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Having delivered his thoughts concerning God himself, his nature and properties, in the foregoing chapters, in this our catechist proceeds to the consideration of his works, ascribing to God the creation of all things, especially insisting on the making of man. Now, although many questions might be proposed from which Mr B. would, I suppose, be scarcely able to extricate himself, relating to the impossibility of the proceeding of such a work as the creation of all things from such an agent as he hath described God to be, so limited both in his essence and properties, yet it being no part of my business to dispute or perplex any thing that is simply in itself true and unquestionable, with the attendancies of it from other corrupt notions of him or them by whom it is received and proposed, I shall wholly omit all considerations of that nature, and apply myself merely to what is by him expressed. That he who is limited and finite in essence, and consequently in properties, should by his power, without the help of any intervening instrument, out of nothing, produce, at such a vast distance from him as his hands can by no means reach unto, such mighty effects as the earth itself and the fulness thereof, is not of an easy proof or resolution. But on these things at present I shall not insist. Certain it is that, on this apprehension of God, the Epicureans disputed for the impassibility of the creation of the world.223223 “Quibus enim oculis animi intueri potuit vester Plato fabricam illam tanti operis, qua construi a Deo atque ædificari mundum facit? Quæ molitio? Quæ ferrameata? Qui vectes? Quæ machinæ? Qui ministri tanti muneris fuerunt? Quemadmodum autem obedire et parere voluntati architecti ær, ignis, aqua, terra, potuerunt?” — Velleius apud Cicer. de Nat. Deor. lib. i. 8.
His first question, then, is, “Were the heaven and earth from all eternity, or created at a certain time? and by whom?” To which he answers with Gen. i. 1, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
142Right. Only in the exposition of this verse, as it discovers the principal efficient cause of the creation of all things, or the author of this great work, Mr B. afterward expounds himself to differ from us and the word of God in other places. By “God” he intends the Father only and exclusively, the Scripture plentifully ascribing this work also to the Son and Holy Ghost, manifesting their concurrence in the indivisible Deity unto this great work, though, by way of eminency, this work be attributed to the Father, as that of redemption is to the Son, and that of regeneration to the Holy Ghost, from neither of which notwithstanding is the Father excluded.
Perhaps the using of the name of God in the plural number, where mention is made of the creation, in conjunction with a verb singular, Gen. i. 1, and the express calling of God our Creators and Makers, Eccles. xii. 1, Ps. cxlix. 2, Job xxxv. 10, wants not a significancy to this thing.224224 “Poterat et illud de angelis intelligi, Faciamus hominem, etc., sed quia sequitur, ad imaginem nostram, nefas est credere, ad imagines angelorum hominem esse factum, aut eandem esse imaginem angelorum et Dei. Et ideo recte intelligitur pluralitas Trinitatiis. Quæ tamen Trinitas, quia unus est Deus, etiam cum dixisset, faciamus, et fecit, inquit, Deus hominem ad imaginem Dei: non veto dixit, fecerunt Dii ad Deorum.” — Aug. de Civit. Dei, lib. xvi. cap. vi. And indeed he that shall consider the miserable evasions that the adversaries have invented to escape the argument thence commonly insisted on must needs be confirmed in the persuasion of the force of it.225225 Georg. Enjed. in. Explicat. loc. Ver. et Nov. Testam. in Gen. i. 26. Mr B. may haply close with Plato in this business, who, in his “Timæus,” brings in his δημιουργός speaking to his genii about the making of man, telling them that they were mortal, but encouraging them to obey him in the making of other creatures, upon the promise of immortality. “Turn you,” saith he, “according to the law of nature, to the making of living creatures, and imitate my power which I used in your generation or birth;”226226 Τρέπεσθε κατὰ φύσιν ὑμεῖς ἐπὶ τὴν τῶν ζώων δημιουργίαν μιμούμενοι τὴν ἐμὴν δύναμεν περὶ τὴν ὑμετέραν γένεσιν. — Plato. in Timæo. Dial. p. 3 vol. ii. p. 43. — a speech fit enough for Mr B.’s god, “who is shut up in heaven,” and not able of himself to attend his whole business. But what a sad success this demiurgus had, by his want of prescience, or foresight of what his demons would do (wherein also Mr B. likens God unto him), is farther declared; for they imprudently causing a conflux of too much matter and humour, no small tumult followed thereon in heaven, as at large you may see in the same author. However, it is said expressly the Son or Word created all things, John i. 3; and, “By him are all things,” 1 Cor. viii. 6, Rev. iv. 11. Of the Holy Ghost the same is alarmed, Gen. i. 2, Job xxvi. 13, Ps. xxxiii. 6. Nor can the Word and Spirit be degraded from the place of principal efficient cause in this work to a condition of instrumentality only, which is urged (especially in reference to the Spirit), unless we 143shall suppose them to have been created before say creation, sad to have been instrumental of their own production. But of these things in their proper place.
His second question is, “How long was God in making them?” and he answers from Exod. xx. 11, “In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is.”
The rule I formerly prescribed to myself of dealing with Mr B. causes me to pass this question also without farther inquiry; although, having already considered what his notions are concerning the nature and properties of God, I can scarce avoid conjecturing that by this crude proposal of the time wherein the work of God’s creation was finished, there is an intendment to insinuate such a gross conception of the working of God as will By no means be suited to his omnipotent production of all things. But speaking of things no farther than enforced, I shall not insist on this query.
Mr B., undertaking to give all the grounds of religion in his Catechisms, teacheth as well by his silence as his expressions. What he mentions not, in the known doctrine he opposeth, he may well be interpreted to reject. As to the matter whereof man sad woman were made, Mr B.’s answers do express it; but as to the condition and state wherein they were made, of that he is silent, though he knows the Scripture doth much more abound in delivering the one than the other. Neither can his silence in this thing be imputed to oversight or forgetfulness, considering how subservient it is to his intendment in his last two questions, for the subverting of the doctrine of original sin, and the denial of all those effects and consequences of the first breach of covenant whereof he speaks. He can, upon another account, take notice that man was made in the imago of God: but whereas hitherto Christians have supposed that that denoted some spiritual perfection bestowed on man, wherein he resembles God, Mr B. hath discovered that it is only an expression of some imperfection of God, wherein he resembles man; which yet he will as hardly persuade us of as that a man hath seven eyes or two wings, which are ascribed unto God also. That man was created in a resemblance and likeness unto God in that immortal substance breathed into his nostrils, Gen. ii. 7, in the excellent rational faculties thereof, in the dominion he was intrusted withal over a great part of God’s creation, but especially in the integrity and uprightness of his person, Eccles. vii. 29, wherein he stood before God, in reference to the obedience required at his hands, — which condition, by the implanting of new qualities in our soul, we are, through Christ, in some measure renewed unto, Col. iii. 10, 12, Eph. iv. 24, — the Scripture is 144clear, evident, and full in the discovery of; but hereof Mr B. conceive, not himself bound to take notice. But what is farther needful to be spoken as to the state of man before the fall will fall under the consideration of the last question of this chapter.
Mr B.’s process in the following questions is, to express the story of man’s outward condition, unto the eighth, where he inquires after the commandment given of God to man when he put him into the garden, in these words:— “Q. What commandment gave he to the man when he put him into the garden?” This he resolves from Gen. ii. 16, 17. That God gave our first parents the command expressed is undeniable. That the matter chiefly expressed in that command was all or the principal part of what he required of them, Mr B. doth not go about to prove. I shall only desire to know of him whether God did not in that estate require of them that they should love him, fear him, believe him, acknowledge their dependence on him, in universal obedience to his will? and whether a suitableness unto all this duty were not wrought within them by God? If he shall say No, and that God required no more of them but only not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, I desire to know whether they might have hated God, abhorred him, believed Satan, and yet been free from the threatening here mentioned, if they had only forbore the outward eating of the fruit? If this shall be granted, I hope I need not insist to manifest what will easily be inferred, nor to show how impossible this is, God continuing God, and man a rational creature.227227 Vid. Diatrib. de Justit. Vindicat. If he shall say that certainly God did require that they should own him for God, — that is, believe him, love him, fear him, and worship him, according to all that he should reveal to them and require of them, — I desire to know whether this particular command could be any other than sacramental and symbolical as to the matter of it, being a thing of so small importance in its own nature, in comparison of those moral acknowledgments of God before mentioned; and to that question I shall not need to add more.
Although it may justly be supposed that Mr B. is not without some thoughts of deviation from the truth in the following questions, yet the last being of most importance, and he being express therein in denying all the effects of the first sin, but only the curse that came upon the outward, visible world, I shall insist only on that, and close our consideration of this chapter. His question is thus proposed: “Q. Did the sin of our first parents in eating of the forbidden fruit bring both upon them and their posterity the guilt of hell-fire, deface the image of God in them, darken their understandings, enslave their wills, deprive them of power to do good, and cause mortality? If not, what are the true penalties denounced against them for that offence?” To this he answers from Gen. iii. 16–19.
145What the sin of our first parents was may easily be discovered from what was said before concerning the commandment given to them. If universal obedience was required of them unto God, according to the tenor of the law of their creation, their sin was an universal rebellion against and apostasy from him; which though it expressed itself in the peculiar transgression of that command mentioned, yet it is far from being reducible to any one kind of sin, whose whole nature is comprised in that expression. Of the effects of this sin commonly assigned, Mr B. annumerates and rejects six, sundry whereof are coincident with, and all but one reducible to, that general head of loss of the image of God; but for the exclusion of them all at once from being any effects of the first sin, Mr B. thus argues: “If there were no effects or consequences of the first sin but what are expressly mentioned, Gen. iii. 16–19, then those now mentioned are no effects of it; but there are no effects or consequences of that first sin but what are mentioned in that place:” therefore those recounted in his query, and commonly esteemed such, are to be cashiered from any such place in the thoughts of men.
Ans. The words insisted on by Mr B. being expressive of the curse of God for sin on man, and on the whole creation here below for his sake, it will not be easy for him to evince that none of the things he rejects are not eminently inwrapped in them. Would God have denounced and actually inflicted such a curse on the whole creation, which he had put in subjection to man, as well as upon man himself, and actually have inflicted it with so much dread and severity as he hath done, if the transgression upon the account whereof he did it had not been as universal a rebellion against him as could be fallen into? Man fell in his whole dependence from God, and is cursed universally, in all his concernments, spiritual and temporal.
But is this indeed the only place of Scripture where the effects of our apostasy from God, in the sin of our first parents, are described Mr B. may as well tell us that Gen. iii. 15 is the only place where mention is made of Jesus Christ, for there he is mentioned. But a little to clear this whole matter in our passage, though what hath been spoken may suffice to make naked Mr B.’s sophistry:—
1. By the effects of the first sin, we understand every thing of evil that, either within or without, in respect of a present or future condition, in reference to God and the fruition of him whereto man was created, or the enjoyment of any goodness from God, is come upon mankind, by the just ordination and appointment of God, whereunto man was not obnoxious in his primitive state and condition. I am not at present at all engaged to speak de modo, of what is privative, what positive, in original sin, of the way of the traduction or propagation of it, of the imputation of the guilt of the first sin, and adhesion of the pollution of our nature defiled thereby, or any other 146questions that are coincident with these in the usual inquest made into and after the sin of Adam and the fruits of it; but only as to the things themselves, which are here wholly denied. Now, —
2. That whatsoever is evil in man by nature, whatever he is obnoxious and liable unto that is hurtful and destructive to him and all men in common, in reference to the end whereto they were created, or any title wherewith they were at first intrusted, is all wholly the effect of the first sin, and is in solidum to be ascribed thereunto, is easily demonstrated; for, —
(1.) That which is common to all things in any kind, and is proper to them only of that kind, must needs have some common cause equally respecting the whole kind: but now of the evils that are common to all mankind, and peculiar or proper to them and every one of them, there can be no cause but that which equally concerns them all; which, by the testimony of God himself, was this fall of Adam, Rom. v. 12, 15–19.
(2.) The evils that are now incumbent upon men in their natural condition (which what they are shall be afterward considered) were either incumbent on them at their first creation, before the sin and fall of our first parents, or they are come upon them since, through some interposing cause or occasion. That they were not in them or on them, that they were not liable or obnoxious to those evils which are now incumbent on them, in their first creation, as they came forth from the hand of God (besides what was said before of the state and condition wherein man was created, even “upright” in the Sight of God, in his favour and acceptation, no way obnoxious to his anger and wrath), is evident by the light of this one consideration, namely, that there was nothing in man nor belonging to him, no respect, no regard or relation, but what was purely and immediately of the holy God’s creation and institution. Now, it is contrary to all that he hath revealed or made known to us of himself, that he should be the immediate author of so much evil as is now, by his own testimony, in man by nature, and, without any occasion, of so much vanity and misery as he is subject unto; and, besides, directly thwarting the testimony which he gave of all the works of his hands, that they were exceeding good, it being evident that man, in the condition whereof we speak, is exceeding evil.
3. If all the evil mentioned hath since befallen mankind, then it hath done so either by some chance and accident whereof God was not aware, or by his righteous judgment and appointment, in reference to some procuring and justly-deserving cause of such a punishment. To affirm the first, is upon the matter to deny him to be God; and I doubt not but that men at as easy and cheap a rate of sin may deny that there is a God, as, confessing his divine essence, to turn it into an idol, and by making thick clouds, as Job speaks, to interpose between him and 147the affairs of the world, to exclude his energetical providence in the disposal of all the works of his hands. If the latter be affirmed, I ask, as before, what other common cause, wherein all and every one of mankind is equally concerned, can be assigned of the evils mentioned, as the procurement of the wrath and vengeance of God, from whence they are, but only the fall of Adam, the sin of our first parents, especially considering that the Holy Ghost doth so expressly point out this fountain and source of the evils insisted on, Rom. v. 12, 15–19?
4. These things, then, being premised, it will quickly appear that every one of the particulars rejected by Mr B. from being fruits or effects of the first sin are indeed the proper issues of it; and though Mr B. cut the roll of the abominations and corruptions of the nature of man by sin, and cast it into the fire, yet we may easily write it again, and add many more words of the like importance.
The first effect or fruit of the first sin rejected by Mr B. is, “its rendering men guilty of hell-fire;” but the Scripture seems to be of another mind, Rom. v. 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.” That all men sinned in Adam, that they contracted the guilt of the same death with him, that death entered by sin, the Holy Ghost is express in. The death here mentioned is that which God threatened to Adam if he did transgress, Gen. ii. 17; which that it was not death temporal only, yea not at all, Mr B. contends by denying mortality to be a fruit of this sin, as also excluding in this very query all room for death spiritual, which consists in the defacing of the image of God in us, which he with this rejects: and what death remains but that which hath hell following after it we shall afterward consider.
Besides, that death which Christ died to deliver us from was that which we were obnoxious to upon the account of the first sin; for he came to “save that which was lost,” and tasted death to deliver us from death, dying to “deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage,” Heb. ii. 15. But that this was such a death as hath hell-fire attending it, he manifests by affirming that he “delivers us from the wrath to come.” By “hell-fire” we understand nothing but the “wrath of God” for sin; into whose hands it is a fearful thing to fall, our God being a consuming fire. That the guilt of every sin is this death whereof we speak, that hath both curse and wrath attending it, and that it is the proper “wages of sin,” the testimony of God is evident, Rom. vi. 23. What other death men are obnoxious to on the account of the first sin, that hath not these concomitants, Mr B. hath not as yet revealed. “By nature,” also, we are “children of wrath,” Eph. ii. 3. And on what foot of account our obnoxiousness now by nature unto wrath is to be stated, is sufficiently evident by the light of the preceding considerations.
148The “defacing of the image of God in us” by this sin, as it is usually asserted, is in the next place denied. That man was created in the image of God, and wherein that image of God doth consist, were before declared. That we are now born with that character upon us, as it was at first enstamped upon us, must be affirmed, or some common cause of the defect that is in us, wherein all and every one of the posterity of Adam are equally concerned, besides that of the first sin, is to be assigned. That this latter cannot be done hath been already declared. He that shall undertake to make good the former must engage in a more difficult work than Mr B., in the midst of his other employments, is willing to undertake. To insist on all particulars relating to the image of God in man, how far it is defaced, whether any thing properly and directly thereunto belonging be yet left remaining in us; to declare how far our souls, in respect of their immortal substance, faculties, and consciences, and our persons, in respect of that dominion over the creatures which yet, by God’s gracious and merciful providence, we retain, may be said to bear the image of God, — is a work of another nature than what I am now engaged in. For the asserting of what is here denied by Mr B., concerning the defacing of the image of God in us by sin, no more is required but only the tender of some demonstrations to the main of our intendment in the assertion touching the loss by the first sin, and our present want, in the state of nature, of that righteousness and holiness wherein man at his first creation stood before God (in reference unto the end whereunto he was created), in uprightness and ability of walking unto all well-pleasing. And as this will be fully manifested in the consideration of the ensuing particulars instanced in by Mr B., so it is sufficiently clear and evident from the renovation of that image which we have by Jesus Christ; and that is expressed both in general and in all the particulars wherein we affirm that image to be defaced. “The new man,” which we put on in Jesus Christ, which “is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him,” Col. iii. 10, is that which we want, by sin’s defacing (suo more) of that image of God in us which we had in knowledge. So Eph. iv. 23, 24, that new man is said to consist in the “renewing of our mind, whereby after God we are created in righteousness and holiness.” So, then, whereas we were created in the image of God, in righteousness and holiness, and are to be renewed again by Christ into the same condition of his image in righteousness and holiness, we doubt not to affirm that by the first sin (the only interposition of general concernment to all the sons of men) the image of God in us was exceedingly defaced. In sum, that which made us sinners brought sin and death upon us; that which made us liable to condemnation, that defaced the image of God in us; and that all this was done by the first sin the apostle plainly asserts, Rom. v. 12, 15, 17–19, etc.
149To the next particular effect of sin by Mr B. rejected, “the darkening of our understandings,” I shall only inquire of him whether God made us at first with our understandings dark and ignorant as to those things which are of absolute necessity that we should be acquainted withal, for the attainment of the end whereunto he made us? For once I will suppose he will not affirm it; and shall therefore proceed one step farther, and ask him whether there be not such a darkness now upon us by nature, opposed unto that light, that spiritual and saving knowledge, which is of absolute necessity for every one to have and be furnished withal that will again attain that image of God which we are born short of. Now, because this is that which will most probably be denied, I shall, by the way, only desire him, —
1. To cast aside all the places of Scripture where it is positively and punctually asserted that we are so dark and blind, and darkness itself, in the things of God; and then,
2. All those where it is no less punctually and positively asserted that Christ gives us light, knowledge, understanding, which of ourselves we have not. And if he be not able to do so, then,
3. To tell me whether the darkness mentioned in the former places and innumerable others, and [of which mention is made], as to the manner and cause of its removal and taking away, in the latter, be part of that death which passed on all men “by the offence of one,” or by what other chance it is come upon us.
Of the “enslaving of our wills, and the depriving us of power to do good,” there is the same reason as of that next before. It is not my purpose to handle the common-place of the corruption of nature by sin: nor can I say that it is well for Mr B. that he finds none of those effects of sin in himself, nothing of darkness, bondage, or disability, or if he do, that he knows where to charge it, and not on himself and the depravedness of his own nature; and that because I know none who are more desperately sick than those who, by a fever of pride, have lost the sense of their own miserable condition. Only to stop him in his haste from rejecting the evils mentioned from being effects or consequences of the first sin, I desire him to peruse a little the ensuing scriptures; and I take them as they come to mind: Eph. ii. 1–3, 5; John v. 25; Matt. viii. 22; Eph. v. 8; Luke iv. 18; 2 Tim. ii. 25, 26; John viii. 34; Rom. vi. 16; Gen. vi. 5; Rom. vii. 5; John iii. 6; 1 Cor. ii. 14; Rom. iii. 12; Acts viii. 31; John v. 40; Rom. viii. 7; Jer. xiii. 23, etc.
The last thing denied is its “causing mortality.” God threatening man with death if he sinned, Gen. ii. 17, seems to instruct us that if he had not sinned he should not have died; and upon his sin, affirming that on that account he should be dissolved and return to his dust, Gen. iii. 19, no less evidently convinces us that his 150sin caused mortality actually and in the event. The apostle, also, affirming that “death entered by sin, and passed upon all, inasmuch as all have sinned,” seems to be of our mind. Neither can any other sufficient cause be assigned on the account whereof innocent man should have been actually mortal or eventually have died. Mr B., it seems, is of another persuasion, and, for the confirmation of his judgment, gives you the words of the curse of God to man upon his sinning, “Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return;” the strength of his reason therein lying in this, that if God denounced the sentence of mortality on man after sinning, and for his sin, then mortality was not an effect of sin, but man was mortal before in the state of innocency. Who doubts but that at this rate he may be able to prove what he pleases.
A brief declaration of our sense in ascribing immortality to the first man in the state of innocency, that none may be mistaken in the expressions used, may put a close to our consideration of this chapter. In respect of his own essence and being, as also of all outward and extrinsical causes, God alone is eminently and perfectly immortal; he only in that sense hath “life and immortality.”228228 “Illud corpus ante peccatum, et mortale secundum aliam, et immortale secundum aliam causam dici poterat; id est, mortale quia poterat mori, immortale quia poterat non mori. Aliud est enim non posse mori, sicut quasdam naturas immortales creavit Deus, aliud est autem posse non mori; secundum quem modum primus creatus est homo immortalis, quod ei præstabatur de ligno vitæ, non de constitutione naturæ; a quo ligno separatus est cum peccasset, ut posset mori, qui nisi peccasset posset non mori. Mortalis ergo erat conditione corporis animalls, immortalis autem beneficio conditoris. Si enim corpus animale, utique et mortale, quia et mori poterat, quamvis et immortale dico, quia et mori non poterat.” — Aug. tom. iii. de Genesi ad literam, lib. vi. cap. xxiv. Angels and souls of men, immaterial substances, are immortal as to their intrinsic essence, free from principles of corruption and mortality; but yet are obnoxious to it in respect of that outward cause (or the power of God), which can at any time reduce them into nothing. The immortality we ascribe to man in innocency is only an assured preservation by the power of God from actual dying, notwithstanding the possibility thereof which he was in upon the account of the constitution of his person, and the principles thereunto concurring. So that though from his own nature he had a possibility of dying, and in that sense was mortal, yet God’s institution assigning him life in the way of obedience, he had a possibility of not dying, and was in that sense immortal, as hath been declared.229229 “Quincunque dicit Adam primum hominem mortalem factum, ita ut sive peccaret sive non peccaret, moreretur in corpore, hoc est de corpore exiret non peccati merito ned necessitate naturæ, anathema sit.” — Conc. Milevitan, cap. i. If any one desire farther satisfaction herein, let him consult Johannes Junius’ answer to Socinus’ Prelections, in the first chapter whereof he pretends to answer in proof the assertion in title, “Primus homo ante lapsum natura mortalis fuit;” wherein he partly mistakes the thing in question, which respects 151not the constitution of man’s nature, but the event of the condition wherein he was created,230230 “Quæstio est de immortalitate hominis hujus concreti, ex anima et corpore conflati. Quando loquor de morte, de dissolutione hujus concreti loquor.” — Socin, contra Puccium, p. 228. and himself in another place states it better.231231 Vid. Rivet. Exercit. in Gen. cap. i. Exercit. 9.
The sum of the whole may be reduced to what follows:— Simply and absolutely immortal is God only: “He only hath immortality,” 1 Tim. vi. 16. Immortal in respect of its whole substance or essence is that which is separate from all matter, which is the principle of corruption, as angels, or is not educed from the power of it, whither of its own accord it should again resolve, as the souls of men. The bodies also of the saints in heaven, yea, and of the wicked in hell, shall be immortal, though in their own natures corruptible, being changed and preserved by the power of God. Adam was mortal as to the constitution of his body, which was apt to die; immortal in respect of his soul in its own substance; immortal in their union by God’s appointment, and from his preservation upon his continuance in obedience. By the composition of his body before his fall, he had a posse mori; by the appointment of God, a posse non mori; by his fall, a non posse non mori.
In this estate, on his disobedience, he was threatened with death; and therefore was obedience the tenure whereby he held his grant of immortality, which on his neglect he was penally to be deprived of. In that estate he had, — (1.) The immortality mentioned, or a power of not dying, from the appointment of God; (2.) An uprightness and integrity of his person before God, with an ability to walk with him in all the obedience he required, being made in the image of God and upright; (3.) A right, upon his abode in that condition, to an eternally blessed life; which he should (4.) actually have enjoyed, for he had a pledge of it in the” tree of life” He lost it for himself and us; which if he never had it he could not do. The death wherewith he was threatened stood in opposition to all these, it being most ridiculous to suppose that any thing penal in the Scripture comes under the name of “death” that was not here threatened to Adam; — death of the body, in a deprivation of his immortality spoken of; of the soul spiritually, in sin, by the loss of his righteousness and integrity; of both, in their obnoxiousness to death eternal; actually to be undergone, without deliverance by Christ, in opposition to the right to a better, a blessed condition, which he had. That all these are penal, and called in the Scriptures by the name of “death,” is evident to all that take care to know what is contained in them.
For a close, then, of this chapter and discourse, let us also propose a few questions as to the matter under consideration, and see what answer the Scripture will positively give in to our inquiries:—
152First, then, —
Ques. 1. In what state and condition was man at first created?
Ans. “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them,” Gen. i. 27. “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good,” verse 31. “In the image of God made he man,” chap. ix. 6. “Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright,” Eccles. vii. 29. “Put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness,” Eph. iv. 24. “Put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him,” Col. iii. 10.
Q. 2. Should our first parents have died had they not sinned, or were they obnoxious to death in the state of innocency?
A. “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,” Gen. ii. 16, 17. “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned,” Rom. v. 12. “For the wages of sin is death,” Rom. vi. 23.
Q. 3. Are we now, since the fall, born with the image of God so enstamped on us as at our first creation in Adam?
A. “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” Rom. iii. 23. “Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man uptight; but they have sought out many inventions,” Eccles. vii. 29. “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God,” Rom. viii. 8. “And you who were dead in trespasses and sins,” Eph. ii. 1. “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another,” Tit. iii. 3. “The old man is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,” Eph. iv. 22.
Q. 4. Are we now born approved of God and accepted with him, as when we were first created, or what is our condition now by nature? what say the Scriptures hereunto?
A. “We were by nature the children of wrath, even as others,” Eph. ii. 3. “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God,” John iii. 3. “He that believeth not the Son, the wrath of God abideth on him,” verse 36. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh,” John iii. 6.
Q. 5. Are our understandings by nature able to discern the things of God, or are they darkened and blind?
A. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned,” 1 Cor. ii. 14. “The light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not,” John i. 5. 153“To preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind,” Luke iv. 18. “Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart,” Eph. iv. 18. “Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord,” chap. v. 8. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,” 2 Cor. iv. 6. “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true,” 1 John v. 20.
Q. 6. Are we able to do those things now, in the state of nature, which are spiritually good and acceptable to God?
A. “The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be,” Rom. viii. 7. “You were dead in trespasses and sins,” Eph. ii. 1. “The imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth,” Gen. viii. 21. “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil,” Jer. xiii. 23. “For without me ye can do nothing,” John xv. 5. “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God,” 2 Cor. iii. 5. “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing,” Rom. vii. 18.
Q. 7. How came we into this miserable state and condition?
A. “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me,” Ps. li. 5. “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one,” Job xiv. 4. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh,” John iii. 6. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned,” Rom. v. 12.
Q. 8. Is, then, the guilt of the first sin of our first parents reckoned unto us?
A. “But not as the offence, so also is the free gift, For through the offence of one many be dead,” Rom. v. 15. “And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation,” verse 16. “For by one man’s offence death reigned,” verse 17. “Therefore by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation,” verse 18. “By one man’s disobedience many were made sinners,” verse 19.
Thus, and much more fully, doth the Scripture set out and declare the condition of man both before and after the fall; concerning which, although the most evident demonstration of the latter lies in the revelation made of the exceeding efficacy of that power and grace which God in Christ puts forth for our conversion and delivery from that state and condition before described, yet so much is spoken of this dark side of it as will render vain the attempts of any who shall 154endeavour to plead the cause of corrupted nature, or alleviate the guilt of the first sin.
It may not be amiss, in the winding up of the whole, to give the reader a brief account of what slight thoughts this gentleman and his companions have concerning this whole matter of the state and condition of the first man, his fall or sin, and the interest of all his posterity therein, which confessedly lie at the bottom of that whole dispensation of grace in Jesus Christ which is revealed in the gospel.
First. [As] for Adam himself, they are so remote from assigning to him any eminency of knowledge, righteousness, or holiness, in the state, wherein he was created, that, —
1. For his knowledge, they say, “He was a mere great baby, that knew not that he was naked;”232232 “Adamus instar infantis vel pueri se nudum esse ignoravit.” — Smalc. de Ver. Dei Fil. cap. vii. p. 2. so also taking away the difference between the simple knowledge of nakedness in innocency, and the knowledge joined with shame that followed sin. “Of his wife he knew no more but what occurred to his senses;”233233 “De conjuge propria, non nisi sensibus obvia cognovit.” — Socin. de Stat. Prim. Hom. cap. iv. p. 119. though the expressions which he used at first view and sight of her do plainly argue another manner of apprehension, Gen. ii. 23. For “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he knew not the virtue of it;”234234 “Vim arboris scientiæ boni et mali perspectam non habuerit.” — Idem ibid, p. 197. which yet I know not how it well agrees with another place of the same author, where he concludes that in the state of innocency there was in Adam a real predominancy of the natural appetite, which conquered or prevailed to the eating of the fruit of that tree.235235 Socin. Prælect. cap. iii. p. 8. Also, that being mortal, he knew not himself to be so.236236 “Cum ipse mortalis esset, se tamen mortalem esse nesciverit.” — Socin. de Stat. Prim. Hom. cap. iv. p. 118. The sum is, he was even a very beast, that knew neither himself, his duty, nor the will of God concerning him.
2. [As] for his righteousness and holiness, which, as was said before, because he was made upright, in the image of God, we ascribe unto him, Socinus contends in one whole chapter in his Prelections, “that he was neither just nor holy, nor ought to be so esteemed nor called.”237237 “Utrum primus homo ante peccatum justitiam aliquam originalem habuerit? Plerique omnes eum illam habuisse affirmant. Sed ego scire velim … concludamus igitur, Arlamum, etiam antequam mandatum illud Dei transgrederetur, revera justum non fuisse. Cum nec impeccabilis esset, nec ullum peccandi occasionem habuisset; vel certe justum eum fuisse affirmari non posse, cum nullo modo constet, eum ullaratione a peccando abstinuisse.” — Socin. Prælect. cap. iii. p. 8; vid. cap. iv. p. 11.
And Smalcius, in his confutation of Franzius’ “Theses de Peccato Originali,” all along derides and laughs to scorn the apprehension or persuasion that Adam was created in righteousness and holiness, or that ever he lost any thing of the image of God, or that ever he had 155any thing of the image of God beyond or besides that dominion over the creatures which God gave him.238238 “Fit mentio destitutionis vel carentiæ divinæ gloriæ, ergo privationis imaginis Dei et justitiæ et sanctitatis, ejusque originalis; fit mentio carentiæ divinæ gloriæ, ergo in creatione cum homine fuit communicata: o ineptias!” — Smalc. Refut. Thes. de Peccat. Orig. disput. 2, p. 42. “Porto sit Franzius, Paulum mox e vestigio imaginem Dei, seu novum hominem its explicare, quod fuerit conditus primus homo ad justitiam es sanctimoniam veram. Hic cum erroribus fallaciæ, etiam et fortassis voluntariæ, sunt commixtæ Videat lector benevolus quanti sit facienda illatio Franzii, dum sit, ergo imago Dei in homine ante lapsum consistebat in concreata justitia et vera sanctimonia primorum parentum. Si hæc non sunt scopæ dissolutæ, equidem nescio quid eas tandem nominabimur.” — Smalc. ubi sup. pp. 50, 51.
Most of the residue of the herd, describing the estate and condition of man in his creation, do wholly omit any mention of any moral uprightness in him.239239 Volkel. de Vera Relig. lib. ii. cap. vi. p. 9, edit. cum lib. Crell. de Deo.
And this is the account these gentlemen give us concerning the condition and state wherein the first man was of God created: A heavy burden of the earth it seems he was, that had neither righteousness nor holiness whereby he might be enabled to walk before God in reference to that great end whereunto he was created, nor any knowledge of God, himself, or his duty.
Secondly. [As] for his sin, the great master of their family disputes that it was a bare transgression of that precept of “not eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil,” and that his nature was not vitiated or corrupted thereby:240240 Socin. Prælect. cap. iii. p. 8. wherein he is punctually followed by the Racovian Catechism, which also giveth this reason why his nature was not depraved by it, namely, because it was but one act; — so light are their thoughts and expressions of that great transgression!241241 “Etenim unum illud peccatum per se, non modo universes posteros, sed ne ipsum quidem Adamum, corrumpendi vim habere potuit. Dei vero consilio, in peccati illius pænam id factum fuisse, nec usquam legitur, et plane incredibile est, imo impium id cogitare.” — Socin. Prælect. cap. iv. sec. 4, p. 13. “Lapsus Adami, cum unus actus fuerit, vim eam, quæ depravare ipsam naturam Adami, multo minus posterorum ipsius posset, habere non potuit. Ipsi veto in pænam irrogatum fuisse, nec Scriptura docet, ut superius exposuimus, et Deum ilium, qui omnis sequitatis fons est, incredibile prorsus est id facere voluisse.” — Cat. Rac. de Cognit. Christ. cap. x. ques. 2.
Thirdly. [As] for his state and condition, they all, with open mouth, cry out that he was mortal and obnoxious to death, which should in a natural way have come upon him though he had not sinned.242242 “De Adamo, eum immortalem creatum non fuisse, res apertissima est. Nam ex terra creatus, cibis usus, liberis gignendis destinatus, et animalis ante lapsum fuit.” — Smalc. de Divin. Jes. Christ. cap. vii. de promisso vitæ æternæ. But of this before.
Fourthly. Farther; that the posterity of Adam were no way concerned, as to their spiritual prejudice, in that sin of his, as though they should either partake of the guilt of it or have their nature vitiated or corrupted thereby; but that the whole doctrine of original sin is a figment of Austin and the schoolmen that followed him, is the constant 156clamour of them all.243243 “Concludimus igitur, nullum, improprie etiam loquendo, peccatum originale esse; id est, ex peccato illo primi parentis nullam labem aut pravitatem universo humano generi necessario ingenitam esse, sive inflictam quodammodo fuisse.” — Socin. Prælect. cap. iv. sect. 4, pp. 13, 14. “Peccatum originis nullum prorsus est, quare nec liberum arbitrium vitiare potuit. Nec enim e Scriptura id peccatum originis doceri potest.” — Cat. Rac. de Cognit. Christ. cap. x. de Lib. Arbit. — “Quædam ex falsissimis principiis deducuntur. In illo genere illud potissimum est, quod ex peccato (ut vocant) originali depromitur: de quo ita disputant, ut crimen a primo parente conceptum, in sobolem derivatum esse defendant, ejusque contagione, tum omnes humanas vires corruptas et depravatas, tum potissimum voluntatis libertatem destructam esse asserant, … quæ omnia nos pernegamus, utpote et sanæ mentis rationi, et divinæ Scripturæ contraria.” — Volkel. de Vera Relig. lib. v. cap. xviii. pp. 547, 548. “Prior pars thesis Franzii falsa est. Nam nullum individuum unquam peccato originis fuit infectum. Quia peccatum illud mera est fabula, quam tanquam fœtum alienum fovent Lutherani, et alii.” — Smalc. Refut. Thes. Franz. disput. 2, p. 46, 47. Vid. Compend. Socin. cap. iii.; Smalc. de Vera Divin. Jes. Christ. cap. vii. — “Putas Adami peccatum et inobedientiam ejus posteritati imputari. At hoc æque tibi negamus, quam Christi obedientiam credentibus imputari.” — Jonas Schlichtingius, disput, pro Socino adversus Meisnerum, p. 251; vide etiam p. 100. “Quibus ita explicatis, facile eos qui … omnem Adami posteritatem, in ipso Adamo parente suo peccasse, et mortis supplicium vere fuisse commeritum.” — Idem, Comment. in Epist. ad Hebræos ad cap. vii. p. 296. And indeed this is the great foundation of all or the greatest part of their religion. Hence are the necessity of the satisfaction and merit of Christ, the efficacy of grace, and the power of the Spirit in conversion, decried. On this account is salvation granted, by them, without Christ, a power of keeping all the commandments asserted, and justification upon our obedience. Of which in the process of our discourse.
Such are the thoughts, such are the expressions, of Mr B.’s masters concerning this whole matter. Such was Adam in their esteem, such was his fall, and such our concernment therein.244244 “Ista sapientia rerum divinarum, et sanctimonia, quam Adamo ante lapsum tribuit Franzius, una cum aliis, idea quædam est, in cerebro ipsorum nata.” — Smalc. ubi sup. He had no righteousness, no holiness (yea, Socinus at length confesses that he did not believe his soul was immortal245245 Socin. Ep. 5, ad Johan. Volkel., p. 489.); we contracted no guilt in him, derive no pollution from him. Whether these men are in any measure acquainted with the plague of their own hearts, the severity and spirituality of the law of God, with that redemption which is in the blood of Jesus, the Lord will one day manifest; but into their secret let not my soul descend.
Lest the weakest or meanest reader should be startled with the mention of these things, not finding himself ready furnished with arguments from Scripture to disprove the boldness and folly of these men in their assertions, I shall add some few arguments whereby the severals by them denied and opposed are confirmed from the Scriptures, the places before mentioned being in them cast into that form and method wherein they are readily subservient to the purpose in hand:—
First. That man was created in the image of God, in knowledge, 157righteousness, and holiness, is evident on the ensuing considerations:—
1. He who was made “very good” and “upright,” in a moral consideration, had the original righteousness pleaded for; for moral goodness, integrity, and uprightness, is equivalent unto righteousness. So are the words used in the description of Job, chap. i. 1; and “righteous” and “upright” are terms equivalent, Ps. xxxiii. 1. Now, that man was made thus good and upright was manifested in the scriptures cited in answer to the question before proposed, concerning the condition wherein our first parents were created. And, indeed, this uprightness of man, this moral rectitude, was his formal aptitude and fitness for and unto that obedience which God required of him, and which was necessary for the end whereunto he was created.
2. He who was created perfect in his kind was created with the original righteousness pleaded for. This is evident from hence, because righteousness and holiness is a perfection of a rational being made for the service of God. This in angels is called “the truth,” or that original holiness and rectitude which “the devil abode not in,” John viii. 44. Now, as before, man was created “very good” and “upright,” therefore perfect as to his state and condition; and whatever is in him of imperfection flows from the corruption and depravation of nature.
3. He that was created in the image of God was created in a state of righteousness, holiness, and knowledge. That Adam was created in the image of God is plainly affirmed in Scripture, and is not denied. That by the “image of God” is especially intended the qualities mentioned, is manifest from that farther description of the image of God which we have given us in the scriptures before produced in answer to our first question. And what is recorded of the first man in his primitive condition will not suffer us to esteem him such a baby in knowledge as the Socinians would make him. His imposing of names on all creatures, his knowing of his wife on first view, etc., exempt him from that imputation. Yea, the very heathens could conclude that he was very wise indeed who first gave names to things.246246 Οἶμαι μὲν ἐγὼ τὸν ἀληθέστατον λόγον περὶ τούτων εἶναι ὦ Σώκρατες μείζω τινὰ δύναμιν εἶναι, ὦ ἀνθρωπείαν τὴν θεμένην τὰ θεμένην τὰ πρῶτα ὀνόματα τοῖς πράγμασιν. — Plato in Cratylo.
Secondly. For the disproving of that mortality which they ascribe to man in innocency the ensuing arguments may suffice:—
1. He that was created in the image of God, in righteousness and holiness, whilst he continued in that state and condition, was immortal. That man was so created lies under the demonstration of the foregoing arguments and testimonies. The assertion thereupon, or the inference of immortality from the image of God, appears on this double consideration:— (1.) In our renovation by Christ into 158the image of God, we are renewed to a blessed immortality; and our likeness to God consisted no less in that than in any other communicable property of his nature. (2.) Wherever is naturally perfect righteousness, there is naturally perfect life; that is, immortality. This is included in the very tenor of the promise of the law: “If man keep my statutes, he shall live in them,” Lev. xviii. 5.
2. That which the first man contracted and drew upon himself by sin was not natural to him before he sinned: but that man contracted and drew death upon himself, or made himself liable and obnoxious unto it by sin, is proved by all the texts of Scripture that were produced above in answer to our second question; as Gen. ii. 17, iii. 19; Rom. v. 12, 15, 17–19, vi. 23, etc.
3. That which is beside and contrary to nature was not natural to the first man; but death is beside and contrary to nature, as the voice of nature abundantly testifieth: therefore, to man in his primitive condition it was not natural.
Unto these may sundry other arguments be added, from the promise of the law, the end of man’s obedience, his constitution and state, denying all proximate causes of death, etc; but these may suffice.
Thirdly. That the sin of Adam is not to be confined to the mere eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but had its rise in infidelity, and comprised universal apostasy from God, in disobedience to the law of his creation and dependence on God, I have elsewhere demonstrated, and shall not need here again to insist upon it.247247 Diatrib. de Justit. Divin. Vin., vol. x. That it began in infidelity is evident from the beginning of the temptation wherewith he was overcome. It was to doubt of the truth or veracity of God to which the woman was at first solicited by Satan: Gen. iii. 1,” Hath God said so?” pressing that it should be otherwise than they seemed to have cause to apprehend from what God said; and their acquiescence in that reply of Satan, without revolving to the truth and faithfulness of God, was plain unbelief. Now, as faith is the root of all righteousness and obedience, so is infidelity of all disobedience. Being overtaken, conquered, deceived into infidelity, man gave up himself to act contrary to God and his will, shook off his sovereignty, rose up against his law, and manifested the frame of his heart in the pledge of his disobedience, eating the fruit that was sacramentally forbidden him.
Fourthly. That all men sinned in Adam, and that his sin is imputed to all his posterity, is by them denied, but is easily evinced; for, —
1. By whom sin entered into the world, so that all sinned in him, and are made sinners thereby, so that also his sin is called the “sin of the world,” in him all mankind sinned, and his sin is imputed to 159them: but that this was the condition and state of the first sin of Adam the scriptures before mentioned, in answer to our seventh question, do abundantly manifest; and thence also is his sin called “the sin of the world,” John i. 29.
2. In whom all are dead, and in whom they have contracted the guilt of death and condemnation, in him they have all sinned, and have his sin imputed to them: but in Adam all are dead, 1 Cor. xv. 22, as also Rom. v. 12, 15, 17–19; and death is the wages of sin only, chap. vi. 23.
3. As by the obedience of Christ we are made righteous, so by the disobedience of Adam we are made sinners: so the apostle expressly, Romans 5: but we are made righteous by the obedience of Christ, by the imputation of it to us, as if we had performed it, 1 Cor. i. 30, Phil. iii. 9; therefore we are sinners by the imputation of the sin of Adam to us, as though we had committed it, which the apostle also affirms. To what hath been spoken from the consideration of that state and condition wherein, by God’s appointment, in reference to all mankind, Adam was placed, namely, of a natural and political or federal head (of which the apostle treats, 1 Cor. xv.), and from the loss of that image wherein he was created, whereunto by Christ we are renewed, many more words like these might be added.
To what hath been spoken there is no need that much should be added, for the removal of any thing insisted on to the same purpose with Mr B.’s intimations in the Racovian Catechism; but yet seeing that that task also is undertaken, that which may seem necessary for the discharging of what may thence be expected shall briefly be submitted to the reader. To this head they speak in the first chapter, of the way to salvation, the first question whereof is of the import ensuing:—
Q. Seeing thou saidst in the beginning that this life which leadeth to immortality is divinely revealed, I would know of thee why thou saidst so?
A. Because as man by nature hath nothing to do with immortality (or hath no interest in it), so by himself he could by no means know the way which leadeth to immortality.248248 “Cum dixeris initio, hanc viam quæ ad immortalitatem ducat esse divinitus patefactam, scire velim cur id abs to dictum sit? — Propterea, quia ut homo natura nihil habet commune cum immortalitate, ita eam ipse viam, quæ nos ad immortalitatem duceret, nulla ratione per se cognoscere potuit.” — Cat. Rac. de via salut, cap. i.
Both question and answer being sophistical and ambiguous, the sense and intendment of them, as to their application to the matter in hand, and by them aimed at, is first to be rectified by some few distinctions, and then the whole will cost us very little farther trouble:—
1. There is, or hath been, a twofold way to a blessed immortality:— (1.) The way of perfect obedience to the law; for he that did it 160was to live therein. (2.) The way of faith in the blood of the Son of God; for he that believeth shall be saved.
2. Man by nature may be considered two ways:— (1.) As he was in his created condition, not tainted, corrupted, weakened, nor lost by sin; (2.) As fallen, dead, polluted, and guilty.
3. Immortality is taken either, (1.) Nakedly and purely in itself for an eternal abiding of that which is said to be immortal; or, (2.) For a blessed condition and state in that abiding and continuance.
4. That expression, “By nature,” referring to man in his created condition, not fallen by sin, may be taken two ways, either, — (1.) Strictly, for the consequences of the natural principles whereof man was constituted; or, (2.) More largely, it comprises God’s constitution and appointment concerning man in that estate.
On these considerations it will be easy to take off this head of our catechists’ discourse, whereby also the remaining trunk will fall to the ground.
I say, then, man by nature, in his primitive condition, was, by the appointment and constitution of God, immortal as to the continuance of his life, and knew the way of perfect legal obedience, tending to a blessed immortality, and that by himself, or by virtue of the law of his creation, which was concreated with him; but fallen man, in his natural condition, being dead spiritually, obnoxious to death temporal and eternal, doth by no means know himself, nor can know, the way of faith in Jesus Christ, leading to a blessed immortality and glory, Rom. ii. 7–10.
It is not, then, our want of interest in immortality upon the account whereof we know not of ourselves the way to immortality by the blood of Christ. But there are two other reasons that enforce the truth of it:—
1. Because it is a way of mere grace and mercy, hidden from all eternity in the treasures of God’s infinite wisdom and sovereign will, which he neither prepared for man in his created condition nor had man any need of; nor is it in the least discovered by any of the works of God, nor by the law written in the heart, but is solely revealed from the bosom of the Father by the only-begotten Son, neither angels nor men being able to discover the least glimpse of that majesty without that revelation, John i. 18; 1 Cor. ii. 7; Eph. iii. 8–11; Col. ii. 2, 3; 1 Tim. iii. 16.
2. Because man in his fallen condition, though there be retained in his heart some weak and faint impressions of good and evil, reward and punishment, Rom. ii. 14, 15, yet is spiritually dead, blind, alienated from God, ignorant, dark, stubborn; so far from being able of himself to find out the way of grace unto a blessed immortality, that he is not able, upon the revelation of it, savingly, and to the great end of its proposal, to receive, apprehend, believe, and walk in 161it, without a new spiritual creation, resurrection from the dead, or new birth, wrought by the exceeding greatness of the power of God.249249 Eph. ii. 1; John i. 5; Rom. iii. 17, 18, viii. 7, 8; 1 Cor. ii. 14; Tit. iii. 3; Eph. ii. 5, iv. 18; Col. i. 13, ii. 18, etc. And on these two doth depend our disability to discover and know the way of grace leading to life and glory. And by this brief removal of the covering is the weakness and nakedness of their whole ensuing discourse so discovered as that I shall speedily take it with its offence out of the way. They proceed:—
Q. But why hath man nothing to do with (or no interest in) immortality?
A. Therefore, because from the beginning he was formed of the ground, and so was created mortal; and then because he transgressed the command given him of God, and so by the decree of God, expressed in his command, was necessarily subject to eternal death.250250 “Cur vero nihil commune habet homo cum immortalitate? — Idcirco, quod ab initio de humo formatus, proptereaque mortalis creatus fuerit; deinde vero, quod mandatum Dei, ipsi propositum, transgressus sit; ideoque decreto Dei ipsius in mandato expresso, æternæ morti necessario subjectus fuerit.”
1. It is true, man was created of the dust of the earth as to his bodily substance; yet it is as true that moreover God breathed into him the breath of life, whereby he became “a living soul,” and in that immediate constitution and framing from the hand of God was free from all nextly disposing causes unto dissolution. But his immortality we place on another account, as hath been declared, which is no way prejudiced by his being made of the ground.
2. The second reason belongs unto man only as having sinned, and being fallen out of that condition and covenant wherein he was created. So that I shall need only to let the reader know that the eternal death, in the judgment of our catechists, whereunto man was subjected by sin, was only an eternal dissolution or annihilation (or rather an abode under dissolution, dissolution itself being not penal), and not any abiding punishment, as will afterward be farther manifest, They go on:—
Q. But how doth this agree with those places of Scripture wherein it is written that man was created in the image of God, and created unto immortality, and that death entered into the world by sin, Gen. i. 26; Wisd. ii. 23; Rom. v. 12?
A. As to the testimony which declareth that man was created in the image of God, it is to be known that the image of God doth not signify immortality (which is evident from hence, because at that time when man was subject to eternal death the Scripture acknowledgeth in him that image, Gen. ix. 6, James iii. 9), but it denoteth the power and dominion over all things made of God on the earth, as the same place where this image is treated of clearly showeth, Gen. i. 26.251251 “Qui vero id conveniet iis Scripturæ locis in quibus scriptum extat, hominem ad imaginem Dei creatum esse, et creatum ad immortalitatem, et quod mors per peccatum in mundum introierit, Gen. i. 26, 27; Sap. ii. 23; Rom. v. 12? — Quod ad testimonium attinet, quod hominem creatum ad imaginem Dei pronunciat, sciendum est, imaginem Dei non significare immortalitatem (quod hinc patet, quod Scriptura, eo tempore quo homo æternæ morti subjectus erat, agnoscat in homine istam imaginem, Gen. ix. 6, Jacob. iii. 9), sed potestatem hominis, et dominium in omnes res a Deo conditas, supra terrain, designare; ut idem locus in quo de hac eadem imagine agitur, Gen. i. 26, aperte indicate.”
162The argument for that state and condition wherein we affirm man to have been created from the consideration of the image of God wherein he was made, and whereunto in part we are renewed, was formerly insisted on. Let the reader look back unto it, and he will quickly discern how little is here offered to enervate it in the least; for, —
1. They cannot prove that man, in the condition and state of sin, doth retain any thing of the image of God. The places mentioned, as Gen. ix. 6, and James iii. 9, testify only that he was made in the image of God at first, but that he doth still retain the image they intimate not; nor is the inference used in the places taken from what man is, but what he was created.
2. That the image of God did not consist in any one excellency hath been above declared; so that the argument to prove that it did not consist in immortality, because it did consist in the dominion over the creatures, is no better than that would be which should conclude that the sun did not give light because it gives heat, So that, —
3. Though the image of God, as to the main of it, in reference to the end of everlasting communion with God whereunto we were created, was utterly lost by sin (or else we could not be renewed unto it again by Jesus Christ), yet as to some footsteps of it, in reference to our fellow-creatures, so much might be and was retained as to be a reason one towards another for our preservation from wrong and violence.
4. That place of Gen. i. 26, “Let us make man in our image, and let him have dominion over the fish of the sea,” etc., is so far from proving that the image of God wherein man was created did consist only in the dominion mentioned, that it doth not prove that dominion to have been any part of or to belong unto that image. It is rather a grant made to them who were made in the image of God than a description of that image wherein they were made.
It is evident, then, notwithstanding any thing here excepted to the contrary, that the immortality pleaded for belonged to the image of God, and from man’s being created therein is rightly inferred; as above was made more evident.
Upon the testimony of the Book of Wisdom, it being confessedly apocryphal, I shall not insist. Neither do I think that in the original any new argument to that before mentioned of the image of God is added; but that is evidently pressed, and the nature of the image of God somewhat explained. The words are, Ὅτι ὁ Θεὸς ἔκτισε τὸν ἄνθρωτον ἐπ ἀφθαρσίᾳ καὶ εἰκόνα τῆς ἰδίας ἰδιότητος ἐποίησεν αὐτόν Φθόνῳ δὲ διαβόλου θάνατος εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸν κόσμον περιάζουσι δὲ αὐτὸν οἱ τῆς ἐκείνου μερίδος ὄντες. The opposition that is put between the creation of man in integrity and the image of God in one verse, and the entrance 163of sin by the envy of the devil in the next, plainly evinces that the mind of the author of that book was, that man, by reason of his being created in the image of God, was immortal in his primitive condition. That which follows is of another nature, concerning which they thus inquire and answer:—
Q. What, moreover, wilt thou answer to the third testimony?
A. The apostle in that place treateth not of immortality [mortality], but of death itself. But mortality differeth much from death, for a man may be mortal and yet never die.252252 “Quid porro ad tertium respondebis? — Apostolus eo in loco non agit de immortalitate [mortalitate], verum de morte ipsa Mortalitas vero a morte multum dissidet; siquidem potest esse quis mortalis, nec tamen unquam mori.”
But, — 1. The apostle eminently treats of man’s becoming obnoxious to death, which until he was, he was immortal; for he says that death entered the world by sin, and passed on all men, not actually, but in the guilt of it and obnoxiousness to it. By what means death entered into the world, or had a right so to do, by that means man lost the immortality which before he had.
2. It is true, a man may be mortal as to state and condition, and yet by almighty power be preserved and delivered from actual dying, as it was with Enoch and Elijah; but in an ordinary course he that is mortal must die, and is directly obnoxious to death. But that which we plead for from those words of the apostle is, that man, by God’s constitution and appointment, was so immortal as not to be liable or obnoxious to death until he sinned. But they will prove their assertion in their progress.
Q. What, therefore, is the sense of these words, “that death entered into the world by sin?”
A. This, that Adam for sin, by the decree and sentence of God, was subject to eternal death; and therefore all men, because (or inasmuch as) they are bern of him, are subject to the same eternal death. And that this is so, the comparison of Christ with Adam, which the apostle instituteth from verse 12 to the end of the chapter, doth declare.253253 “Quæ igitur est horum verborum sententia, quod mors per peccatum introierit in mundum? — Hæc, quod Adamus ob peccatum, decreto et sententia Dei, æternæ morti subjectus est; proinde, omnes homines, eo quod ex eo nati sunt, eidem æternæ morti subjaceant. Rem ita esse, collatio Christi cum Adamo, quam apostolus eodem capite, a ver. 12 ad finem, instituit, indicio est.”
1. Be it so that this is the meaning of those words; yet hence it inevitably follows that man was no way liable or obnoxious to death but upon the account of the commination of God annexed to the law he gave him. And this is the whole of what we affirm, — namely, that by God’s appointment man was immortal, and the tenure of his immortality was his obedience, and thereupon his right thereunto he lost by his transgression.
2. This is farther evident from the comparison between Christ and Adam, instituted by the apostle; for as we are all dead without 164Christ and his righteousness, and have not the least right to life or a blessed immortality, so antecedently to the consideration of Adam and his disobedience, we were not in the least obnoxious unto death, or any way liable to it in our primitive condition.
And this is all that our catechists have to plead for themselves, or to except against our arguments and testimonies to the cause in hand; which how weak it is in itself, and how short it comes of reaching to the strength we insist on, a little comparison of it with what went before will satisfy the pious reader.
What remains of that chapter, consisting in the depravation of two or three texts of Scripture to another purpose than that in hand, I shall not divert to the consideration of, seeing it will more orderly fall under debate in another place.
What our catechists add elsewhere about original sin, or their attempt to disprove it, being considered, shall give a close to this discourse.
Their 10th chapter is, “De liboro arbitrio;” where, after, in answer to the first question proposed, they have asserted that it is in our power to yield obedience unto God, as having free will in our creation so to do, and having by no way or means lost that liberty or power, their second question is, —
Q. Is not this free will corrupted by original sin?
A. There is no such thing as original sin, wherefore that cannot vitiate free will, nor can that original sin be proved out of the Scripture; and the fall of Adam, being but one act, could not have that force as to corrupt his own nature, much less that of his posterity. And that it was inflicted on him as a punishment neither doth the Scripture teach, and it is incredible that God, who is the fountain of all goodness, would so do.254254 “Nonne peccato originis hoc liberum arbitrium vitiatum est? — Peccatum originis nullum prorsus est: quare nec liberum arbitrium vitiare potuit, nec enim e Scriptura id peccatum originis doceri potest; et lapsus Adæ cum unus actus fuerit, vim eam quæ depravare ipsam naturam Adami, multo minus vero posterorum ipsius posset, habere non potuit. Ipsi vero in pœnam irrogatum fuisse, nec Scriptura docet, uti superius exposuimus; et Deum ilium, qui omnis æquitatis fons est, incredibile prorsus est, id facere voluisse.” — Cap x. de lib. arbit, q. 2.
1. This is yet plain dealing; and it is well that men who know neither God nor themselves have yet so much honesty left as to speak downright what they intend. Quickly despatched! — “There is no such thing as original sin.” To us, the denying of it is one argument to prove it. Were not men blind and dead in sin, they could not but be sensible of it; but men swimming with the water feel not the strength of the stream.
2. But doth the Scripture teach no such thing? Doth it nowhere teach that we, who were “created upright, in the image of God, are now dead in trespasses and sins, by nature children of wrath, having the wrath of God upon us, being blind in our understandings, and alienated from the life of God, not able to receive the things that 165are of God, which are spiritually discerned, our carnal minds being enmity to God, not subject to his law, nor can be; that our hearts are stony, our affections sensual; that we are wholly come short of the glory of God; that every figment of our heart is evil, so that we can neither think, nor speak, nor do that which is spiritually good or acceptable to God; that being born of the flesh, we are flesh, and unless we are born again, can by no means enter into the kingdom of heaven; that all this is come upon us by the sin of one man, whence also judgment passed on all men to condemnation?” Can nothing of all this be proved from the Scripture? These gentlemen know that we contend not about words or expressions. Let them grant this hereditary corruption of our nature, alienation from God, impotency to good, deadness and obstinacy in sin, want of the Spirit, image, and grace of God, with obnoxiousness thereon to eternal condemnation, and give us a fitter expression to declare this state and condition by in respect of every one’s personal interest therein, and we will, so it may please them, call it “original sin” no more.
3. It is not impossible that one act should be so high and intense in its kind as to induce a habit into the subject, and so Adam’s nature be vitiated by it; and he begot a son in his own likeness. The devils upon one sin became obstinate in all the wickedness that their nature is capable of. (2.) This one act was a breach of covenant with God, upon the tenor and observation whereof depended the enjoyment of all that strength and rectitude with God wherewith, by the law of his creation, man was endued. (3.) All man’s covenant good, for that eternal end to which he was created, depended upon his conformity to God, his subjection to him, and dependence on him; all which, by that one sin, he wilfully cast away for himself and posterity (whose common, natural, and federal head he was), and righteously fell into that condition which we have described. (4.) The apostle is much of a different mind from our catechists, Rom. v. 15, 16, etc., as hath been declared.
4. What is credible concerning God and his goodness with these gentlemen I know not. To me, that is not only in itself credible which he hath revealed concerning himself, but of necessity to be believed. That he gave man a law, threatening him, and all his posterity in him and with him, with eternal death upon the breach of it; that upon that sin he cast all mankind judicially out of covenant, imputing that sin unto them all unto the guilt of condemnation, seeing it is “his judgment that they who commit sin are worthy of death;” and that “he is of purer eyes than to behold evil,” — is to us credible, yea, as was said, of necessity to be believed. But they will answer the proofs that are produced from Scripture in the asserting of this original sin.
166Q. But that there is original sin these testimonies seem to prove: Gen. vi. 5, “Every cogitation of the heart of man is only evil every day;” and Gen. viii. 21, “The cogitation of man’s heart is evil from his youth?”
A. These testimonies deal concerning voluntary sin; from them, therefore, original sin cannot be proved. As for the first, Moses showeth it to be such a sin for whose sake God repented him that he had made man, and decreed to destroy him with a flood; which certainly can by no means be affirmed concerning a sin which should be in man by nature, such as they think original sin to be. In the other, he showeth that the sin of man shall not have that efficacy that God should punish the world for it with a flood; which by no means agreeth to original sin.255255 “Veruntamen esse peccatum originis illa testimonia docere videntur, Gen. vi. 5, etc., viii. 21. — Hæc testimonia agunt de peccato voluntario; ex iis itaque effici nequit peccatum originis. Quod autem ad primum attinet, Moses id peccatum ejusmodi fuisse docet cujus causa pœnituisse Deum quod hominem creasset, et eum diluvio punire decrevisset; quod certe de peccato quod homini natura inesset, quale peccatum originis censeat, affirmari nullo pacto potest. In altero vero testimonio docet, peccatum homi-nis eam vim habiturum non esse, ut Deus mundum diluvio propter illud puniret; quod etiam peccato originis nullo modo convenit.”
That this attempt of our catechists is most vain and frivolous will quickly appear; for, — 1. Suppose original sin be not asserted in those places, doth it follow there is no original sin? Do they not know that we affirm it to be revealed in the way of salvation, and proved by a hundred places besides? And do they think to overthrow it by their exception against two or three of them, when if it be taught in any one of them it suffices? 2. The words, as by them rendered, lose much of the efficacy for the confirmation of what they oppose which in the original they have. In the first place, it is not, “Every thought of man’s heart,” but, “Every imagination or figment of the thoughts of his heart.” The “motus primo primi,” the very natural frame and temper of the heart of man, as to its first motions towards good or evil, are doubtless expressed in these words. So also is it in the latter place.
We say, then, that original sin is taught and proved in these places; not singly or exclusively to actual sins, not a parte ante, or from the causes of it, but from its effects. That such a frame of heart is so universally by nature in all mankind, and in every individual of them, as that it is ever, always, or continually, casting, coining, and devising evil, and that only, without the intermixture of any thing of another kind that is truly and spiritually good, is taught in these places; and this is original sin. Nor is this disproved by our catechists; for, —
1. “Because the sin spoken of is voluntary, therefore it is not original,” will not be granted. (1.) Original sin, as it is taken peccatum originans, was voluntary in Adam; and as it is originatum in us is in our wills habitually, and not against them, in any actings of it or them. (2.) The effects of it, in the coining of sin and in the thoughts of men’s hearts, are all voluntary; which are here mentioned to demonstrate and manifest that root from whence they spring, that prevailing 167principle and predominant habit from whence they so uniformly proceed.
2. Why it doth not agree to original sin that the account [is] mentioned, verse 6, of God’s repenting that he had made man, and his resolution to destroy him, these gentlemen offer not one word of reason to manifest. We say, — (1.) That it can agree to no other but this original sin, with its infallible effects, wherein all mankind were equally concerned, and so became equally liable to the last judgment of God; though some, from the same principle, had acted much more boldly against his holy Majesty than others. (2.) Its being in men by nature doth not at all lessen its guilt. It is not in their nature as created, nor in them so by nature, but is by the fall of Adam come upon the nature of all men, dwelling in the person of every one; which lesseneth not its guilt, but manifests its advantage for provocation.
3. Why the latter testimony is not applicable to original sin they inform us not. The words joined with it are an expression of that patience and forbearance which God resolved and promised to exercise towards the world, with a non obstante for sin. Now, what sin should this be but that which is “the sin of the world”? That actual sins are excluded we say not; but that original sin is expressed and aggravated by the effects of it our catechists cannot disprove. There are many considerations of these texts, from whence the argument from them for the proof of that corruption of nature which we call original sin might be much improved; but that is not my present business, our catechists administering no occasion to such a discourse. But they take some other texts into consideration:—
Q. What thinkest thou of that which David speaks, Ps. li. 7, “Behold, I shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me?”
A. It is to be observed that David doth not here speak of any men but himself alone, nor that simply, but with respect to his fall, and uses that form of speaking which you have in him again, Ps. lviii. 3. Wherefore original sin cannot be evinced by this testimony.256256 “Quid vero ea de re sentis quod David ait, Ps. li. 7? — Animadvertendum est, hic Davidem non agere de quibusvis hominibus, sed de se tantum, nec simpliciter, sed habita ratione lapsus sui; et eo loquendi modo usum esse, cujus exemplum apud eundem Davidem habes Ps. lviii. 3. Quamobrem neo eo testimonia effici prorsus potest peccatum originis.”
But, — 1. Though David speaks of himself, yet he speaks of himself in respect of that which was common to himself with all mankind, being a child of wrath as well as others; nor can these gentlemen intimate any thing of sin and iniquity, in the conception and birth of David, that was not common to all others with him. Any man’s confession for himself of a particular guilt in a common sin doth not free others from it; yea, it proves all others to be partakers in it who share in that condition wherein he contracted the guilt.
1682. Though David mentions this by occasion of his fall, as having his conscience made tender and awakened to search into the root of his sin and transgression thereby, yet it was no part of his fall, nor Was he the less conceived in sin and forth in brought ever more or iniquity for that fall; which were ridiculous to imagine. He here acknowledges it upon the occasion of his fall, which was a fruit of the sin wherewith he was born, James i. 14, 15, but was equally guilty of it before his fall and after.
3. The expression here used, and that of Ps. lviii. 3, “The wicked are estranged from the womb, they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies,” exceedingly differ. Here, David expresses what was his infection in the womb; there, what is wicked men’s constant practice from the womb. In himself, he mentions the root of all actual sin; in them, the constant fruit that springs from that root in unregenerate men. So that, by the favour of these catechists, I yet say that David doth here acknowledge a sin of nature, a sin wherewith he was defiled from his conception, and polluted when he was warmed, and so fomented in his mother’s womb; and therefore this place doth prove original sin.
One place more they call to an account, in these words:—
Q. But Paul saith that “in Adam all sinned,” Rom. v. 12.
A. It is not in that place, “In Adam all sinned;” but in the Greek the words are ἐφ ᾧ, which interpreters do frequently render in Latin in quo, “in whom,” which yet may be rendered by the particles quoniam or quatenus, “because,” or “inasmuch,” as in like places, Rom. viii. 3, Phil. iii. 12, Heb. ii. 18, 2 Cor. v. 4. It appeareth, therefore, that neither can original sin be built up out of this place.257257 “At Paulus ait Rom. v. 12, In Adamo, etc. — Non habetur eo loco, In Adamo omnes peccasse; verum in Græco verba sunt ἐφ’ ᾦ, quæ passim interpretes reddunt Latine, quo, quæ tamen reddi possunt per particulas quoniam aut quatenus, ut e locis similibus, Rom. viii. 8, Phil. iii. 12, Heb. ii. 18, 2 Cor. v. 4, videre est. Apparet igitur neque ex hoc loco extrui posse peccatum originis.”
1. Stop these men from this shifting hole, and you may with much ease entangle and catch them twenty times a day: “This word may be rendered otherwise, for it is so in another place,” — a course of procedure that leaves nothing certain in the book of God. 2. In two of the places cited, the words are not ἐφ’ ᾧ, but ἐν ᾧ, Rom. viii. 3, Heb. ii. 18. 3. The places are none of them parallel to this; for here, the apostle speaks of persons or a person in an immediate precedency; in them, of things. 4. But render ἐφ’ ᾧ by quoniam, “because,” or “for that,” as our English translation doth, the argument is no less evident for original sin than if they were rendered by “in whom.” In the beginning of the verse the apostle tells us that death entered the world by the sin of one man, — that one man of whom he is speaking, namely, Adam, — and passed upon all men: of which dispensation, that death passed on all men, he gives you the reason in these words, “For that all have sinned;” that is, in that 169sin of that one man whereby death entered on the world and passed on them all. I wonder how our catechists could once imagine that this exception against the translation of those words should enervate the argument from the text for the proof of all men’s guilt of the first sin, seeing the conviction of it is no less evident from the words if rendered according to their desire.
And this is the sum of what they have to offer for the acquitment of themselves from the guilt and stain of original sin, and for answer to the three testimonies on its behalf which themselves chose to call forth; upon the strength whereof they so confidently reject it at the entrance of their discourse, and in the following question triumph upon it, as a thing utterly discarded from the thoughts of their catechumens. What reason or ground they have for their confidence the reader will judge. In the meantime, it is sufficiently known that they have touched very little of the strength of our cause, nor once mentioned the testimonies and arguments on whose evidence and strength in this business we rely. And for themselves who write and teach these things, I should much admire their happiness, did I not so much as I do pity them in their pride and distemper, keeping them from an acquaintance with their own miserable condition.
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