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Remarks on Dr. T.’s way of explaining this text.
The following things are worthy of notice, concerning our author’s exposition of this remarkable passage.
I. He greatly insists, that by death in this place no more is meant, than that death which we all die, when this present life is extinguished, and the body returns to the dust. That no more is meant in Rom. v.12, 14, 15, 17, (p. 27.) he declares as evidently, clearly, and infallibly so, because the apostle is till discoursing on the same subject; plainly implying, that infallibly the apostle means no more by death, throughout this paragraph on the subject. But as infallible as this is, if we believe what Dr. T. says elsewhere, it must needs be otherwise: for (p. 120. S) speaking of those words in Rom. vi. 23.“The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord,” he says, “Death in this place is widely different from the death we now die; as it stands there opposed to eternal life, which is the gift of God through Jesus Christ, it manifestly signifies eternal death, the second death, or that death which they shall hereafter die, who live after the flesh.” But the death (in the conclusion of the paragraph we are upon) that comes by Adam, and the life that comes by Christ (in the last verse of the chapter), is opposed to eternal life just in the same manner as in the last verse of the next chapter: “That as sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness, unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord.” So that by our author’s own argument, death in this place also, is manifestly widely different from the death we now die, as it stands here opposed to eternal life, through Jesus Christ; and signifies eternal death, the second death. And yet this is a part of the same discourse, begun in Rom. v. 12; as reckoned by Dr. T. himself in his division of paragraphs, in his paraphrase and notes on the epistle. So that if we will follow him, and admit his reasonings in the various parts of his book, here is manifest proof, against infallible evidence! So that it is true, the apostle throughout this whole passage on the same subject, by death, evidently, clearly, and infallibly means no more than that death we now die, when this life is extinguished; and yet by death, in some part of this passage, is meant something widely different from the death we now die—manifestly eternal death, the second death.
But had our author been more consistent with himself, in laying it down as certain and infallible, that because the apostle has a special respect to temporal death, in ”Death reigned from Adam to Moses,” 304304 Rom. v. 14. therefore he means no more in the several consequent parts of this passage, yet he is doubtless too confident and positive in this matter. This is no more evident, clear, and infallible, than that Christ meant by perishing—in Luke xiii. 5. when he says, I tell you, Nay, but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish—no more than such a temporal death, as came on those who died by the fall of the tower of Siloam, spoken of in the preceding words of the same speech; and no more infallible, than that by life, Christ means no more than this temporal life, in each part of that one sentence—Matt. x. 39.“He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake, shall find it“—because in the first part of each clause he has respect especially to temporal life. 305305 There are many places parallel with these, as John xi. 25,26. ” I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth, and believeth in me, shall never die.” Here both the words, life and death, are used with this variation: “I am the resurrection and the life,” meaning spiritual and eternal life, “He that believeth in me, though he were dead,” having respect to temporal death, “yet shall he live,” with respect to spiritual life, and the restoration of the life of the body. “And whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die,” meaning a spiritual and eternal death. So in John vi. 49,50. “Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead,” having respect chiefly to temporal death. “This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die,” i.e. by the loss of spiritual life, and by eternal death. (See also ver. 58.) And in the next verse, “If any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever.” have eternal life. So ver. 54. See another like instance, John v. 24-29. 200
The truth of the case, with respect to what the apostle here intends by the word death, is this, viz. The whole of that death which he, and the Scripture everywhere, speaks of as the proper wages and punishment of sin, including death temporal, spiritual, and eternal; though in some parts of this discourse he has a more special respect to one part of this whole, in others to another, as his argument leads him; without any more variation than is quite common in the same discourse. That life, which the Scripture speaks of as the reward of righteousness, is a whole containing several parts, viz. The life of the body, union of soul and body, and the most perfect sensibility, activity, and felicity of both, which is the chief thing. In like manner the death, which the Scripture speaks of as the punishment of sin, is a whole including the death of the body and the death of the soul, and the eternal, sensible, perfect destruction and misery of both. It is this latter whole, that the apostle speaks of by the name of death in this discourse, in Rom. v. though in some sentences he has a more special respect to one part, in others to another: and this, without changing the signification of the word. For having respect to several things included in the extensive signification of the word, is not the same thing as using the word in several distinct significations. As for instance, the appellative, man, or the proper name of any particular man, is the name of a whole, including the different parts of soul and body. And if any one in speaking of James or John, should say, he was a wise man, and a beautiful man; in the former part of the sentence, respect would be had more especially to his soul, in the latter to his body, in the word man: but yet without any proper change of the signification of the name to distinct senses. In John xxi. 7. it is said, Peter was naked, and in the following part of the same story it is said, Peter was grieved. In the former proposition, respect is had especially to his body, in the latter to his soul: but yet here is no proper change of the meaning of the name, Peter. And as to the apostle’s use of the word death in the passage now under consideration, on the supposition that he in general means the whole of that death which is the wages of sin, there is nothing but what is perfectly natural in supposing that—in order to evince that death, the proper punishment of sin, comes on all mankind in consequence of Adam’s sin—he should take notice of that part of this punishment which is visible in this world, and which every body therefore sees does in fact come on all mankind ( as in ver. 14). And is it not equally natural from thence to infer, that all mankind are exposed to the whole of that death which is the proper punishment of sin, whereof temporal death is a part, and a visible image of the whole, and (unless changed by divine grace) an introduction to the principal, and infinitely the most dreadful, part?
II. Dr. T.’s explanation of this passage makes wholly insignificant those first words, By one man sin entered into the world, and leaves this proposition without any sense at all. The apostle had been largely and elabourately representing, how the whole world was full of sin, both among Jews and Gentiles, and all exposed to death and condemnation. It is plain, that in these words he would tell us how this came to pass, namely, that the sorrowful event came by one man, even the first man. That the world was full of sin, and full of death, were two great and notorious facts, deeply affecting the interests of mankind; and they seemed very wonderful facts, drawing the attention of the more thinking part of mankind every where, who often asked this question. Whence comes evil, moral and natural evil? It is manifest, the apostle here means to tell us, how these came into the world, and came to prevail in it as they do. But all that is meant, according to Dr. T.’s interpretation, is, ”He began transgression“. 306306 Page 56. As if all that the apostle meant, was, to tell us who happened to sin first; not how such a malady came upon the world, or how anyone in the world, besides Adam himself, came by such a distemper. The words of the apostle, “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin,” show the design to be, to tell us how these evils came, as affecting the state of the world; and not only as reaching one man in the world. If this were not plain enough in itself, the words immediately following demonstrate it; “And so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” By sin being in the world, the apostle does not mean being in the world only in that one instance of Adam’s first transgression, but being abroad in the world, among the inhabitants of the earth, in a wide extent, and continued series of wickedness; as is plain in the first words of the next verse, “For until the law, sin was in the world.” And therefore when he gives us an account how it came to be in the world, or, which is the same thing, how it entered into the world, he does not mean only coming in one instance.
If the case were as Dr. T. represents, that the sin of Adam, either in its pollution or punishment, reached none but himself, any more than the sin of any other man, it would be no more proper to say, that by one man sin entered into the world, than if—were it inquired, how mankind came into America, and there had anciently been a ship of the Phoenicians wrecked at sea, and a single man of the crew was driven on this continent, and here died as soon as he reached the shore—it should be said, By that one man mankind came into America.
Besides, it is not true, that by one man, or by Adam, sin entered into the world, in Dr. T.’s sense: for it was not he but Eve that began transgression. By one man Dr. T. understands Adam, as the figure of Christ. And it is plain, that it was for his transgression, and not Eve’s, that the sentence of death was pronounced on mankind after the fall, Gen. iii. 19. It appears unreasonable to suppose the apostle means to include Eve, when he speaks of Adam; for he lays great stress on it, that it was BY ONE, repeating it several times.
III. In like manner this author brings to nothing the sense of the causal particles, in such phrases as these, so often repeated, Rom. v. 12 “Death by sin,” Rom. v. 15 “If through the offence of one, many be dead,” Rom. v. 16 ”by one that sinned,—judgment was by one to condemnation,” Rom. v. 17 ”By one man’s offence, death reigned by one,” Rom. v. 18 ”By the offence of one, judgment came upon all,” &c., Rom. v. 19 ”By one man’s disobedience.” These causal particles, so variously repeated, unless we make mere nonsense of the discourse, signify some connexion and dependence, by some sort of influence of that sin of one man, or some tendency to that effect, which is so often said to come by it. But according to Dr. T. there can be no real dependence or influence in the case, of any sort whatsoever. There is no connexion by any natural influence of that one act to make all mankind mortal. Our author does not pretend to account for this effect in any such manner, but in another most diverse, viz. A gracious act of God, laying mankind under affliction, toil, and death, from special favour and kindness. Nor can there be any dependence of this effect on that transgression of Adam, by any moral influence, as deserving such a consequence, or exposing to it on any moral account: for he supposes, that mankind are not in this way exposed to the least degree of evil. Nor has this effect any legal dependence on that sin, or any connexion by virtue of any antecedent constitution, which God had established with Adam: for he insists, that in that threatening, “In the day thou eatest thou shalt die,” there is not a word said of his posterity (p. 8). And death on mankind, according to him, cannot come by virtue of that legal constitution with Adam; because the sentence by which it came was after the annulling and abolishing that constitution (p. 113. S.) And it is manifest, that this consequence cannot be through any kind of tendency of that sin to such an effect; because the effect comes only as a benefit, and is the fruit of mere favour: but sin has no tendency, either natural or moral, to benefits, and divine favours. And thus that sin of Adam could neither be the efficient cause, nor the procuring cause; neither the natural, moral, nor legal cause; nor an exciting and moving cause, any more than Adam’s eating of 201 any other tree of the garden. And the only real relation that the effect can have to that sin, is a relation as to time, viz. that it is after it. And when the matter is closely examined, the whole amounts to no more than this, that God is pleased, of his mere good will and pleasure, to bestow a greater favour upon us, than he did upon Adam in innocency, after that sin of his eating the forbidden fruit; which sin we are no more concerned in, than in the sin of the king of Pegu, or the emperor of China.
IV. It is altogether inconsistent with the apostle’s scope, and the import of what he says, to suppose that the death of which he here speaks, as coming on mankind by Adam’s sin, comes not as a punishment, but only as a favour. It quite makes void the opposition, in which the apostle sets the consequences of Adam’s sin, and the consequences of the grace and righteousness of Christ. They are set in opposition to each other, as opposite effects, arising from opposite causes, throughout the paragraph: one, as the just consequence of an offence; the other, a free gift, Rom. v. 15-18. Whereas, according to this scheme, there is no such opposition in the case; both are benefits, and both are free gifts. A very wholesome medicine to save from perishing, ordered by a kind father, or a shield to preserve from an enemy, bestowed by a friend, is as much a free gift as pleasant food. The death that comes by Adam, is set in opposition to the life and happiness that comes by Christ, as being the fruit of sin, and judgment for sin: when the latter is the fruit of divine grace, Rom. v. 15, 17, 20, 21. Whereas, according to our author, both came by grace. Death comes on mankind by the free kindness and love of God, much more truly and properly than by Adam’s sin. Dr. T. speaks of it as coming by occasion of Adam’s sin: but, as I have observed, it is an occasion without any influence. Yet the proper cause is God’s grace. So that the true cause is wholly good. Which, by the way, is directly repugnant to the apostle’s doctrine in Rom. vii. 13.“Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good.” Where the apostle utterly rejects any such suggestion, as though that which is good were the proper cause of death; and signifies that sin is the proper cause, and that which is good, only the occasion. But according to this author, the reverse is true: that which is good in the highest sense, even the love of God, and a divine gracious constitution, is the proper cause of death, and sin only the occasion.
But to return, it is plain, that death by Adam, and life and happiness by Christ, are here set in opposition: the latter being spoken of as good, the other as evil; one as the effect of righteousness, the other of an offence; one of the fruit of obedience, the other of disobedience; one as the fruit of God’s favour, in consequence of what was pleasing and acceptable to him, but the other the fruit of his displeasure, in consequence of what was displeasing and hateful to him; the latter coming by justification, the former by the condemnation of the subject. But according to the scheme of our author, there can be no opposition in any of these respects: the death here spoken of, neither comes as an evil, nor from an evil cause; either an evil efficient cause, or procuring cause, nor at all as any testimony of God’s displeasure to the subject, but as properly the effect of his favour, no less than that which is spoken of as coming by Christ; yea, as much as an act of justification of the subject; as he understands and explains the word justification; for both are made by a grant of favour, and are instances of mercy and goodness. And he abundantly insists upon it, that “any grant of favour, any instance of mercy and goodness, whereby God delivers and exempts from any kind of danger, suffering, or calamity, or confers any favour, blessing, or privilege, is called justification in the scripture-sense and use of the word. 307307 Key,§ 374. where it is to be observed, that he himself puts the word ANY in capital letters. The same thing in substance is often asserted elsewhere. And this indeed is his main point in what he calls the true gospel-scheme.
Moreover, our author makes void the grand and fundamental opposition—to illustrate which is the chief scope of this whole passage—between the first and second Adam; in the death that comes by one, and the life and happiness by the other. For, according to his doctrine, both come by Christ the second Adam; both by his grace, righteousness, and obedience: the death to which God sentenced mankind (Gen. iii. 19.) being a great deal more properly and truly by Christ, than by Adam. For, according to him, that sentence was not pronounced on the basis of the covenant with Adam; because that was abrogated, and entirely set aside, as he largely insists for many pages together, (p. 113-120. S.) “This covenant with Adam was disannulled immediately after Adam sinned. Even before God passed sentence upon Adam, grace was introduced.” “The death that mankind are the subjects of now, stands under the covenant of grace.—In the counsel and appointment of God, it stood in this very light, even before the sentence of death was pronounced upon Adam: and consequently, death is no proper and legal punishment of sin.” And he often insists, that it comes only as a favour and benefit; and standing, as he says, under the covenant of grace, which is by Christ, therefore is truly one of the benefits of the new covenant, which comes by Christ, the second Adam. For he himself is decided, to use his own words, 308308 Key, chap. viii. title, p. 44. “That all the grace of the gospel is dispensed to us, in, by, or through The Son of God.” “Nothing is clearer (says he 309309 Key, § 145. ) from the whole current of Scripture, than that all the mercy and love of God, and all the blessings of the gospel, from first to last, are in, by, and through Christ, and particularly by his blood, by the redemption that is in him. This can bear no dispute among Christians.” What then becomes of all this discourse of the apostle’s, about the great difference and opposition between Adam and Christ; as death is by one, and eternal life and happiness by the other? This grand distinction between the two Adams, it seems, and the other instances of opposition and difference here insisted on—as between the effects of sin and righteousness, the consequences of obedience and disobedience, of the offence and the free gift, judgment and grace, condemnation and justification—all come to nothing. And this whole discourse of the apostle, wherein he seems to labour much, as if it were to set forth some very grand and most important distinction and oppositions in the state of things, as derived from the two great heads of mankind, proves nothing but a multitude of words without meaning, or rather a heap of inconsistencies.
V. Our author’s own doctrine entirely makes void what he supposes to be the apostle’s argument, in Rom. v. 13, 14 , in these words; “For until the law, sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed where there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression.”
What he supposes the apostle would prove here, is, that the mortality of mankind comes only by Adam’s sin, and not by men’s personal sins, because there was no law threatening death to Adam’s posterity for personal sins, before the law of Moses; but death, or the mortality of Adam’s posterity, took place many ages before the law was given; therefore death could not be by any law threatening death for personal sins, and consequently could be by nothing but Adam’s sin. 310310 Page 40, 41, 43, 57. and often elsewhere. On this I would observe,
1. That which he supposes the apostle to take for a truth in this argument, viz. That there was no law of God in being, by which men were exposed to death for personal sin, during the time from Adam to Moses, is neither true, nor agreeable to this apostle’s own doctrine.
First, The assertion is not true. For the law of nature, written in men’s hearts, was then in being, and was a law by which men were exposed to death for personal sin. That there was a divine establishment, fixing the death and destruction of the sinner as the consequence of personal sin, which was well known before the giving of the law by Moses, is plain by many passages in the book of Job, as fully and clearly implying a connexion between such sin and such a punishment, as any passage in the law of Moses: such as that in Job xxiv. 19.“Drought and heat consume the snow-waters; so doth the grave them that have sinned.” (Compare Job. xxiv. 20, 24.) Also Job xxxvi. 6. “He preserveth not the life of the wicked.” 202 Job xxi. 29-32, “Have ye not asked them that go by the way ? and do ye not know their tokens? That the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction; they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath.” Job xxi. 32. “He shall be wrought to the grave.” 311311 See also Job iv. 7, 8, 9. Job xv. 17-35. Job xviii. 5-21. Job xix. 29. and Job xx. 4-8, 23-29. Job xxi 16-18, 20-26. Job xxii. 13-20 and Job xxvii. 11-23 Job xxxi. 3,23 Job xxxiii. 18,22,23,24,28,30. Job xxxiv. 11, 21-26. Job xxxvii. 12, 18, 19, 20. and Job xxxviii. 13.
Secondly. To suppose that there is no law in being, by which men are exposed to death for personal sin, when a revealed law of God is not in being, is contrary to our apostle’s own doctrine in this epistle. Rom. ii. 12, 14, 15. ” For as many as have sinned without law (i. e. the revealed law) shall perish without law.” But how they can be exposed to die and perish, who have not the law of Moses, nor any revealed law, the apostle shows us in Rom. ii. 14,15. ; viz. in that they have the law of nature, by which they fall under sentence to this punishment. “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these having not the law, are a law to themselves; which show the work of the law written in their hearts; their conscience also bearing witness.” —Their conscience not only bore witness to the duty prescribed by this law, but also to the punishment before spoken of, at that which they who sinned without law, were liable to suffer, viz. that they should perish. In which the apostle is yet more express, Rom. i. 32. speaking more especially of the heathen, “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death.” Dr. T. often calls the law the rule of right; and this rule of right sentenced those sinners to death, who were not under the law of Moses, according to this author’s own paraphrase of this verse, in these words, “The heathen were not ignorant of the rule of right, which God had implanted in the human nature; and which shows that they which commit such crimes, are deserving of death.” And he himself supposes Abraham, who lived between Adam and Moses, to be under law, by which he would have, been exposed to punishment without hope, were it not for the promise of grace.—(Paraph. on Rom. iv. 15.)
So that in our author’s way of explaining the passage before us, the grand argument which the apostle insists upon here to prove his main point, viz. that death does not come by men’s personal sin, but by Adam’s sin, because it came before the law was given, that threatened death for personal sin; I say, this argument which Dr T. supposes so clear and strong, 312312 Page 117. S. is brought to nothing more then a mere shadow without substance; the very foundation of the argument having no truth. To say, there was no such law actually expressed in any standing revelation, would be mere trifling. For it no more appears, that God would not bring temporal death for personal sins without a standing revealed law threatening it, than that he would not bring eternal death before there was a revealed law threatening that: which yet wicked men that lived in Noah’s time, were exposed to, as appears by 1 Pet. iii. 19, 20. and which Dr. T. supposes all mankind are exposed to by their personal sins; and he himself says. 313313 Page 77, 78. ” Sin in its own unalterable nature leads to death.” Yea, it might be argued with as much strength of reason, that God could bring on men no punishment at all for any sin, that was committed from Adam to Moses, because there was no standing revealed law then extant threatening any punishment. It may here be properly observed, that our author supposes, the shortening of man’s days, and hastening of death, entered into the world by the sin of the antediluvians, in the same sense as death and mortality entered into the world by Adam’s sin. 314314 Page 68. But where was there any standing revealed law for that, though, the event was so universal? If God might bring this on all mankind, on occasion of other men’s sins, for which they deserved nothing, without a revealed law, what could there be to hinder God bringing death on men for their personal sins, for which their own consciences tell them they deserve death without a revealed law?
2. If from Adam to Moses there had been no law in being, of any kind, revealed or natural, by which men could be properly exposed to temporal death for personal sin, yet the mention of Moses law would have been wholly impertinent, and of no signification in the argument, according to our author. He supposes that what the apostle would prove, is, that temporal death comes by Adam; and not by any law threatening such a punishment for personal sin; because this death prevailed before the law of Moses was in being, which is the only law threatening death for personal sin. And yet he himself supposes, that the law of Moses, when it was in being, threatened no such death for personal sin. For he abundantly asserts, that the death which the law of Moses threatened for personal sin, was eternal death, as has been already noted: and he says in express terms, that eternal death is of a nature widely different from the death we now die;|| 315315 | Page 120. S. He says to the like purpose in his note on Rom. v. 17. as was also observed before.
How impertinently therefore does Dr. T- make an inspired writer argue, when, according to him, the apostle would prove, that this kind of death did not come by any law threatening this kind of death, because it came before the existence of a law threatening another kind of death, of a nature widely different! How is it to the apostle’s purpose, to fix on that period, the time of giving Moses’s law, as if that had been the period wherein men began to be threatened with this punishment for their personal sins, when in truth it was no such thing? And therefore it was no more to this purpose to fix on that period, from Adam to Moses, than from Adam to David, or any other period whatsoever. Dr. T. holds, that even now, since the law of Moses has been given, the mortality of mankind, or the death we now die, does not come by that law; but that it always comes only by Adam. 316316 This is plain by what he says, p. 38, 40, 53, 117. S. And if it never comes by that law, we may be sure it never was threatened in that law.
3. If we should allow the argument in Dr. T.‘s sense of it, to prove that death does not come by personal sin, yet it will be wholly without force to prove the main point, even that it must come by Adam’s sin: for it might come by God’s sovereign and gracious pleasure; as innumerable other divine benefits do. If it be ordered, agreeable to our author’s supposition, not as a punishment, nor as a calamity, but only as a favour, what necessity of any settled constitution, or revealed sentence, in order to bestow such a favour, more than other favours; and particularly more than that great benefit, which he says entered into the world by the sin of the antediluvians, the shortening men’s lives so much after the flood? Thus the apostle’s arguing, by Dr. T.‘s explanation of it, is turned into mere trifling, a vain and impertinent use of words, without any real force or significance.
VI. The apostle here speaks of that great benefit which we have by Christ, as the antitype of Adam, under the notion of the fruit of grace. I do not mean only that superabounding of grace wherein the benefit we have by Christ goes beyond the damage sustained by Adam; but that benefit, with regard to which Adam was the figure of him that was to come, and which is as it were the counterpart of the suffering by Adam, and which repairs the loss we have by him. This is here spoken of as the fruit of the free grace of God; (as appears by Rom. v. 15-18, 20, 21.) which according to our author, is the restoring of mankind to that life which they lost in Adam: and he himself supposes this restoration of life by Christ to be what grace does for us, and calls it the free gift of God, and the grace and favour of the lawgiver.* 317317 * Page 39, 70, 148, 27. S. See also contents of this paragraph in Rom v. in his notes on the epistle, and his notes on Rom. v. 15, 16, 17. And speaking of this restoration, he breaks out in admiration of the unspeakable riches of this grace.† 318318 † Page 119. S.
But it follows from his doctrine, that there is no grace at all in this benefit, and it is no more than a mere act of justice, being only a removing of what mankind suffer, being innocent. Death, as it commonly comes on mankind, and even on infants, (as has been observed,) is an extreme, positive calamity; to bring which on the perfectly innocent, unremedied, and without any thing to countervail it, we are sufficiently taught, is not consistent with the righteousness of the judge of all the earth. What grace therefore, worthy of being so celebrated, would there be in affording remedy and relief, after there had been brought on 203 innocent mankind that which is (as Dr. T. himself represents 319319 Page 69. ) the dreadful and universal destruction of their nature; being a striking demonstration how infinitely hateful sin is to God! What grace in delivering from such shocking ruin, them who did not deserve the least calamity! Our author says, “We could not justly lose communion with God by Adam’s sin.” 320320 Page 148. If so, then we could not justly lose our lives, and be annihilated, after a course of extreme pains and agonies of body and mind, without any restoration; which would be an eternal loss of communion with God, and all other good, besides the positive suffering. The apostle, throughout this passage, represents the death which is the consequence of Adam’s transgression, as coming in a way of judgment and condemnation for sin; but deliverance and life through Christ, as by grace, and the free gift of God. Whereas, on the contrary, by Dr. T.‘s scheme, the death that comes by Adam, comes by grace, great grace; it being a great benefit, ordered in fatherly love and kindness, and on the basis of a covenant of grace: but in the deliverance and restoration by Christ, there is no grace at all. So things are turned topsy-turvy, the apostle’s scope and scheme entirely inverted and confounded.
VII. Dr. T. explains the words, judgment, condemnation, justification, and righteousness, as used in this place in a very unreasonable manner.
I will first consider the sense he puts upon the two former, judgment and condemnation. He often calls this condemnation a judicial act, and a sentence of condemnation. But, according to his scheme, it is a judicial sentence of condemnation passed upon them who are perfectly innocent—and viewed by the judge, even in passing the condemnatory sentence, as having no guilt of sin, or any fault at all chargeable upon them—and a judicial proceeding, passing sentence arbitrarily, without any law or rule of right before established. For there was no preceding law threatening death, that he or any one else ever pretended to have been established, but only this, “In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shall surely die.” And concerning this he insists, that there is not a word said in it of Adam’s posterity. So that the condemnation spoken of, is a sentence of condemnation to death, for, or in consequence of, the sin of Adam, without any law by which that sin could be imputed to bring any such consequence; contrary to the apostle’s plain scope. And not only so, but, over and above all this, it is a judicial sentence of condemnation to that which is no calamity, nor is considered as such in the sentence; but a condemnation to a great favour!
The apostle uses the words judgment and condemnation in other places; they are no strange and unusual terms with him: but never are they used by him in this sense, or any like it; nor are they ever used thus any where else in the New Testament. This apostle, in this epistle to the Romans, often speaks of condemnation, using the same or similar terms and phrases as here, but never in the above said sense. 321321 See chap. ii. 1, 2, 3. six times in these verses; also ver. 12 and 27. and chap. iii. 7. chap. viii. 1, and 3. chap. xiv. 3. 4. and ver. 10, 13, 22, and 23. This will be plain to every one who casts his eye on those places. And if we look into the former part of this chapter, the apostle’s discourse makes it evident, that he is speaking of a condemnation, which is no testimony of favor to the innocent; but of God’s displeasure towards those to whom he is not reconciled, but looks on as offenders and enemies, and holds as the objects of his wrath, from which we are delivered by Christ. (See ver. 6-11. )
And even viewing this discourse itself, in the very paragraph we are upon, if we may judge any thing by language, there is every thing to lead us to suppose, that the apostle uses words here, as he does elsewhere, properly, and as implying a supposition of sin, chargeable on the subject, and exposing to punishment. He speaks of condemnation as what comes by sin, a condemnation to death, which seems to be a most terrible evil, and capital punishment, even in what is temporal and visible: and this in the way of judgment and execution of justice, in opposition to grace or favour, and gift, or a benefit coming by favour. And sin, offence, transgression, and disobedience are, over and over again, spoken of as the ground of the condemnation, and of the capital suffering, for ten verses successively; that is, in every verse in the whole paragraph.
The words, justification and righteousness, are explained by Dr. T. in a manner no less unreasonable. He understands justification, in ver. 18. and righteousness, in ver. 19. in such a sense, as to suppose they belong to all, and are actually to be applied to all mankind, good and bad, believers and unbelievers; to the worst enemies of God, remaining such, as well as his peculiar favourites, and many that never had any sin imputed to them; meaning thereby no more than what is fulfilled in an universal resurrection from the dead, at the last day. 322322 So page 47, 49, 60,61, 62, and other places. Now this is a most arbitrary, forced sense. Though these terms are used all over the New Testament, yet nothing like such an use of them is to be found in any one instance. The words justify, justification, and righteousness, as from God to men, are never used but to signify a privilege belonging only to some, and that which is peculiar to distinguished favourites. This apostle in particular, above all the other writers of the New Testament, abounds in the use of these terms; so that we have all imaginable opportunity to understand his language, and know the sense in which he uses these words: but he never elsewhere uses them in the sense supposed here, nor is there any pretence that he does. Above all, this apostle abounds in the use of these terms in this epistle. justification is the subject he had been upon through all the preceding part of the epistle. It was the grand subject of all the foregoing chapters, and the preceding part of this chapter, where these terms are continually repeated. And the word, justification, is constantly used to signify something peculiar to believers, who had been sinners; implying some reconciliation and forgiveness of sin, and special privilege in nearness to God, above the rest of the world. Yea, the word is constantly used thus, according to Dr. T’s own explanations, in his paraphrase and notes on this epistle. And there is not the least reason to suppose but that he is still speaking of the same justification, which he had dwelt upon from the beginning to this place. He speaks of justification and righteousness here, just in the same manner as he had done in the preceding part of the epistle. He had all along spoken of justification as standing in relation to sin, disobedience to God, and offence against him, and so he does here. He had before been speaking of justification through free grace, and so he does here. He before had been speaking of justification through righteousness, as in Christ Jesus, and so he does here.
And if we look into the former part of this very chapter, we shall find justification spoken of just in the same sense as in the rest of the epistle; which is also supposed by our author in his exposition. It is still justification by faith, justification of them who had been sinners, justification attended with reconciliation, justification peculiar to them who had the love of God shed abroad in their hearts. The apostle’s foregoing discourse on justification by grace through faith—and what he had so greatly insisted on as the evidence of the truth of this doctrine, even the universal sinfulness of mankind in their original state—is plainly what introduces this discourse in the latter part of this 5th chapter; where he shows how all mankind came to be sinful and miserable, and so to need this grace of God, and righteousness of Christ. And therefore we cannot, without the most absurd violence, suppose any other than that he is still speaking of the same justification.
And as to the universal expression used in the 18th verse, “by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men to justification of life;” it is needless here to go into the controversy between the remonstrants and anti-remonstrants, concerning universal redemption, and their different interpretations of this place. If we take the words even as the Arminians do; yet, in their sense of them, the free gift comes on all men to justification only conditionally, i. e. provided they believe, repent, &c. But in our author’s sense, it actually comes on all, whether they believe and repent, or not; which certainly cannot be inferred from the universal expression, as here used. Dr. T. himself supposes, the main design of the apostle in this universal phrase, all men, is to signify that the benefits 204 of Christ shall come on Gentiles as well as Jews.* And he supposes that the Many and the All, here signify the same; but it is quite certain, that all the benefits here spoken of, which the apostle says are to the many, does not actually come upon all mankind; as particularly the abounding of grace, ver. 15. “The grace of God, and the gift by grace, hath abounded unto the many (NOT ENGLISH).”
This abounding of grace our author explains thus; “a rich overplus of grace, in erecting a new dispensation, furnished with a glorious fund of light, means, and motives,” (p. 44.) But will any pretend, that all mankind have actually been partakers of this new fund of light, &c. How were the many millions of Indians, on the American side of the globe, partakers of it, before the Europeans came hither? Yea, Dr. T. himself supposes, that it is only free for all that are willing to accept of it. 323323 Notes on the epistle, page 284. The agreement between Adam as the type or figure of him that was to come, and Christ as the anti-type, appears full and clear, if we suppose that all who are in christ (to use the common scripture phrase) have the benefit of his obedience, even as all who are in adam have the sorrowful fruit of his disobedience. The Scripture speaks of believers as the seed or posterity of Christ. (Gal. iii. 29.) They are in Christ by grace, as Adam’s posterity are in him by nature. See also 1 Cor. xv. 45-49. The spiritual seed are those which this apostle often represents as Christ’s body: and the NOT ENGLISH . here spoken of as made righteous by Christ’s obedience, are doubtless the same with the NOT ENGLISH which he speaks of in chap. chap. xii.5. We, being many, are one body; or, we, the many, NOT ENGLISH . And again, 1 Cor. x. 17. NOT ENGLISH. And the same which the apostle had spoken of in the preceding chapter. (Rom. iv. 18. compared with Gen. xv. 5.)
Dr. T. insists much on 1 Cor. xv. 21, 22. “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead; for as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive;” to confirm his suppositions, that the apostle in the 5th of Romans, speaking of the death and condemnation which come by Adam, has respect only to the death we all die, when this life ends: and that by the justification and life which come by Christ, he has respect only to the general resurrection at the last day. But it is observable, that his argument is wholly built on these two suppositions, viz. First, that the resurrection meant by the apostle, 1 Cor. xv. is the resurrection of all mankind, both just and unjust. Secondly, That the opposite consequences of Adam’s sin, and Christ’s obedience, in Rom. v. are the very same, neither more nor less, than are spoken of there. But there are no grounds for supposing either of these things to be true.
1. There is no evidence, that the resurrection there spoken of, relates both to the just and unjust; but abundant evidence of the contrary. The resurrection of the wicked is seldom mentioned in the New Testament, and rarely included in the meaning of the word; it being esteemed not worthy to be called a rising to life, being only for a great increase of the misery and darkness of eternal death: and therefore by the resurrection is most commonly meant a rising to life and happiness. 324324 As may be observed in Matt. xxii. 30. Luke xx. 35, 36. John vi. 39, 40, 54. Philip. iii. 11. and other places. The saints are called the children of the resurrection, as Dr. T. observes in his note on Rom. viii. 11. And it is exceeding evident, that it is the resurrection to life and happiness, which the apostle is speaking of in 1 Cor. xv. 21, 22. As appears by each of the three foregoing verses. Ver. 18. “Then they which are fallen asleep in Christ (i. e. the saints) are perished.” Ver. 19. “If in this life only we (Christians or apostles) have hope in Christ, (and have no resurrection and eternal life to hope for,) we are of all men most miserable.” Ver. 20. “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and is become the first-fruits of them that slept.” He is the forerunner and first-fruits only with respect to them that are his; who are to follow him, and partake with him in the glory and happiness of his resurrection: but he is not the first-fruits of them that shall come forth to the resurrection of damnation. It also appears by the verse immediately following, ver. 23. “But every man in his own order; Christ the first-fruits, and afterwards they that are Christ’s, at his coming.” The same is plain by what is said in verse 29-32. and by all that is said from the 35th verse to the end of the chapter, for twenty-three verses together: it there expressly appears, that the apostle is speaking only of a rising to glory, with a glorious body, as the little grain that is sown, being quickened, rises a beautiful flourishing plant. He there speaks of the different degrees of glory among them that shall rise, and compares it to the different degrees of glory among the celestial luminaries. The resurrection he treats of, is expressly, being raised in incorruption, in glory, in power, with a spiritual body, having the image of the second man, the spiritual and heavenly Adam: a resurrection wherein this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal put on immortality, and death be swallowed up in victory, and the saints gloriously triumph over that last enemy. Dr. T. himself says what is in effect owning that the resurrection here spoken of is only of the righteous; for it is expressly a resurrection NOT ENGLISH, and NOT ENGLISH, ( ver 53, and 42. ) But Dr. T. says, These are never attributed to the wicked in Scripture.§ So that when the apostle says here, “As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive;” 325325 1 Cor. xv. 22. it is as much as if he had said, As in Adam we all die, and our bodies are sown in corruption, in dishonour, and in weakness: so in Christ we all (we Christians, whom I have been all along speaking of) shall be raised in power, glory, and incorruption, spiritual and heavenly, conformed to the second Adam. For as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly, ver. 49. Which clearly explains and determines his meaning in ver. 21, 22.
2. There is no evidence, that the benefit by the second Adam, spoken of in Rom. v. is the very same (containing neither more nor less) as the resurrection spoken of in 1 Cor. xv. It is no evidence of it, that the benefit is opposed to the death that comes by the first Adam, in like manner in both places. The resurrection to eternal life, though it be not the whole of that salvation and happiness which comes by the second Adam, yet is it that wherein this salvation is principally obtained. The time of the saints’ glorious resurrection is often spoken of as the proper time of their salvation, The day of their redemption, the time of their adoption, glory, and recompence. 326326 As in Luke xiv. 14. and xxi. 28. Rom. viii. 23. Eph. iv. 30. Colos. iii. 4. 2 Thess. i.7. 2 Tim. iv. 8. 1 Pet. i. 13. and v. 4. 1 John iii. 2. and other places. All that happiness which is given before, is only a prelibation and earnest of their great reward. Well therefore may that consummate salvation bestowed on them, be set in opposition to the death and ruin which comes by the first Adam, in like manner as the whole of their salvation is opposed to the same in Rom. v. Dr. T. himself observes,¶ That the revival and resurrection of the body, is frequently put for our advancement to eternal life. It being the highest part, it is often put for the whole.
This notion, as if the justification, righteousness, and life spoken of in Rom. v. implied the resurrection of damnation, is not only without ground from Scripture, but contrary to reason. For those are there spoken of as great benefits, by the grace and free gift of God: but this is the contrary, in the highest degree possible; the most consummate calamity. To obviate this, our author supposes the resurrection of all to be a great benefit in itself, though turned into a calamity by the sin and folly of obstinate sinners, who abuse God’s goodness. But the far greater part of mankind, since Adam, have never had opportunity to abuse this goodness, it having never been made known to them. Men cannot abuse a kindness, which they never had either in possession, promise, offer, or some intimation: but a resurrection is made known only by divine revelation which few comparatively have enjoyed. So that as to such wicked men as die in lands of darkness, if their resurrection comes at all by Christ, it comes from him, and to them, only is a curse, and not a blessing; for it never comes to them at all by any conveyance, grant, promise, or offer, or any thing by which they can claim it, or know any thing of it, till it comes as an infinite calamity, past all remedy.
205 VIII. In a peculiar manner is there an unreasonable violence used in our author’s explanation of the words sinners and sinned, in the paragraph before us. He says, “These words, By one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, mean neither more nor less, than that by one man’s disobedience, the many were made subject to death, by the judicial act of God.” 327327 Page 30. And he says in the same place, “By death, most certainly, is meant no other than the death and mortality common to all mankind.” And those words, ver. 12. “For that all have sinned,” he thus explains, “All men became sinners, as all mankind are brought into a state of suffering. 328328 Page 54, and elsewhere. Here I observe,
1. The main thing, by which he justifies such interpretations, is, that sin, in various instances, is used for suffering, in the Old Testament. 329329 Page 34. To which I reply; though it be true, that the original word (NOT ENGLISH) signifies both sin, and a sin-offering—and though this, and some other Hebrew words which signify sin, iniquity, and wickedness, are sometimes put for the effect or punishment of iniquity, by a metonymy of the cause for the effect—yet it does not appear, that these words are ever used for suffering, where that suffering is not a punishment, or a fruit of God’s anger for sin. And therefore none of the instances he mentions, come up to his purpose. When Lot is commanded to leave Sodom, that he might not be consumed in the iniquity of the city, meaning in that fire which was the effect and punishment of the iniquity of the city; this is quite another thing, than if that fire came on the city in general, as no punishment at all, nor as any fruit of a charge of iniquity, but as a token of God’s favour to the inhabitants. For according to Dr. T. the death of mankind is introduced only as a benefit, from a covenant of grace. And especially is this quite another thing, than if, in the expression used, the iniquity had been ascribed to Lot; and God, instead of saying, Lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city, had said, Lest thou be consumed in thine iniquity, or, Lest thou sin, or be made a sinner. Whereas the expression is such, as expressly removes the iniquity spoken of from Lot, and fixes it on the city. The place cited by our author in Jer. li. is exactly parallel. And as to what Abimelech says to Abraham, “What have I offended thee, that thou hast brought on me, and on my kingdom, a great sin?” 330330 Gen. xx. 9. It is manifest, Abimelech was afraid that God was angry for what he had done to Sarah; or would have been angry with him, if he had done what he was about to do, as imputing sin to him for it. Which is a quite different thing from calling some calamity, sin, under no notion of its being any punishment of sin, nor in the least degree from God’s displeasure. And so with regard to every place our author cites in the margin, it is plain, that what is meant in each of them, is the punishment of sin, and not some suffering which is no punishment at all. And as to the instances he mentions in his Supplement, (p. 8.) the two that look most favourable to his design are those in Gen. xxxi. 39. and 2 Kings vii. 9. With respect to the former, where Jacob says, that which was torn of beasts, (NOT ENGLISH) I bare the loss of it. Dr. T. is pleased to translate it, I was the sinner; but properly rendered, it is, I expiated it; the verb in Pihel properly signifying to expiate; and the plain meaning is, I bore the blame of it, and was obliged to pay for it, as being supposed to be lost through my fault or neglect: which is a quite different thing from suffering without any supposition of fault. And as to the latter place, where the lepers say, this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace: if we tarry till morning some mischief will befall us: in the Hebrew it is (NOT ENGLISH ) iniquity will find us, that is, some punishment of our fault will come upon us. Elsewhere such phrases are used, as your iniquity will find you out, and the like. But certainly this is a different thing from suffering without fault, or supposition of fault. And it does not appear, that the verb in Hiphil, (NOT ENGLISH) rendered to condemn, is ever put for condemn, in any other sense than for sin, or guilt, or supposed guilt belonging to the subject condemned. This word is used in the participle of Hiphil, to signify condemning, in Prov. xvii. 15. “He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even both are an abomination to the Lord.” This Dr. T. observes, as if it were to his purpose, when he is endeavouring to show, that in this place (Rom. v.) the apostle speaks of God himself as condemning the just, or perfectly innocent, in a parallel signification of terms. Nor is any instance produced, wherein the verb sin, which is used by the apostle when he says, all have sinned, is any where used in our author’s sense, for being brought into a state of suffering, and that not as a punishment for sin, or as any thing arising from God’s displeasure; much less for being the subject of what comes only as the fruit of divine love, and as a benefit of the highest nature. 331331 Page 27. S. Nor can any thing like this sense of the verb be found in the whole Bible.
2. If there had been any thing like such an use of the words sin and sinner, as our author supposes, in the Old Testament, it is evident that such an use of them is quite alien from the language of the New Testament. Where can an instance be produced of any thing like it, in any one place, besides what is pretended in this? and particularly in any of this apostle’s writings? We have enough of his writings, by which to learn his way of speaking about sin, condemnation, punishment, death, and suffering. He wrote much more of the New Testament than any other person. He very often has occasion to speak of condemnation: but where does he express it by such a phrase as being made sinners? Especially how far is he elsewhere from using such a phrase, to signify being condemned without guilt, or any imputation or supposition of guilt? Vastly more still is it remote from his language, so to use the verb sin, and to say, man sinneth, or has sinned, though hereby meaning nothing more nor less, than that he, by a judicial act, is condemned, according to a dispensation of grace, to receive a great favour! He abundantly uses the words sin and sinner; his writings are full of such terms; but where else does he use them in such a sense? He has much occasion in his epistles to speak of death, temporal and eternal; to speak of suffering of all kinds, in this world, and the world to come: but where does he call these things sin? or denominate innocent men sinners, meaning, that they are brought into a state of suffering? If the apostle, because he was a Jew, was so addicted to the Hebrew idiom, as thus in one paragraph to repeat this particular Hebraism, which, at most, is comparatively rare even in the Old Testament; is it not strange, that never any thing like it should appear any where else in his writings? and especially, that he should never fall into such a way of speaking in his epistle to the Hebrews, written to Jews only, who were most used to the Hebrew idiom? And why does Christ never use such language in any of his speeches, though he was born and brought up among the Jews, and delivered almost all his speeches to Jews only? And why do none of the other New-Testament writers ever use it, who were all born and educated Jews, (excepting perhaps Luke,) and some of them wrote especially for the benefit of the Jews?
It is worthy to be observed, what liberty is taken and boldness is used with this apostle. Such words as NOT ENGLISH. NOT ENGLISH , are abundantly used by him elsewhere in this and other epistles, when speaking, as here, of Christ’s redemption and atonement, the general sinfulness of mankind, the condemnation of sinners, the justification by Christ, death as the consequence of sin, and restoration to life by Christ; yet no where are any of these words used, but in a sense very remote from what is supposed by Dr. T. however, in this place, it seems, these terms must have a distinguished singular sense annexed to them! A new language must be coined for the apostle, to which he is evidently quite unused, for the sake of evading this clear, precise, and abundant testimony of his, to the doctrine of original sin.
3. To put such a sense on the word sin, in this place, is not only to make the apostle greatly disagree with himself in the language he uses every where else, but also in this very passage. He often here uses the word sin, and other words plainly of the same import, such as transgression, disobedience, offence. Nothing can be more evident, than that these are used as several names of the same 206 thing; for they are used interchangeably, and put one for another. And these words are used no less than seventeen times in this one paragraph. Perhaps we shall find no place in the whole Bible, in which the word sin, and other words plainly synonymous, are used so often in so little compass: and in all these instances, in the proper sense, as signifying moral evil, and even so understood by Dr. T. himself, (as appears by his own exposition,) but only in these two places, ( ver. 12, 19. ) where, in the midst of all, to evade a clear evidence of the doctrine of original sin, another meaning must be found out, and it must be supposed that the apostle uses the word in a sense entirely different, signifying something that neither implies nor supposes any moral evil at all in the subject.
Here it is very remarkable, how the gentleman who so greatly insisted upon it, that the word death must needs be understood in the same sense throughout this paragraph; yea, that it is evidently, clearly, and infallibly so, inasmuch as the apostle is still discoursing on the same subject; yet can, without the least difficulty, suppose the word sin, to be used so differently in the very same passage, wherein the apostle is discoursing on the same thing. Let us take that one instance in ver. 12. “Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.“ Here, by sin, implied in the word sinned, in the end of the sentence, our author understands something perfectly and altogether diverse from what is meant by the word sin, twice in the former part of the very same sentence, of which this latter part is the explication. And a sense entirely different from the use of the word twice in the next sentence, wherein the apostle is still most plainly discoursing on the same subject, as is not denied. And so our author himself understands ver. 14. Afterwards ( ver. 19.) the apostle uses the word sinners, which our author supposes to be in a somewhat different sense still. So that here is the utmost violence of the kind that can be conceived of, to make out a scheme against the plainest evidence, in changing the meaning of a word backward and forward in one paragraph, all about one thing, and in different parts of the same sentence, occurring in quick repetitions, with a variety of other synonymous words to fix its signification. To which we may add, the continued use of the word in all the preceding and subsequent parts of this epistle; in none of which places is it pretended, but that the word is used in the proper sense, by our author in his paraphrase and notes on the whole epistle. 332332 Agreeably to his manner, our author, in explaining the 7th chap. of Romans, understands the pronoun I, or me, used by the apostle in that one continued discourse, in no less than six different senses. He takes it in the 1st ver. to signify the apostle Paul himself. In the 8, 9, 10, and 11th verses, for the people of the Jews, through all ages, both before and after Moses, especially the carnal ungodly part of them. In the 13th ver. for an objecting Jew, entering into a dialogue with the apostle. In the 15, 16, 17, 20, and latter part of the 25th ver. it is understood in two different senses, for two I’s in the same person; one, a man’s reason; and the other, his passions and carnal appetites. And in the 7th and former part of the last verse, for us Christians in general; or, for all that enjoy the word of God, the law and the gospel: and these different senses, the most of them strangely inter mixed and interchanged backwards and forwards.
But indeed we need go no further than ver. 12. . What the apostle means by sin, in the latter part of the verse, is evident, by comparing it with the former part; the last clause being exegetical of the first. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that (or unto which) all have sinned.” Here sin and death are so spoken of in the former and in the latter part that the same things are clearly meant by the terms in both parts. Besides, to interpret sinning, here, by falling under the suffering of death, is yet the more violent and unreasonable, because the apostle in this very place once and again distinguishes between sin and death; plainly speaking of one as the effect, and the other the cause. So in the 21st verse, “that as sin hath reigned unto death;” and in the 12th verse, ”sin entered into the world, and death by sin.’’ And this plain distinction holds through all the discourse, as between death and the offence, ver. 15. and ver. 17. . and between the offence and condemnation, ver. 18. .
4. Though we should omit the consideration of the manner in which the apostle uses the words, sin, sinned, &c. in other places, and in other parts of this discourse, yet Dr. T.‘s interpretation of them would be very absurd.
The case stands thus: according to his exposition, we are said to have sinned by an active verb, as though we had actively sinned; yet this is not spoken truly and properly, but it is put figuratively for our becoming sinners passively, our being made or constituted sinners. Yet again, not that we do truly become sinners passively, or are really made sinners, by any thing that God does; this also is only a figurative or tropical representation; and the meaning is only, we are condemned, and treated as if we were sinners. Not indeed that we are properly condemned, for God never truly condemns the innocent; but this also is only a figurative representation of the thing. It is but as it were condemning; because it is appointing to death, a terrible evil, as if it were a punishment. But then, in reality, here is no appointment to a terrible evil, or any evil at all; but truly to a benefit, a great benefit; and so in representing death as a punishment, another figure is used, and an exceeding bold one; for, as we are appointed to it, it is so far from being an evil or punishment, that it is really a favour, and that of the highest nature, appointed by mere grace and love, though it seems to be a calamity.
Thus we have tropes and figures multiplied, one upon another; and all in that one word, sinned; according to the manner, as it is supposed, in which the apostle uses it. We have a figurative representation, not of a reality, but of a figurative representation. Neither is this a representation of a reality, but of another thing that still is but a figurative representation of something else: yea, even this something else is still but a figure, and one that is very harsh and far-fetched. So that here we have a figure to represent a figure, even a figure of a figure, representing some very remote figure, which most obscurely represents the thing intended; if the most terrible evil can indeed be said at all to represent the contrary good of the highest kind. And now, what cannot be made of any place of Scripture, in such a way as this? And is there any hope of ever deciding any controversy by the Scripture, in the way of using such a licence in order to force it to a compliance with our own schemes? If the apostle indeed uses language after so strange a manner in this place, it is perhaps such an instance, as not only there is not the like in all the Bible besides, but perhaps in no writing whatsoever. And this, not in any parabolical, visionary, or prophetic description, in which difficult and obscure representations are wont to be made; nor in a dramatic or poetical representation, in which a great licence is often taken, and bold figures are commonly to be expected. But it is in a familiar letter, wherein the apostle is delivering gospel-instruction, as a minister of the New Testament: and wherein, as he professes, he delivers divine truth without the vail of ancient figures and similitudes, and uses great plainness of speech. And in a discourse that is wholly didactic, narrative, and argumentative; evidently setting himself to explain the doctrine he is upon, in the reason and nature of it, with a great variety of expressions, turning it as it were on every side, to make his meaning plain, and to fix in his readers the exact notion of what he intends. Dr. T. himself observes, 333333 Pref. to Paraph. on Rom. p. 146. 48. “This apostle takes great care to guard and explain every part of his subject: and I may venture to say, he has left no part of it unexplained or unguarded. Never was an author more exact and cautious in this than he. Sometimes he writes notes on a sentence liable to exception, and wanting explanation.” Now I think, this care and exactness of the apostle no where appears more than in the place we are upon. Nay, I scarcely know another instance equal to this, of the apostle’s care to be well understood, by being very particular, explicit, and precise, setting the matter forth in every light, going over and over again with his doctrine, clearly to exhibit, and fully to settle and determine the thing at which he aims.
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