them better, that it condemned them, and was an occasion of their being sinners, in a higher degree, and more aggravated manner, and more effectually and dreadfully dead in sin. 298298 See Rom. vii. 4-13. agreeably to those words of Christ, John v. 45.
It cannot be justly objected here, that this apostle did, in fact, use this language, and call the gentiles sinners, in contradistinction to the Jews, in what he said to Peter, Gal. ii. 15, 16. “We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.” It is true, that the apostle here refers to this distinction, as what was usually made by the self-righteous Jews, between themselves and the Gentiles; but not in such a manner as to adopt, or favour it; but on the contrary, so as plainly to show his disapprobation of it; q.d. “Though we were born Jews, and by nature are of that people which are wont to make their boast of the law, expecting to be justified by it, and trust in themselves that they are righteous, despising others, calling the Gentiles sinners, in distinction from themselves; yet we being now instructed in the gospel of Christ, know better; we now know that a man is not justified by the works of the law; that we are all justified only by faith in Christ, in whom there is no difference, no distinction of Greek or Gentile, and Jew, 197 but all are one in Christ Jesus.” And this is the very thing he there speaks of, which he blamed Peter for; that by his withdrawing and separating himself from the Gentiles, refusing to eat with them, &c. he had countenanced this self-exalting, self-distinguishing, separating spirit and custom of the Jews, whereby they treated the Gentiles, as in a distinguishing manner sinners and unclean, and not fit to come near them who were a holy people.
6. The very words of the apostle in this place, show plainly, that he uses the term sinners, not as signifying Gentiles, in opposition to Jews, but as denoting the morally evil, in opposition to such as are righteous or good. This latter distinction between sinners and righteous is here expressed in plain terms. “Scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die; but God commended his love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” 299299 Rom. iv. 7, 8. By righteous men are doubtless meant the same that are meant by such a phrase, throughout this apostle’s writings, throughout the New Testament, and throughout the Bible. Will anyone pretend, that by the righteous man, for whom men would scarcely die, and by the good man, for whom perhaps some might even dare to die, is meant a Jew? Dr. T. himself does not explain it so, in his exposition of this epistle; and therefore is not very consistent with himself, in supposing, that in the other part of the distinction the apostle means Gentiles, as distinguished from the Jews. The apostle himself had been labouring abundantly, in the preceding part of the epistle, to prove, that the Jews were sinners in opposition to righteous; that all had sinned, that all were under sin, and therefore could not be justified, could not be accepted as righteous, by their own righteousness.
7. Another thing which makes it evident that the apostle, when he speaks in this place of the sinners and enemies for whom Christ died, does not mean only the Gentiles, is, that he includes himself among them, saying, while we were sinners, and when we were enemies.
Our author from time to time says, the apostle, though he speaks only of the Gentiles in their heathen state, yet puts himself with them, because he was the apostle of the Gentiles. But this is very unreasonable. There is no more sense in it, than there would be in a father ranking himself among his children, when speaking to his children of the benefits they have by being begotten by himself; and saying, We children. Or in a physician ranking himself with his patients, when talking to them of their diseases and cure; saying, We sick folks. Paul being the apostle of the Gentiles to save them from their heathenism, is so far from being a reason for him to reckon himself among the heathen, that on the contrary, it is the very thing that would render it in a peculiar manner unnatural and absurd for him so to do. Because, as the apostle of the Gentiles, he appears as their healer and deliverer from heathenism; and therefore in that capacity, in a peculiar manner, appears in his distinction from the heathen, and in opposition to the state of heathenism. For it is by the most opposite qualities only, that he is fitted to be an apostle of the heathen, and recoverer from heathenism. As the clear light of the sun is what makes it a proper restorative from darkness; and, therefore, the sun being spoken of as such a remedy, none would suppose to be a good reason why it should be ranked among dark things. Besides, the apostle, in this epistle, expressly ranks himself with the Jews when he speaks of them as distinguished from the Gentiles; as in Rom. iii. 9. “What then? are we better than they?” That is, are we Jews better than the Gentiles?
It cannot justly be alleged in opposition to this, that the apostle Peter puts himself with the heathen, 1 Pet. iv. 3. “For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles; when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries.” For the apostle Peter (who by the way was not an apostle of the Gentiles) here does not speak of himself as one of the heathen, but as one of the church of Christ in general, made up of those who had been Jews, proselytes, and heathens, who were now all one body, of which body he was a member. It is this society, therefore, and not the Gentiles, that he refers to in the pronoun US. He is speaking of the wickedness that the members of this body or society had lived in before their conversion; not that every member had lived in all those vices here mentioned, but some in one, others in another. Very parallel is the passage with that of the apostle Paul to Titus; Titus iii. 3. “For we ourselves also” (i.e. we of the christian church) “were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures,” (some one lust and pleasure, others another), “living in malice, envy, hateful, and hating one another,” &c. There is nothing in this, but what is very natural. That the apostle, speaking to the christian church, and of that church, confessing its former sins, should speak of himself as one of that society, and yet mention some sins that he personally had not been guilty of, and among others, heathenish idolatry, is quite a different thing from what it would have been for the apostle, expressly distinguishing those of the Christians, which had been 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 perhaps 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 quite a different thing, if one part of the British dominions, suppose our king’s American dominions, had universally apostatized from Christianity to deism, and had long been in such a state, and if one who had been born and brought up in England among Christians, the country being universally Christian, should be sent among them to show 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 who 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 quickened and raised up from such a state of death, in a most marvelous display of free rich grace and love, and exceeding greatness of God’s power, &c.
With respect to those words (NOT ENGLISH ) We were by nature children of wrath, Dr. T. Says, p. 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 properly children of wrath, viz. the apostle Paul’s calling Timothy his own son in faith, (NOT ENGLISH ) is so far from confirming his sense, that it is rather directly against it. For doubtless the apostle uses the word here (NOT ENGLISH) in its original signification, meaning his begotten son; NOT ENGLISH being the adjective from NOT ENGLISH, offspring, or the verb, NOT ENGLISH to beget; as much as to say, Timothy my begotten son in the faith. For as there are two ways of being begotten, one natural, and the other spiritual; the first generation, and regeneration; so 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, NOT ENGLISH , in Eph. ii. 3 only as 198 signifying real, true, and proper, is a most arbitrary interpretation, having nothing to warrant it in the whole Bible. The word NOT ENGLISH is no where used in this sense in the New Testament. 300300 The following are all the other places where the word is used, Rom. i. 26. Rom. ii. 14, 27. and Rom. xi. 21, 24. thrice in that verse; 1 Cor. xi.14. Gal. ii.15. Gal. iv. 8. Jam.iii.7.twice in that verse; and 2 Pet. i. 4.
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 its proper meaning. And it is plain, the word in its common use, in the New Testament, signifies what we properly express in English by the word nature. There is but one place where there can be the least pretext for supposing it to 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, (NOT ENGLISH ) nature itself, shows that the apostle does not mean custom, but nature in the proper sense. It is true, it was long custom which made having the head covered a token of subjection, and a feminine appearance; as it is custom that makes any outward action or word a sign or signification of anything. 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 shows 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 gestures, though it be custom that establishes the unclean signification of those gestures and sounds.
It is particularly unnatural and unreasonable, to understand the phrase, (NOT ENGLISH ) in this place, any otherwise than in the proper sense, on the following accounts. 1. It may be observed, that both the words, NOT ENGLISH and NOT ENGLISH , in their original signification, have reference to birth or generation. So the word NOT ENGLISH , from NOT ENGLISH , which signifies to beget or bring forth young, or to bud forth, as a plant, that brings forth young buds and branches. And so the word NOT ENGLISH comes from NOT ENGLISH , 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 NOT ENGLISH, speaking of the children of disobedience; but here NOT ENGLISH , which is a word derived, as observed, from NOT ENGLISH , 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, NOT ENGLISH , 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 favour 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 shows what they are by nature, viz. children of wrath; and in the following verses he shows, how very different their state is by grace; saying, Eph. ii. 5. “By grace ye are saved;” repeating it again, Eph. ii. 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. T. 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 state of salvation.
If we take these words with the context, the whole abundantly proves, that by nature we are totally corrupt, without any good thing in us. For if we allow the plain scope of the place, without attempting to hide it by doing extreme violence to the apostle’s words, 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, the effect of his power, his 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 themselves, 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. Eph. ii. 1. “You hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” And again, Eph. ii. 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 manifesting the exceeding greatness of his power 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 everything 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 his 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. T. 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 those, 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 this may appear from what was said before. But besides the things which have been already observed, there are some things which make it peculiarly unreasonable to understand it so here. It is true, the greater part of the church of Ephesus had been heathens, and therefore the apostle often has reference to their heathen state, in this epistle. But the words in Eph. ii. 3. plainly show, that he means himself and other Jews in distinction from the Gentiles; for the distinction is fully expressed. After he had told the Ephesians, who had been generally heathen, that they had been dead in sin, and had walked according to the course of this world, &c. (ver. 1 and 2) he makes a distinction, and says, “among whom we also had our conversation, &c. and were by nature children of wrath, even as others.” Here first he changes the person; whereas, before he had spoken in the second person, ”ye were dead,—ye in time past walked,” &c. now he changes style, and uses the first person, in a most manifest distinction, among whomwe also, that is, we Jews, as well as ye Gentiles: not only changing the person, but adding a particle of distinction, also; which would be nonsense, if he meant the same without distinction. And besides all this, more fully to express the distinction, the apostle further adds a pronoun of distinction; we also, even as others, or we as well as others: most evidently having respect to the notions, so generally entertained by the Jews, of their being much better than the Gentiles, in being Jews by nature, children of Abraham, and children of God; when they supposed the Gentiles to be utterly cast off, as born aliens, and by nature children of wrath: in opposition to this, the apostle says, “We Jews, after all our glorying in our distinction, were by nature children of wrath, as well as the rest of the world.“ And a yet further evidence, that the apostle here means to include the Jews, and even 199 himself, is the universal term he uses, Among whom also we all had our conversation, &c. Though wickedness was supposed by the Jews to be the course of this world, as to the generality of mankind, yet they supposed themselves an exempt people, at least the Pharisees, and the devout observers of the law of Moses and traditions of the elders; whatever might be thought of publicans and harlots. But in opposition to this, the apostle asserts, that they all were no better by nature than others, but were to be reckoned among the children of disobedience, and children of wrath.
Besides, if the apostle chooses to put himself among the Gentiles, because he was the apostle of the Gentiles, I would ask, why does he not do so in the 11th verse of the same chapter (Eph.ii. 11), where he speaks of the Gentile state expressly? “Remember that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh.” Why does he here make a distinction between the Gentiles and himself? Why did he not say, Let us remember, that we being in time past Gentiles? And why does the same apostle, even universally, make the same distinction, speaking either in the second or third person, and never in the first, where he expressly speaks of the Gentilism of those of whom he wrote, or of whom he speaks, with reference to their distinction from the Jews? So every where in this same epistle; as in Eph. i. 12, 13. where the distinction is made just in the same manner as here, by the change of the person, and by the distinguishing particle, also: “That we should be to the praise of his glory who first trusted in Christ, (the first believers in Christ being of the Jews, before the Gentiles were called), in whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation.” And in all the following part of this second chapter, as Eph. ii. 11, 17, 19, 22. in which last verse the same distinguishing particle again is used; “In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” 301301 See also the following chapters, Eph. iii. 6. and Eph. iv.17. And not only in this epistle, but constantly in other epistles; as Rom. i. 12, 13. Rom. xi.13, 14, 17-25, 28, 30, 31. Rom. xv. 15, 16. 1 Cor. xii. 2. Gal. iv. 8. Col. i. 27; Col. ii. 13 1 Thess. i. 5, 6, 9; 1 Thess. ii. 13, 14, 15, 16.
Though I am far from thinking our author’s exposition of the 7th chap. of Romans to be in any wise agreeable to the true sense of the apostle, yet it is needless here to stand particularly to examine it; because the doctrine of original sin may be argued not the less strongly, though we should allow the thing wherein he mainly differs from such as he opposes in his interpretation, viz. That the apostle does not speak in his own name, or to represent the state of a true Christian, but as representing the state of the Jews under the law. For even on this supposition, the drift of the place will prove, that every one who is under the law, and with equal reason every one of mankind, is carnal, sold under sin, in his first state, and till delivered by Christ. For it is plain, that the apostle’s design is to show the insufficiency of the law to give life to anyone whatsoever. This appears by what he says when he comes to draw his conclusion, in the continuation of this discourse, Rom. viii. 3. 302302 Dr. T. himself reckons this a part of the same discourse or paragraph, in the division he makes of the epistle, in his paraphrase, and notes upon it. “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son,” &c. Our author supposes what is here spoken of, viz. “that the law cannot give life, because it is weak through the flesh,” is true with respect to every one of mankind. 303303 See note on Rom. v. 20. And when the apostle gives this reason, in that it is weak through the flesh, it is plain, that by the flesh, which here he opposes to the spirit, he means the same thing which in the preceding part of the same discourse, in the foregoing chapter, he had called by the name flesh, Rom. vii. 5, 14, 18 and the law of the members, Rom. vii. 23. and the body of death, Rom. vii. 24. . This is what, through this chapter, he insists on as the grand hindrance why the law could not give life; just as he does in his conclusion, Rom. viii. 3. Which, in his last place, is given as a reason why the law cannot give life to any of mankind. And it being the same reason of the same thing, spoken of in the same discourse, in the former part of it—this last place being the conclusion, of which that former part is the premises—and inasmuch as the reason there given is being in the flesh, and being carnal, sold under sin: therefore, taking the whole of the apostle’s discourse, this is justly understood to be a reason why the law cannot give life to any of mankind; and consequently, that all mankind are in the flesh, and are carnal, sold under sin, and so remain till delivered by Christ: and consequently, all mankind in their first original state are very sinful; which was the thing to be proved.
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