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§ 5. The Parties to the Covenant of Works.

It lies in the nature of a covenant that there must be two of more parties. A covenant is not of one. The parties to the original covenant were God and Adam. Adam, however, acted not in his individual capacity but as the head and representative of his whole race. This is plain. (1.) Because everything said to him had as much reference to his posterity as to Adam himself. Everything granted to him was granted to them. Everything promised to him was promised to them. And everything threatened against him, in case of transgression, was threatened against them. God did not give the earth to Adam for him alone, but as the heritage of his race. The dominion over the lower animals with which he was invested belonged equally to his descendants. The promise of life embraced them as well as him; and the threatening of death concerned them as well as him. (2.) In the second place, it is an outstanding undeniable fact, that the penalty which Adam incurred has fallen upon his whole race. The earth is cursed to them as it was to him. They must earn their bread by the sweat of their brows. The pains of childbirth are the common heritage of all the daughters of Eve. All men are subject to disease and death. All are born in sin, destitute of the moral image of God. There is not an evil consequent on the sin of Adam which does not affect his race as much as it affected him. (3.) Not only did the ancient Jews infer the representative character of Adam from the record given in Genesis, but the inspired writers of the New Testament give this doctrine the sanction of divine authority. In Adam, says the Apostle, all died. The sentence of condemnation, he teaches us, passed on all men for one offence. By the offence of one all were made sinners. (4.) This great fact is made the ground on which the whole plan of redemption is founded. As we full in Adam, we are saved in Christ. To deny the principle in the one case, is to deny it in the other; for the two are inseparably united in the representations of Scripture. (5.) The principle involved in the headship of Adam underlies all the religious institutions ever ordained by God for men; all his providential dealings with our race; and even the distributions of the saving influences of his Spirit. It is therefore one of the fundamental principles both of natural and of revealed religion. (6.) What is thus clearly revealed in the word and providence of God, finds a response in the very constitution of our nature. All men are led as it were instinctively to recognize the validity of this principle of representation. 122Rulers represent their people; parents their children, guardians their wards. All these considerations are in place here, when the nature of the covenant of works, and the parties to that covenant are under discussion, although of course they must come up again to be more fully examined, when we have to speak of the effects of Adam's sin upon his posterity. Men may dispute as to the grounds of the headship of Adam, but the fact itself can hardly be questioned by those who recognize the authority of the Scriptures. It has therefore entered into the faith of all Christian churches, and is more or less clearly presented in all their authorized symbols.

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