Section ThreeóThe Condition of Man
Chapter 29: The Fall and Original Sin
Syllabus for Lectures 27, 28 & 29
1. What is sin? Is guilt its essence, or adjunct?
Conf. of Faith, ch. 6. Cat. Qu. 14. Turrettin, Loc. 9, Qu. 1, 3. Knapp 73. Muller, "Christian Doctrine of Sin," ch. 2, 3. Bp. Butlerís Sermons 11Ė14. Thornwell, Lect. 14, pp. 347, 389. Dr. Wm. Cunningham, Historical Theol., ch. 19, sect. 5.
2. What was Adamís first sin? How did it affect his own moral state and relations to God? How could a will prevalently unholy form its first unholy volition?
Turrettin, Loc. 11, Qu. 6, 7, 8. Hill, bk. 4, ch. 1. Dick, Lect. 47. Knapp 85. Watson, ch. 18 sect, 11. Witsius, bk. i, ch. 8, sect. 1, 13. Thornwell, Lect. 10, pp. 240Ė247. Butlerís Analogy. Muller, Chr. Loc. of Sin, bk. 2.
3. Who was the tempter? What the sentence on him?
Turrettin, Loc. 9, Qu. 7, 4 9, etc. Dick, Lect. 44. Hill and Watson as above.
4. What were the effects of Adamís fall on his posterity, (a) according to the Pelagian theory; (b) the lower Arminian theory; (c) the Wesleyan; and (d) the Calvinistic theory?
Augustine, Vol. 2, Ep. 899, 100., Vol. 8. De Natura et Gratia, and Libri Duo adv. Pelagius et Calestius. Hill as above. Turrettin, Loc. 9, Qu. 9 10. Dick, Lect. 46, 47. Cunningham, Hist. Theol., ch. 10, 12, and ch. 19, sect. 3. Thornwell, Lect. 13. Whithyís Five Points. Knapp, sect. 79, lo. Watsonís Theol. Inst., ch. 18, sect. 3, 4. Wesley on Original Sin.
5. Are the souls of Adamís posterity directly created or generated? And how is depravity propagated in them?
Turrettin, Loc. 9, Qu. 12, and Loc. 5, Qu. 13. Bairdís Elohim Revealed, ch. 11. Sampson on Hebrews, ch. 12, V. 9. Literary and Evangel. Magazine, of Dr. John H. Rice, vol. 4. p. 285, etc. Watson, ch. 18, sect. 4. Augustine, De Origins Animarum.
6. What is Original Sin? What is meant by total depravity? And does it affect the whole man, in all faculties and capacities?
Conf. of Faith, ch. 6, ch. 3. Cat. Qu. 18. Turrettin, Loc. 9., Qu 8, 10, 11. Dick, Lect. 46, 47. Hill, bk. 4., ch. 1. Watson. Theo. Inst., ch. 18. Thornwell, Lect. 17.
7. How is the existence of this total depravity proved, (a) from facts, (b) from Scripture 7 Are any of the secular virtues of the unrenewed genuine?
Turrettin, Qu. 10. Dick and Hill as above. Edwards on Original Sin, pt. 1. ch 1, 2, pt. 2., ch. 2, 3, pt. 3., ch. 1. 2. Muller, Chr. Doc. of Sin, bk. 4., ch. 1, 2. Dornerís History of Protestant Theology, Vol. 1., ch. 2, ch. 1.
8. Define and prove the imputation of the guilt of Adamís first sin to his posterity
Turrettin, Qu. 9, 12, 15, Dick and Hill as above. Edwards on Orig. Sin. pt. 2., ch. I, 4, pt. 3., ch. 1, 3. Winesí "Adam and Christ." Dr. Wm. Cunninghamís Hist. Theol., ch. 19, ch. 2. Knapp, ch. 76. Watson as above. Calvin and Hodge on Rom. 5th.
9. Refute the evasions of the Pelagians and others from the argument for native depravity.
Turrettin, Loc. 9., Qu. Io. Edwards on Orig. Sin, pt. 1., ch. 1, ch. 9.
10. Answer the objections to imputation (a) from the Scriptures, as Deut. 24:16, and Ezek. 18:20 (b) from the absence of consent by us to Adamís representation; (c) from its supposed injustice; (d) from Godís goodness.
Turrettin, Qu. 9. Edwards, pt. 4. Stapfer, Poll Theol., Vol. 4., ch. 17, ch. 78. Thornwell, Lect. 13. Knapp, ch. 76. Hodge Theol., pt. 2., ch. 8, ch. 13.
11. Explain the theories of Mediate and Immediate Imputation and show the correct view.
Turrettin, Qu. 9. Edwards, pt. 4., ch. 3. Stapfer, Poll Theol., Vol. i ch. 3 ch. 856Ė7, Vol. 4. ch. 16, and as above. South. Presb. Rev., April, 1873, Art. I, and April, 1875, Art. 6. Breckinridgeís Theol., Vol. 1., ch. 3. Review of Dr. Thornwellís Collected Works, Vol. 1., p. 445, etc. Hodge pt. 2., ch. 8. Bairdís Elohim Revealed, ch. 14. Calv. Inst., bk. 1., ch. 2, and Com. on Rom. 5. Chalmersí Theo Institutes. Princeton Review, 1830, pp. 481Ė503.
12. What the importance of the doctrine of Original Sin, from its connections with the other doctrines of Redemption?
have now reached, in our inquiries, the disastrous place where sin first entered our race. Let us therefore pause, and ascertain clearly what is its nature.
The most characteristic Hebrew word for it is, ha;f;j} which has the rudimental idea of missing the aim. The Greek, amartia , is strikingly similar, expressing nearly the same idea, of failure of designed conjunction. The Latin, peccatum is supposed by some to be a modification of pecuatum brutishness, and by others, of pellicitam moral adultery. These words suggest, what will be found true upon analysis, that the common abstract element of all sins is a privative one, lack of conformity to a standard. If this is so, then farther, sin can only be understood, when viewed as the antithesis to that standard, a law of right, and to the righteousness which is conformed thereto. The student may be reminded here, in passing, of that speculation which some of the Reformed divines borrowed from the Latin Scholastics, by which they made sin out a negation. Their reason seemed to be mainly this: That God, as universal First Cause, must be the agent of all that has entity; and so, all entities must be per se good. Hence sin, which is evil, must be no entity, a negation. This doctrine received such applications as this: That even in adultery or murder, the action per se , so far as it is action only, is good; the negative moral quality is the evil. We see here, the mint, from which was coined that dangerous distinction, by which the same divines sought to defend Godís efficacious pracursus in sinful acts of creatures. (See Lect. 25, end.) To a plain mind, the escape from this confusion is easy. Sins are, indeed, not entities, save as they are acts or states of creatures, who are personal entities. When we speak of sins in the abstract, if we mean anything, we speak of the quality common to the concrete acts, which we literally call sins: the quality of sinfulness. What now, is a quality, abstracted from all the entities which it qualifies? Not necessarily a negation, but a mere abstraction. As to the quibble, that God is the agent of all that has entity; we reply: Predicate the real freeĖagency of the sinning creature; and we shall have no philosophic trouble about that truth of common sense, that the actor is the agent of his own sinful act; and not God.
Some have supposed that the just distinction between "sins of commission and omission" must overthrow the definition of sinfulness as always a privative quality. This, say they, may be true of sins of omission; but then it cannot be true of sins of commission, which are positive. This is invalid, for the basis of that distinction is different. Both classes of sins are equally privative, and equally real. The difference is, that sins of commission are breaches of prohibitory commands, and sins of omission of affirmative precepts. In either case, the sinfulness arises out of evil motive, and this is, in either case, positive; while its common quality is discrepancy from the standard of right. And now, if any other proof of our definition is needed, than its consistency, we find it in 1 John 3:4, where the Apostle gives this as his exact definition of sin; arguing against a possible Antinomian tendency to excuse sins in believers, as venial, that all sin is lawless; H amartia estin h anomia ó"The sin is the discrepancy from law." (Scil. nomo" Qeo)
Dr. Julius Muller, in his important work, "The Christian Doctrine of Sin," revives, in a new form, the erroneous doctrine of Jonathan Edwards, resolving sin into selfishness. Seizing upon the declaration of our Savior, that love to God is the first and great command, on which the whole law depends, he resorts to the admitted fact, that sin must be the antithesis of righteousness; and concludes that the former must therefore be love of self. Why may we not conclude from the same process, that since all duty is included in the love of God, all sin will be included in hatred of God? (instead of love of self.) This gives us a more plausibly exact antithesis.
But more seriously, the student is referred to the remarks in Lecture 9, upon Edwardsí theory, and to Bp. Butlerís Sermons. We now add, with especial reference to Mullerís speculation, these points of objection. If all sin is resolved into selfĖlove as its essence, then is not all selfĖlove sinful? If he answers, No, then I reply: So there is a sinful, and a righteous selfĖlove? He must say, Yes. Then, I demand that he shall give me the differentiating element in the sinful selfĖlove which makes it, unlike the other selfĖlove, morally evil. Will he give me selfĖlove for this differentiating element? This is but moving in a circle. Again: it would follow, that if some selfĖlove is lawful, and yet selfĖlove is the essence of all sin, it must become sin, by becoming too great; and thus sin and holiness would differ only in degree! Once more, if this theory is to be carried out with any consistency, it must teach, that the act which is intended by me to promote my own wellĖbeing, can only be virtuous provided I sincerely aim at that wellĖbeing (which happens to be my own) from motives purely impersonal and disinterested. In other words, to do any act aright, promotive of my own welfare, I must do it, not at all for the sake of myself, but exclusively for the sake of God and my fellows, as they are interested in my welfare. We will not dwell on the question, whether any man ever seeks his own good from so sublimated a motive; we only point to this resultant absurdity; all oneís fellows, acting in this style of pure disinterestedness, are directly seeking his welfare; and in this is their virtue. How can it be then, that it is always sinful for him to seek that same end?
Does anyone ask into what common type all sin may be resolved? We answer: Into that of sin. We have no other definition than this: Sin is sin. Or sin is the opposite of holiness; sin is discrepancy from an absolutely holy law. If this is so, and if the idea of moral good is one of ultimate simplicity, and so, incapable of definition in simpler terms, we are to accept the same view as to sin. All attempts to reduce it to some simpler element, as they have been prompted either by an affectation of overĖprofundity, or by an overĖweaning desire to unify the functions of manís soul, have also resulted in confusion and error.
The next question concerning the nature of sin would be, whether it is limited to acts of will, or includes also states of moral propensity and habit. The answer given by the Calvinist is familiar to you. "Sin is not being, or not doing what God requires." Not only, then, are intentional acts of will contrary to law, sinful; but also the native disposition to these acts, and the desires to commit them not yet formed into volitions. This raises the oft mooted question, whether "concupiscence is sin?" This question has been already debated from a rational point of view, in Lect. 12, sect. 1, and the cognate one, in the 26, 2. It is only necessary now, to add a summary of the Scriptural argument. The Bible, in many places applies moral terms to the abiding habitudes of the soul, both in theology acquired and native. See Ps. 51:5; 58:3; Matt. 12:35, or 33; 7:17. James 1:15 says: "Then when concupiscence hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin." Rome, indeed, quotes this text as implying that concupiscence is not itself sin; for it must "conceive," must be developed into another form, in order to become sin. But James here evidently uses the word sin in the sense of sins of act. So he uses "death," the mature result of "sin when it is finished," in the sense of the final spiritual ritual death, or the second death; for many other Scriptures assure us that a state of sin is a state of death. He would rather teach us, in this text, that concupiscence and actual sin, being mother and daughter, are too closely related not to have the same moral nature. But the most conclusive text is the 10th Commandment. See this expounded by Paul, Rom. 7:7. He had not known coveting, except the law had said, "Thou shalt not covet." And it was by this law, that he was made to know sin. How could he more expressly name concupiscence as sin?
There is, however, a distinction, which is needed here, for the consistent establishment of this doctrine. coveting is often defined as "desiring the possession of another." Now, it is clear, that there are such desires, and such thoughts, which are not the sin of concupiscence. The intellectual apprehension of natural good, not possessed by me, but attainable, cannot be sinful always; for if so, I could never put forth a normal and rational effort for any good. So a certain desire for such good must also be innocent; else I could never have a lawful motive for effort, tending to the advancement of my own welfare. A very practical instance may evince this. A godly minister needs a useful horse. He sees his neighbor possessing the horse which suits his purposes. He righteously offers, and endeavors, to buy him. But, as a reasonable free agent, he could not have proposed to part with a valuable consideration for this horse, unless he had had, first, an intellectual judgment of the animalís fitness for his uses; and second, a desire to enjoy its utility. But he had these sentiments while the horse was still another manís? Is it, then necessary for one to break the 10th Commandment in order to effect an equitable horseĖtrade? The answer is: These sentiments in the good man have not yet reached the grade of evil concupiscence. This sinful affection then, is not merely desire for attainable good; but desire for an attainment conditioned wrongfully; desire still harboredóthough not matured into a purpose of willówhile seen in the conscience to be thus unlawfully conditioned. Thus, for instance, the moment this good manís desire to possess the useful animal verged into a craving to gain it unfairly, as by payment in spurious money, or untruthful depreciation of its market value, that moment concupiscence was born. This distinction removes all just objections to the Scripture teaching. It is useful also, in explaining how an impeccable Redeemer could be "tempted of the devil," and yet wholly without sin. Had this holy soul been absolutely impervious to even the intellectual apprehension of attainable good, and to the natural sentiment arising on that apprehension, he would not have been susceptible of temptation. But he had these normal traits. Hence, he could be tempted, and yet feel not the first pulse of evil concupiscence.
What Turrettin calls potential guilt is the intrinsic moral illĖdesert of an act or state. This is of the essence of the sin: it is indeed an inseparable part of its sinfulness. Actual guilt is obligation to punishment. This is the established technical sense of the word among theologians. Guilt, thus defined, is obviously not of the essence of sin; but is a relation, viz., to the penal sanction of law. For if we suppose no penal sanction attached to the disregard of moral relations, guilt would not exist, though there were sin. This distinction will be found important.
Manís First Sin.
The first sin of our first father is found described in Gen. 3:1Ė7 in words which are familiar to every one. This narrative has evidently some of that picturesque character appropriate to the primeval age, and caused by the scarcity of abstract and definite terms in their language. But it is an obvious abuse to treat it as a mere allegory, representing under a figure manís selfĖdepravation and gradual change: for the passages preceding and following it are evidently plain narrative, as is proved by a hundred references. Moreover, the transactions of this very passage are twice referred to as literal (2 Cor. 11:3; 1 Tim. 2:14), and the events are given as the explanation of the peculiar chastisement allotted to the daughters of Eve.
Unbelief Its First Element.
The sin of Adam consisted essentially, not in his bodily act, of course; but in his intentions. Papal theologians usually say that the first element of the sin of his heart was pride, as being awakened by the taunting reference of the Serpent to his dependence and subjection, and as being not unnatural in so exalted a being. The Protestants, with Turrettin, usually say it was unbelief; because pride could not be naturally suggested to the creatureís soul, unless unbelief had gone before to obliterate his recollection of his proper relations to an infinite God; because belief of the mind usually dictates feeling and action in the will; because the temptation seems first aimed (Gen. 3:1) to produce unbelief, through the creatureís heedlessness; and because the initial element of error must have been in the understanding, the will being hitherto holy.
If Volitions Are Certainly Determined, How Could A Holy Being Have This First Wrong Volition?
How a holy will could come to have an unholy volition at first, is a most difficult inquiry. And it is much harder as to the first sin of Satan, than of Adam, because the angel, hitherto perfect, had no tempter to mislead him, and had not even the bodily appetites for natural good which in Adam were so easily perverted into concupiscence. Concupiscence cannot be supposed to have been the cause, preĖexisting before sin; because concupiscence is sin, and needs itself to be accounted for in a holy heart. Manís, or Satanís, mutability cannot be the efficient cause, being only a condition sine qua non . Nor is it any solution to say with Turrettin, the proper cause was a free will perverted voluntarily. Truly; but how came a right will to pervert itself while yet right? And here, let me say, is far the most plausible objection against the certainty of the will, which Arminians, etc., might urge far more cunningly than (to my surprise) they do. If the evil dispositions of a fallen sinner so determine his volitions as to ensure that he will not choose spiritual good, why did not the holy dispositions of Adam and Satan ensure that they would never have a volition spiritually evil? And if they somehow chose sin, contrary to their prevalent bent, why may not depraved man sometime choose good?
The mystery cannot be fully solved how the first evil choice could voluntarily arise in a holy soul; but we can clearly prove that it is no sound reasoning from the certainty of a depraved will to that of a holy finite will. First: a finite creature can only be indefectible through the perpetual indwelling and superintendence of infinite wisdom and grace, guarding the finite and fallible attention of the soul against sin. This was righteously withheld from Satan and Adam. Second: while righteousness is a positive attribute, incipient sin is a privative trait of human conduct. The mere absence of an element of active regard for Godís will, constitutes a disposition or volition wrong. Now, while the positive requires a positive cause, it is not therefore inferable that the negative equally demands a positive cause. To make a candle burn, it must be lighted; to make it go out, it need only be let alone. The most probable account of the way sin entered a holy breast first, is this: An object was apprehended as in its mere nature desirable; not yet as unlawful. So far there is no sin. But as the soul, finite and fallible in its attention, permitted an overweening apprehension and desire of its natural adaptation to confer pleasure, to override the feeling of its unlawfulness, concupiscence was developed. And the element which first caused the mere innocent sense of the natural goodness of the object to pass into evil concupiscence, was privative, viz., the failure to consider and prefer Godís will as the superior good to mere natural good. Thus natural desire passed into sinful selfishness, which is the root of all evil. So that we have only the privative element to account for. When we assert the certainty of ungodly choice in an evil will, we only assert that a state of volition whose moral quality is a defect, a negation, cannot become the cause of a positive righteousness. When we assert the mutability of a holy will in a finite creature, we only say that the positive element of righteousness of disposition may, in the shape of defect, admit the negative, not being infinite. So that the cases are not parallel: and the result, though mysterious, is not impossible. To make a candle positively give light, it must be lighted; to cause it to sink into darkness, it is only necessary to let it alone: its length being limited, it burns out.
Effects of Sin In AdamóSelfĖDepravation.
Adamís fall resulted in two changes, moral and physical. The latter was brought on him by Godís providence, cursing the earth for his sake, and thus entailing on him a life of toil and infirmities, ending in bodily death. The former was more immediately the natural and necessary result of his own conduct; because we can conceive of God as interposing actively to punish sin, but we cannot conceive of Him as interposing to produce it. It has been supposed very unreasonable that one act, momentary, the breach of an unimportant, positive precept, should thus revolutionize a manís moral habitudes and principles, destroying his original righteousness, and making him a depraved being. One act, they say, cannot form a habit. We will not answer this, by saying, with Turrettin, that the act virtually broke each precept of the decalogue; or that it was a "universal sin;" nor even by pleading that it was an aggravated and great sin. Doubtless it was a great sin; because it violated the divine authority most distinctly and pointedly declared; because it did it for small temptation; because it was a sin against great motives, privileges, and restraints. There is also much justice in Turrettinís other remarks, that by this clear, fully declared sin, the chief end of the creature was changed from God to self; and the chief end controls the whole stream of moral action directed to it; that the authority on which all godliness reposes, was broken in breaking this one command; that shame and remorse were inevitably born in the soul; that communion with God was severed. But this terrible fact, that any sin is mortal to the spiritual life of the soul, may profitably be farther illustrated.
How Accounted For By One Sin?
Godís perfections necessitate that He shall be the righteous enemy and punisher of transgression. Man, as a moral and intelligent being, must have conscience and moral emotions. One inevitable effect of the first sin, then, must be that God is made righteously angry, and will feel the prompting to just punishment, otherwise He could not bea holy ruler! Thus, , He must at once withdraw His favor and communion (there being no Mediator to satisfy His justice.) Another inevitable effect must be the birth of remorse in the creature. The hitherto healthy action of conscience must ensure this. This remorse must be attended with an apprehension of Godís anger, and fear of His punishment. But human nature always reciprocates, by a sort of sympathy, the hostility of which it knows itself the object. How many a man has learned to hate an inoffensive neighbor, because he knows that he has given that neighbor good cause to hate him? But this hostility is hostility to God for doing what He ought; it is hostility to righteousness! So that, in the first clearly pronounced sin, these elements of corruption and separation from God are necessarily contained in germ. But God is the model of excellence, and fountain of grace. See how fully these results are illustrated in Adam and Eve. Gen. 3:8, etc. Next; every moral act has some tendency to foster the propensity which it indulges. Do you say it must tee a very slight strength produced by one act; a very light bond of habit, consisting of one strand! Not always. But the scale, if slightly turned, is turned: the downhill career is begun, by at least one step, and the increase of momentum will surely occur, though gradually. Inordinate selfĖlove has now become a principle of action, and it will go on to assert its dominion. Last, we must consider the effects of physical evil on a heart thus in incipient perversion; for Godís justice must prompt Him to inflict the bodily evils due to the sin. Desire of happiness is instinctive; when the joys of innocence are lost, an indemnification and substitute will be sought in carnal pleasures. Misery develops the malignant passions of envy, petulance, impatience, selfishness, revenge. And nothing is more depraving than despair. See Jer. 2:25; 18:12.
What a terrible evil, then, is Sin! Thus the sentence, "In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die," carried its own execution. Sin, of itself, kills the spiritual life of the soul.
Satan the Tempter.
The true tempter of Adam and Eve was undoubtedly the evil angel Satan, although it is not expressly said so in the narrative. A serpent has no speech, still less has it understanding to comprehend manís moral relations and interests, and that refined spiritual malice which would plan the ruin of the soul. It is said, "the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field," as though this natural superiority of animal instincts were what enabled it to do the work. A momentís thought, however, must convince us that there is a deeper meaning. Moses, speaking for the time as the mere historian, describes events as they appeared to Eve. The well known cunning of the serpent adapted it better for Satanís use, and enabled him to conceal himself under it with less chance of detection. The grounds for regarding Satan as the true agent are the obvious allusions of Scripture. See John 8:44; 2 Cor. 11:3; 1 Thess. 3:5; 1 John 3:8; Rev. 12:9, and 20:2. The doom of the serpent is also allusively applied to Christís triumph over Satan. Col. 2:15; Rom. 16:20; Heb. 2:14 Isa. 65:25. It is also stated in confirmation, by Dr. Hill, that this was the traditionally interpretation of the Jews, as is indicated, for instance, in Wis. 2:23. 24; and the Chaldee paraphrase on Job 20:4, 6. Turrettin supposes that Godís providence permitted the employment of an animal as the instrument of Satanís temptation, in order that mankind might have before them a visible commemoration of their sin and fall.
Effect of Adamís Sin On His PosterityóPelagian Theory.
I propose to state the Pelagian theory with some degree of fullness, and more methodically than it would perhaps be found stated in the writings of its own early advocates, in order to unfold to the student the nexus between original sin and the whole plan of redemption. The Pelagian believes that Adamís fall did not directly affect his posterity at all. Infants are born in the same state in which Adam was created, one of innocence, but not of positive righteousness. There was no federal transaction, and no imputation, which is, in every case, incompatible with justice. There is no propagation of hereditary depravity, which would imply the generation of souls ex traduce, which they reject. Manís will is not only free from coaction, but from moral certainty, i. e., his volitions are not only free, but not decisively caused, otherwise he would not be a free agent.
(b.) If this is so, whence the universal actual transgression of adult man? Pelagianism answers, from concupiscence, which exists in all, as in Adam before his sin, and is not sin of itself, and from general evil example.
(c.) If man has no moral character, and no guilt prior to intelligent choice, whence death and suffering among those who have not sinned? They are obliged to answer: These natural evils are not penal, and would have befallen Adam had he not sinned. They are the natural limitations of humanity, just as irrationality is of beasts, and no more imply guilt as their necessary cause.
(d.) Those, then, who die in infancy, have nothing from which they need to be redeemed. Why then baptized? Pelagianism answered, those who die in infancy are redeemed from nothing. If they die unbaptized, they would go to a state called Paradise, the state of natural good, proceeding from natural innocence, to which innocent Pagans go. But baptism would interest them in Christís gracious purchase, and thus they would inherit, should they die in infancy, a more positive and assured state of blessedness, called the Kingdom of Heaven.
(e.) All men being born innocent, and with equilibrium of will, it is both physically and morally possible that any man might act a holy character, and attain Paradise, or "eternal life," without any gospel grace whatever. The chances may be bad, on account of unfavorable example, and temptation, amidst which the experiment has to be made. But there have been cases, both under the revealed law, as Enoch, Job, Abel, Noah (who had no protevangelium); and among Pagans, as Numa, Aristides, Socrates; and there may be such cases again. Nor would God be just to punish man for coming short of perfection unless this were so.
(f.) Now, as to the theory of redemption: As there can be no imputation of Adamís guilt to his people, so neither could there be of Christís peopleís guilt to Him, or of His righteousness to them. But sins are forgiven by the mercy of God in Christ (without penal satisfaction for them), on the condition of trust, repentance, and reformation. The title of the believer to a complete justification must then be his own obedience, and that a sinless one. But this is not so exalted an attainment as Calvinists now regard it. (concupiscence is not sin). Moral quality attaches only to actual volitions, not to states of feeling prompting thereto; and hence, if an act be formally right, it is wholly right; nor does a mixture of selfish and unselfish motives in it make it imperfectly moral; for volition is necessarily a thing decisive and entire. Hence, a prevalent, uniform obedience is a perfect one; and none less will justify, because justification is by works, and the law is perfect. But as equilibrium of will is essential to responsibility, any shortcoming which is morally necessitated, by infirmity of nature, or ignorance, thoughtlessness, or overwhelming gust of temptation, contrary to the soulís prevalent bent, is no sin at all. See here, the germ of the Wesleyanís doctrine of sinless perfection, and of the Jesuit theory of morals.
Since a concreated righteousness would be no righteousness, not being chosen at first, so neither would a righteousness wrought by a supernatural regeneration. The only gracious influences possible are those of cooperative grace, or moral suasion. Manís regeneration is simply his own change of purpose, as to sin and holiness, influenced by motives. Hence, faith and repentance are both natural exercises.
(g.) The continuance of a soul in a state of justification is of course contingent. A grace which would morally necessitate the will to continued holy choices, would deprive it of its free agency.
(h.) Godís purpose of election, therefore, while from eternity, as is shown by His infinite and immutable wisdom, knowledge and power, is conditioned on His foresight of the way men would improve their free will. He elected those He foresaw would persevere in good.
The whole is a consistent and wellĖknit system of error, proceeding from its prwton yeudo" .
Arminian Theories. Lower.
Among those who pass under the general term, Arminians, two different schemes have been advanced; one represented by Whitby, the other by Wesley and his Church. The former admit that Adam and his race were both much injured by the fall. He has not indeed lost his equilibrium of will for spiritual good, but he has become greatly alienated from God, has fallen under the penal curse of physical evil and death, has become more animal, so that concupiscence is greatly exasperated, and is more prone to break out into actual transgression. This is greatly increased by the miseries, fear, remorse, and vexation of his mortal state, which tend to drive him away from God, and to whet the envious, sensual and discontented emotions. These influences, together with constant evil example, are the solution of the fact, that all men become practically sinners. This is the state to which Adam reduced himself; and his posterity share it, not in virtue of any federal relation, or imputation of Adamís guilt, but of that universal, physical law, that like must generate like. In that sense, man is born a ruined creature.
The Wesleyans, however, begin by admitting all that a Moderate Calvinist would ask, as to Adamís loss of original righteousness in the Fall, bondage under evil desires, and total depravity. While they misinterpret, and then reject the question between mediate and immediate imputation, they retain the orthodox idea of imputation, admitting that the legal consequences of Adamís act are visited upon his descendants along with himself. But then, they say, the objections of severity and unrighteousness urged against this plan could not be met, unless it be considered as one whole, embracing manís gracious connection with the second Adam. By the Covenant of grace in Him the selfĖdetermining power of the will, and ability of will are purchased back for every member of the human family, and actually communicated, by common sufficient grace, to all so far repairing the effects of the fall, that man has moral ability for spiritual good, if he chooses to employ it. Thus, while they give us the true doctrine with one hand, they take it back with the other, and reach a semiĖPelagian result. The obvious objection to this scheme is, that if the effects of Adamís fall on his posterity are such, that they would have been unjust, if not repaired by a redeeming plan which was to follow it, as a part of the same system, then Godís act in giving a Redeemer was not one of pure grace (as Scripture everywhere says), but He was under obligations to do some such thing.
The view of the Calvinists I purpose now to state in that comprehensive and natural mode, in which all sound Calvinists would concur. Looking into the Bible and the actual world, we find that, whereas Adam was created righteous, and with full ability of will for all good, and was in a state of actual blessedness; ever since his fall, his posterity begin their existence in a far different state. They all show, universal ungodliness, clearly proving a native, prevalent, and universal tendency thereto. They are born spiritually dead, as Adam made himself. And they are obviously, natural heirs of the physical evils and death pronounced on him for his sin. Such are the grand facts. Now Calvinists consider that it is no unauthorized hypothesis, but merely a connected statement, and inevitable interpretation of the facts, to say: that we see in them this arrangement; God was pleased, for wise, gracious, and righteous reasons, to connect the destiny of Adamís posterity with his probationary acts, so making him their representative, that whatever moral, and whatever legal condition he procured for himself by his conduct under probation; in that same moral and that same legal condition his posterity should begin to exist. And this, we say, is no more than the explanation necessarily implied in the facts themselves.
Origin of Souls. History of Opinions.
But before we proceed to the detailed discussion of this, an inquiry, a subject of the greatest intricacy and interest, arises as a preliminary: How is this connection transmitted; what is the actual tie of nature between parents and children, as to their more essential part, the soul? Are human souls generated by their parents naturally? Or are they created directly by God, and sent into connection with the young body at the time it acquires its separate vitality? The former has been called the theory of Traducianism; (ex traduce ) the latter, of creation. After Origenís doctrine of preĖexistent human souls had been generally surrendered as heretical (from the times of Chrysostom, say 403) the question was studied with much interest in the early Church. Tertullian, who seems first to have formally stated Adamís federal headship, was also the advocate of the ex trance theory. But it found few advocates among the Fathers, and was especially opposed, by those who had strong tendencies to what was afterwards called Pelagianism, as favoring original sin. Gregory of Nyssa seems to have been almost alone among the prominent Greek Fathers who held it. So perhaps did Ambrose among the Latins; but when Jerome asserts that the ex traduce view prevailed generally among the Western Christians, he was probably in error. Augustine, the great establisher of Original Sin, professed himself undecided about it, to the end. It may be said however, in general, that in history, the ex traduce theory has been thought more favorable to original sin, and has been usually connected with it, until modern times; while Creationism was strenuously advocated by Pelagians. If the Traducian theory can be substantiated, it most obviously presents the best explanation of the propagation of sin.
I shall state the usual arguments, pro and con, indicating as I go along my judgment of their force.
Arguments of TraducianistsóFrom Scripture.
1. The Traducianists assert that by some inexplicable law of generation, though a true and proper one, parents propagate souls, as truly as bodies; and are thus the proper parents of the whole persons of their children. They argue, from Scripture, that Gen. 2:2 states "on the seventh day God ended the work which He had made, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work," etc. Hence, they infer, God performs since, no proper work of immediate creation in this earth. This seems hardly valid; for the sense of the text might seem satisfied by the idea, that God now creates nothing new as to species. With a great deal more force, it is argued that in Gen. 1:25óGod creates man in His own image, after His own likeness, which image is proved to be not corporeal at all, but in manís spirituality, intelligence, immortality, and righteousness. In Gen. 5:3, "Adam begat a son in his own likeness, after his image." How could this be, if Adamís parental agency did not produce the soul, in which alone this image inheres? Surely the image and likeness is in the same aspects. See also Ps. 51:5; Job 14:4; John 3:6, etc. The purity or impurity spoken of in all these passages is of the soul, and they must therefore imply the propagation of souls, when so expressly stating the propagation of impurity of soul.
From Experience and From Imputation.
They also argue that popular opinion and common sense clearly regard the parents as parents of the whole person. The same thing is shown by the inheritance of mental peculiarities and family traits, which are often as marked as bodily. And this cannot be accounted for by education, because often seen where the parents did not live to rear the child; nor by the fact that the body with its animal appetites, in which the soul is encased, may be the true cause of the apparent hereditary likeness of souls; for the just theory is, that souls influence bodies in these things, not bodies souls; and besides, the traits of resemblance are often not only passional, but intellectual. instances of congenital lunacy suggest the same argument. Lunacy is plausibly explained as a loss of balance of soul, through the undue predominance of some one trait. Now, these cases of congenital lunacy are most frequently found in the offspring of cousins. The resemblance of traits in the parents being already great, "breeding in and in" makes the family trait too strong and hence derangement. But the chief arguments from reason are: if God creates souls, as immediately as He created Adamís or Gabriel, then they must have come from His hand morally pure, for God cannot create wickedness. How, then, can depravity be propagated? The Bible would be contradicted, which so clearly speaks of it as propagated; and reason, which says that the attachment of a holy soul to a body cannot defile it, because a mere body has no moral character. Creationists answer: the federal relation instituted between Adam and the race, justifies God in ordaining it so that the connection of the young, immortal spirit with the body, and thus with a depraved race shall be the occasion for its depravation, in consequence of imputed sin. But the reply is, first, it is impossible to explain the federal relation, if the soul of each child (the soul alone is the true moral agent), had an antecedent holy existence, independent of a human father. Why is not that soul as independent of Adamís fall, thus far, as Gabriel was; and why is not the arrangement, which implicates him in it, just as arbitrary as though Gabriel were tied to Adamís fate? Moreover, if Godís act in plunging this pure spirit into an impure body is the immediate occasion of its becoming depraved, it comes very near to making God the author of its fall. Last: a mere body has no moral character, and to suppose it taints the soul is mere Gnosticism. Hence, it must be that the souls of children are the offspring of their parents. The mode of that propagation is inscrutable; but this constitutes no disproof, because a hundred other indisputable operations natural of law are equally inscrutable; and especially in this case of spirits, where the nature of the substance is inscrutable, we should expect the manner of its production to be so.
Arguments of Creationists.
2. On the other hand, the advocates of creation of souls argue from such texts as Eccl. 12:7; Isa. 57:16; Zech. 12:1; Heb. 12:9, where our souls are spoken of as the special work of God. It is replied, and the reply seems to me sufficient, that the language of these passages is sufficiently met, by recognizing the fact that Godís power at first produced manís soul immediately out of nothing, and in His own image; that the continued propagation of these souls is under laws which His Providence sustains and directs; and that this agency of God is claimed as an especial honor, (e. g., in Isa. 57:16) because human souls are the most noble part of Godís earthly kingdom, being intelligent, moral, and capable of apprehending His glory. That this is the true sense of Eccl. 12:7, and that it should not be strained any higher, appears thus: if the language proves that the soul of a man of our generation came immediately from Godís hand, like Adamís, the antithesis would equally prove that our bodies came equally from the dust, as immediately as Adamís. To all such passages as Isa. 57:16; Zech. 12:1, the above general considerations apply, and in addition, these facts: Our parents are often spoken of in Scripture as authors of our existence likewise; and that in general terms, inclusive of the spirit. Gen. 46:26, 27; Prov. 17:21; 23:24; Isa. 14:10. Surely, if one of these classes of texts may be so strained, the other may equally, and then we have texts directly contradicting texts. Again, God is called the Creator of the animals, Ps. 104:30, and the adorner of the lilies, Matt. 6:30; which are notoriously produced by propagation In Heb. 12:9, the pronoun in "Father of our spirits," is unauthorized. The meaning is simply the contrast between the general ideas of "earthly fathers," and "heavenly father." For if you make the latter clause, "Father of spirits" mean Creator of our souls, then, by antithesis, the former should be read, fathers of our bodies; but this neither the apostleís scope permits) nor the word sarx sums which does not usually mean, in his language, our bodies as opposed to our souls; but our natural, as opposed to our gracious condition of soul.
Again: Turrettin objects, that if Adamís soul was created, and ours propagated, we do not properly bear his image, 1 Cor. 15:49, nor are of his species. The obvious answer is, that by the same argument we could not be of the same corporeal species at all. Further, the very idea of species is a propagated identity of nature. But the strongest rational objections are, that a generative process implies the separation of parts of the parent substances, and their aggregation into a new organism; whereas the souls of the parents, and that of the offspring are alike monads, indiscerptible, and uncompounded. Traducianism is therefore vehemently accused of materialist tendencies. It seems to me that all this is but an argumentum ad gnorantiam . Of course, spirits cannot be generated by separation of substance and new compoundings. But whether processes of propagation may not be possible for spiritual substance which involve none of this, is the very question, which can be neither proved nor disproved by us, because we do not comprehend the true substance of spirit.
Gravest Objection Against Traducianism.
The opponents might have advanced a more formidable objection against Traducianism: and this is the true difficulty of the theory. In every case of the generation of organisms, there is no production of any really new substance by the creature parents, but only a reorganizing of preĖexistent particles. But we believe a soul is a spiritual atom, and is brought into existence out of nonĖexistence. Have human parents this highest creative power? With such difficulties besetting both sides, it will be best perhaps, to leave the subject as an insoluble mystery. What an opprobrium to the pride of human philosophy, that it should be unable to answer the very first and nearest question as to its own origin!
The humble mind may perhaps find its satisfaction in this Bible truth: That whatever may be the adjustment adopted for the respective shares of agency which the First Cause and second causes have in the origin of an immortal, human soul; this fact is certain (however unexplained) that parents and children are somehow united into one federal body by a true tie of race: that the tie does include the spiritual as well as the bodily substances: that it is bona fide , and not fictitious or supposititious. See Confession of Faith, ch. 6, 3. "Root of all mankind." Now, since we have no real cognition by perception, of spiritual substance, but only know its acts and effects, we should not be surprised at our ignorance of the precise agency of its production, and the way that agency acts. It may not be explained; and yet it may be true, that divine power, (in bringing substance out of nihil into esse ) and human causation may both act, in originating the being and properties of the infantís soul!
May not this irresolvable question again teach us to apprehend a great truth, which we are incompetent to comprehend, mainly that there is such a reality as spiritual generation, instanced in the eternal generation of the Word, in the infinite Spirit, and in the generation of human souls from the finite? The analogy must, indeed be partial, the lower instance being beneath the higher, as the heavens are lower than the earth. In the eternal generation, the generative spirit was sole; in the human, the parents are dual. In the former, the subsistence produced was not an individual numerically distinct from the producer, as in the latter. But it may be added, that familiar and fundamental as is our notion of our race unity, we know only in part what is connoted in it. It is possible that when "we know even as also we are known," we shall find, that Adamís creation "in the image and likeness" of God has still another meaning, not apprehended before; in that omnipotence endued man with a lower, though inscrutable form of that power by which the eternal Father forever generates the eternal Son.
6."THE sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell, consists of the guilt of Adamís first sin, the want of original righteousness, and the corruption of his whole nature, which is commonly called original sin; together with all actual transgressions which proceed from it." Here, as in the Larger Catechism, Original Sin (so called because native, and because the fountain of all other sin) is the general term, expressing both elements, of imputed guilt and total depravity. By many theologians it is often used for the latter specially. I discuss the latter first.
Original Sin A Positive Bent To Wrong.
Turrettin asserts that this total depravity is not merely or negatively a carentia justitiś originalis but positively, an active principle of evil. But this does not contradict the definition which represented the essence of sin as discrepancy from law. The essential nature of virtue is, that it positively or affirmatively requires something; or makes a given state or act positively obligatory on the human heart. It admits no moral neutrality; so that the simply not being, or not doing what God requires, is Sin. But the soul is essentially active. Therefore it must follow that in a sinful condition or during sinful conduct, the action or positivity is from the essential nature of the soul, whereas its wrongness is derived from the mere absence of lawful conformity. Depravity, as Pres. Edwards says, is a defective or privative quality; yet it assumes a positive form. I would prefer to say that depravity is active as opposed to simple negation. That it is active, is proved by Turrettin from those texts which attribute effects to it, as binding, deceiving, and slaying etc. Yet it is also important to distinguish that it is, in its origin, privative, and not the infusion of some positive quality of evil into the soul; in order to acquit God of the charge of being author of sin. The Bible term, amartia suggests the arrow swerving from its proper target. The swerving is privative. But this arrow does not stand still, or lie in the quiver; it flies, and perhaps with as much momentum and velocity, as the arrow which hits the mark.
But Not A Corruption of the Soulís Substance.
The same reason compels us to believe that native depravity is not a substantial corruption of the soul; i. e., does not change or destroy any part of its substance. For souls are, as to their substance, what God made them; and His perfections ensure His not making anything that was not good. Nor is there any loss of any of the capacities or faculties, which make up the essentia of the soul. Man is, in these respects, essentially what his Creator made him. Hence depravity is, in the language of metaphysics, not an attribute, but accidens of the human soul now. This is further proved by the fact that Jesus Christ assumed our very nature, at His incarnation, without which He would not be our Mediator. But surely, He did not assume moral corruption! Last: Scripture clearly distinguishes between sin and the soul, when they speak of it as defiling the soul, as easily besetting; Heb. 12:1, 2, etc. If it be asked, what then, is native depravity: if it be neither a faculty, nor the privation of one, nor of the manís essence, nor a change of substance? I reply, it is a vicious habitus which qualifies manís active powers, i. e., his capacities of feeling and will. Although we may not be able to fully describe, yet we all know this idea of bents which naturally qualify the powers of action in all things.
The Confession states that the first man "became wholly defiled, in all the faculties and parts of soul and body." The seat of this vicious moral habitus is, of course, strictly speaking, in the moral propensities. But since these give active direction to all the faculties and parts of soul and body, in actions that have any moral quality, it may be said that, by accommodation of language, they are all morally defiled. The conscience (the highest department of rational intuitions) is not indeed destroyed; but its accuracy of verdict is greatly disturbed by evil desire, and the instinctive moral emotions which should accompany those verdicts, are so seared by neglect, as to seem practically feeble, or dead, for the time. The views of the understanding concerning all moral subjects are perverted by the wrong propensions of the heart, so as to call good evil, and evil good. Thus "blindness of mind" on all moral subjects results. The memory becomes a store of corrupt images and recollections and thus furnishes material for the imagination; defiling both. The corporeal appetites, being stimulated by the lusts of the soul, by a defiled memory and imagination, and by unbridled indulgence, become tyrannical and inordinate. And the bodily limbs and organs of sense are made servants of unrighteousness. Thus, what cannot be literally unholy is put to unholy uses. But when we thus discriminate the faculties, w e must not forget the unity and simplicity of the spirit of man. It is a monad. And, as we do not conceive of it as regenerated or sanctified by patches; so neither do we regard it as depraved by patches. Original corruption is not, specifically, the perversion of a faculty in the soul, but of the soul itself.
In What Sense Total? and Are All Natural Virtues Spirious?
By saying that manís native depravity is total, we do not by any means intend that conscience is destroyed, for the marlís guilt is evinced by this very thing, that his heart prefers what conscience condemns. Nor do we mean that all men are alike bad, and all as bad as they can be. Nor do we mean to impugn the genuineness and disinterestedness of the social virtues and charities in the ungodly. Far be it from us to assert that all the civic rectitude of an Aristides or Fabricius, all the charities of domestic love, all the nobleness of disinterested friendship among the worldly, are selfishness in disguise. But if it be allowed that many of these acts are of the true nature of virtue, how can man be called totally depraved? We mean, first, that as to the chief responsibility of the soul, to love God, every soul is totally recreant. No natural man has any true love for God as a spiritual, holy, true, good, and righteous Sovereign. But this being the preĖeminent duty over all others in the aggregate, utter dereliction here, throws all smaller, partial virtues wholly into the shade. Second: while there is something of true virtue in many secular acts and feelings of the unrenewed which deserves the sincere approval and gratitude of fellowmen to them, as between man and man, there is in those same acts and feelings a fatal defect as to God, which places them on the wrong side of the moral dividing line. That defect is, that they are not prompted by any moral regard for Godís will requiring them. "God is not in all their thoughts." Ps. 10:4. Let any worldly man analyze his motives, and he will find that this is true of his best secular acts. But the supreme regard ought to be, in every act, the desire to please God. Hence, although, these secular virtues are much less wrong than their opposite vices, they are still, in Godís sight, short of right, and that in the most important particular. The deficiency of this carnal and social virtue receives a very practical illustration thus: The sphere of relation, in which the secular virtues of the unbelievers are practiced, is merely temporary. As children, husbands or wives, parents, neighbors, business men, they perform many disinterested acts of moral form; being prompted thereto by natural, social principles. In the other world, all these relations are abolished. Where then will be the rectitude of persons, who, with all their social excellencies, had no godliness, when God is the only good, and the immediate object of duty and intercourse?
But third, native depravity is total, in this sense; that it is, so far as manís selfĖrecuperation is concerned, decisive and final. Original sin institutes a direct tendency to progressive, and at last, to utter depravity. In a word: it is spiritual death. Corporeal death may leave its victim more or less ghastly. A corpse may be little emaciated, still warm, still supple; it may still have a tinge of color in the cheek and a smile on its lips: it may be still precious and beautiful in the eyes of those that loved it. But it is dead, and a loathsome putrefaction approaches, sooner or later. It is only a question of time.
7. The proofs of a native and total depravity toward God, are unfortunately, so numerous, that little more can be attempted in one Lecture, than a statement of their heads. They may be grouped under the two heads of experience, and Scripture statements and facts.
Depravity of the Race Proved. 1st, By Law of Reproduction.
Adamís sin reduced him to a total depravity, as has been shown in a previous Lecture. But the great law, which seems to reign throughout the vegetable and sentient universe, wherever a law of reproduction reigns, is that like shall beget like. And this appears to be confirmed by Gen. 5:3; Job 14:4. Whence Adamís ruin would be a priori , a ground for expecting his posterity to be born depraved. There are indeed some, (as Dr. Thornwell Review of Breckinridge, January, 1858,) who deny that this law would naturally apply here, and attribute the result of Adamís producing a sinful posterity, exclusively to the positive, federal connection appointed for them. They urge, that the thing propagated by this natural law is the attributes of the species, not its accidents; that by this cause any other progenitor between us and our first father would be as much the source of our depravity as he; and that if the accident of Adamís fall is propagated, so ought to be the regenerate nature produced in him, and in other progenitors, by grace. This is clearly against the Confession, ch. 6, 3, and, it seems to me, against the texts quoted. It confounds accidents in the popular sense with accidens , in the sense of the Logician. Very true: a man who loses an arm by accident, does not propagate oneĖarmed children. But in the other sense of the word, it will hardly be asserted that the red color of Devon cattle is an attribute, and not accidents of horned cattle, and the more refractory and savage temper of the wild boar an attribute of the species swine; yet both are propagated by this law of generation, As I have before said, the properties which define a species, whether attributes or accidents, are just those which are propagated in it; this is the very idea of species. And we may at least claim, that our progenitors, since Adam, have certainly been channels of transmission of depravity to us. Their agency herein was the same as Adamís toward Seth. Regenerate character does not define the species man, as a species; and hence, is not propagated, especially as it is a character only incipient in the parents in this life. Chiefly, regenerate character is not propagated by parents, because it is now not a natural, but a supernatural property.
2nd. By Universal Sin.
We argue native depravity from the universal sinfulness of man, as exhibited in fact. Premise, that the strength of this argument ought to be judged according to the tendencies which this prevalent ungodliness would exert, not as it is in fact, but as it would be, if unrestrained by the grace and providence of God. What then is the fact? We see all men, under all circumstances, do much that is wrong. We see the world full of wickedness, much of it enormous. We behold parents, masters, magistrates and teachers busy with multitudes of rules and laws, and a vast apparatus of prisons, police, armies, and penalties, striving with very indifferent success, to repress wickedness. It is no alleviation to this picture to say, that there are also many virtues in the world, and more correct people who leave no history, because they quietly pursue a virtuous life, than of those who make a noise in the world by sin. For the majority of men are relatively wicked) taking the world over; and a truly honorable secular character, even, is the exception. Again: as we have seen, all these virtues contain a fatal defect, that of not being performed for Godís honor and pleasure; a defect so vital, that it throws any element of goodness as to man wholly into the shade. Take the standard: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart," and it will be seen that the best natural man in the world never comes up to it in any one act. How then can he claim any good acts to balance against his bad ones, when there are none at all wholly in the right scale? None that are in the right scale as to the most weighty particular.
3rd. By Early Apostacy of Children From the Right.
Once more let me emphasize the universal experience that may testify to the rightness of our doctrine. As human beings grow, as soon as they are old enough to exhibit any moral qualities, we find them (without exception) committing acts they know to be wrong. From this point on, their accomplishing wrong acts become a common and repetitive occurrence, never an occasional accident. We can go even furtheróinfants, before they are even cognizant enough to understand their own evil tempers, manifest wicked passions, selfishness, anger, spite, revenge, and so on.. So testifies Scripture. Ps. 58:3; Gen. 8:21.
4th. By Opposition To God and Redemption.
Once more, we find universally, a most obdurate blindness, stupidity, and opposition concerning the things of God. Rom. 8:7. So averse are men to the spiritual service of God, that they all, if left to themselves, postpone and refuse it, against the dictates of reason and conscience, which they partially obey in other things, against motives absolutely infinite; and such is the portentous power of this opposition, it overrides these motives and influences, usually, without a seeming struggle. This universal prevalence of sin has appeared in manís history in spite of great means for its prevention: not only by the legislation, etc., mentioned: but by chastisements, the Flood, religious dispensations, miracles, theophanies, prophecies, and the incarnation of Christ Himself.
5th. By Scripture.
Such is a fair and moderate picture of human experience. Scripture confirms it, asserting the universal and prevalent sinfulness of man. Gen. 6:5; 1 Kings 8:46; Eccl. 7:20; Gal. 3:22; Rom. 3:10Ė18; James 3:1, 2; Eccl. 9:3, etc., &c: Ps. 14:2, 3; Jer. 17:9.
Universal Effects Require A Cause.
Now an effect requires a cause. Here is an effect, occurring under every variety of outward condition and influences, universal, constantly recurring, appearing immediately the time arrives in the human beingís life which permits it. There must be a universal cause, and that, within the human being himself. We may not be able to comprehend exactly how a moral habitus subsists in an undeveloped reason and conscience; but we are just as sure, that there is an innate germinal cause, in the human beingís moral nature, for all these moral results, as we are that there is, in young apes, an innate cause why no nurture or outward circumstances will ever by any possibility develop one of them into a Newton. This intuition is confirmed by Scripture. Luke 6:43Ė45, &c: Ps. 58:3, with verse 4.
6th. Argument From Prevalence of the Curse.
The universal prevalence of bodily death, with its premonitory ills, of bodily infirmity, a cursed ground, toil and hardship, show that manís depravity is total and native. These ills are a part of the great threatening made against Adam, and when inflicted on him, it was in immediate connection with spiritual death. Why suppose them severed, in any other case? It is vain to say that these things are not now the curse of sin, but a wholesome chastisement and restraint, and thus a blessing in disguise; for if man were not depraved, he would not need such a lesson. Why does not God see that Paradise is still manís most wholesome state, as it was Adamís? But from Gen. 2:17, onward, death is always spoken of as a punishment for sin. Then, where death goes, sin must have gone. Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:22. Especially the death of infants proves it; because they cannot understand the disciplinary effects of suffering and death. See especially the cases of the infants of Sodom, of Canaan, of Jerusalem, in Ezek. 9:6. Nor can it be said that infants die only by the imputed guilt of Adamís sin; for imputed guilt and actual depravity are never found separated in the natural man.
7th. From Need of Redemption.
The fact that all need, and some of all classes are interested in the redemption of Jesus Christ, proves that all have a sin of nature. For if they were not sinners, they would not be susceptible of redemption. Among the Redeemed are "elect infants dying in infancy," as is proved by Luke 18:16; Matt. 21:16 But infants have no actual transgressions to be redeemed from! Socinians and Pelagians talk of a redemption in their case, which consists neither in an actual regeneration nor forgiveness, but in their resurrection, and their being endued with a gracious and assured blessedness. But this is a mere abuse of Scripture to speak of such a process as the redeeming work of Christ for any human being. For His very name and mission were from the fact that He was to save His people from their sins. Matt. 1:21; 1 Tim. 1:15; Mark 2:17; Gal. 2:21; 3:21. Christ was sent to save men from perishing. John 3:16. His redemption is always by blood, because this typifies the atonement for sin. Sin is therefore coĖextensive with redemption.
8th. From Regeneration.
Again; the application of this redemption in effectual calling is evidence of native depravity. In order that Christ may become ours, it is most repeatedly declared that we must be born again. This regeneration is a radical and moral change, being not merely a change of purpose of life made by a volition, but a revolution of the propensities which prompt our purposes. This is proved by the names used to describe the change, a new birth, a new creation, a quickening from death, a resurrection, and from the Agent, which is not the truth, or motive, but almighty God. See John 3:5; Eph. 1:19 to 2:10. Now, if man needs this moral renovation of nature, he must be naturally sinful. We find our Savior Himself, John 3:5, 6, stating this very argument. The context shows that Christ assigns the sixth verse as a ground or reason for the fifth, and not as an explanation of the difficulty suggested by Nicodemus in the fourth. Moreover, the word sarx means, by established Scripture usage, not the body, nor the natural human constitution considered merely as a nature, but manís nature as depraved morally. Compare Rom. 7:14, 18; 8:4, 7, 8, 9; Col. 2:18; Gal. 5:16Ė24; Gen. 6:3.To this we may add, one of the meanings of circumcision and baptism was to symbolize this regeneration, (another, to represent cleansing from guilt by atonement.) Hence sin is recognized in all to whom these sacraments are applied by divine command. And as both were given to infants, who had no intelligent acts of sin, it can only be explained by their having a sin of nature.
9th. Scripture Proofs.
We have seen how the Bible asserts a universal sinfulness in practice, and how it sustained us in tracing that universal sin up to its source in a sin of nature. We close with a few specimens of other texts, which expressly assert original sin. Job 14:4; 15:14Ė16; Prov. 22:15; Ps. 51:5; Eph. 2:3.
The evasions to which the deniers of Original Sin are forced to resort, to escape these categorical assertions, are too numerous and contradictory to be recited or answered here. Let these texts be carefully studded in their scope and connection.
One of these I will notice: It has been objected that the innocence of children seems to be asserted in such places as Ps. 106:38; Jonah 4:11; John 9:3; Rom. 9:11; I explain, that this is only a relative innocence. The sacred writers here recognize their freedom from the guilt of all actual transgression, and their harmlessness towards their fellow men during this helpless age. This, together with their engaging simplicity, dependence, and infantile graces, has made them types of innocence in all languages. And this is all the Scriptures mean.
The Hebrew word bv'j; and the Greek, logizomai both mean primarily to think, then to deem or judge, then to impute or attribute. In this sense the former occurs in Ps. 32:2, and the latter in Rom. 4:6Ė8, as its translation. See also 2 Sam. 19:19; 2 Cor. 5:19; Gal. 3:6; James 2:23. Without going at this time into the vexed question, whether anything is ever said in Scripture to be imputed to any other than its own agent, I would define, that it is not Adamís sin which is imputed to us, but the guilt (obligation to punishment) of his first sin. This much misunderstood doctrine does not teach that Adamís act was actually made ours. This consciousness repudiates. We know that we personally did not will it. Nor does it mean that we are to feel personally defiled and blameworthy, with the vileness and demerit of Adamís sin. For us to undertake to repent of it in this sense, would be as preposterous as for us to feel selfĖcomplacency for the excellence of Christís righteousness imputed to us. But we are so associated with Adam in the legal consequences of the sin which closed his probation, and ours in his, that we are treated as he is, on account of his act. The grounds of this legal union we hold to be two; 1st the natural union with him as the root of all mankind; 2d the federal relation instituted in him, by Godís covenant with him. Now, we do not say that the Scriptures anywhere use the particular phrase, the guilt of Adamís sin was imputed to us; but we claim that the truth is clearly implied in the transactions as they actually occurred, and is substantially taught in other parts of Scripture.
If Adam came under the covenant of works as a public person, and acted there, not for himself alone, but for his posterity federally, this implies the imputation of the legal consequences of his act to them. The proof that Adam was a federal head, in all these acts, is clear as can be, from so compendious a narrative. See Gen. 1:22, 28, 3:15 to 19; 9:3. In the dominion assigned man over the beasts, in the injunction to multiply, in the privilege of eating the fruits of the earth, in the hallowing of the Sabbath, God spoke seemingly only to the first pair; but His words indisputably applied as well to their posterity. So we infer, they are included in the threat of death for disobedience, and the implied promise of Gen. 2:17. To see the force of this inference, remember that it is the established style of Genesis. See 9:25 verse 27; and Gen. 15:7; 16:12; 17:20; in each case the patriarch stands for himself and his posterity, in the meaning of the promise. But this is more manifest in Gen. 3:15Ė19 where God proceeds to pass sentence according to the threat of the broken Covenant. The serpent is to tee at war with the womanís seed. The ground is cursed for Adamís sin. Does not this curse affect his posterity, just as it did him? See Gen. 5:19. He is to eat his bread in the sweat of his face. Does not this pass over to his posterity? The woman has her peculiar punishment, shared equally by all her daughters. And in the closing sentence, death to death, we all read the doom of our mortality. So plain is all this, that even Pelagians have allowed that God acted here judicially. But Adamís posterity is included in the judgment. No better description of imputation need be required.
Imputation Confirmed By Experience.
A presumption in favor of this solution is raised by a number of facts in Godís providence. He usually connects the people and their head, the children and parents, in the consequences of the representativeís conduct. Wherever there is such a political union, this follows. Nor is the consent of the persons represented always obtained, to justify the proceeding. Instances may be found in the decalogue, Exod. 20:5, the deliverance of Rahabís house by her faith, Josh. 6:25; the destruction of Achanís by his sin, Josh. 7:24, 25; of the posterity of Amalek for the sins of their forefathers, 1 Sam. 15:2; of Saulís descendants for his breach of covenant with the Gibeonites, 2 Sam. 21:1Ė9; of the house of Jeroboam, 1 Kings 14:9, 10. and of the generation of Jews cotemporary with Christ, Matt. 23:35. So, nations are chastised with their rulers, children with their parents. It is not asserted that the case of Adam and his posterity is exactly similar; but cases bearing some resemblance to its principles show that it is not unreasonable; and since God actually orders a multitude of such cases, and yet cannot do wrong, they cannot contain the natural injustice which has been charged upon Adamís case.The doctrine of imputation presents an explanation of such veracity that its facticity is agreed upon by all, with the exception of Pelagians and Socinians. Manís is a spiritually dead and a condemned race. See Eph. 2:1Ė5, et passim . He is obviously under a curse for something, from the beginning of his life. Witness the native depravity of infants, and their inheritance of woe and death. Now, either man was tried and fell in Adam, or he has been condemned without a trial. He is either under the curse (as it rests on him at the beginning of his existence) for Adamís guilt, or for no guilt at all. Judge which is most honorable to God, a doctrine which, although a profound mystery, represents Him as giving man an equitable and most favored probation in His federal head; or that which makes God condemn him untried, and even before he exists.
Not To Be Accounted For By Mere Law of Reproduction.
Note here, that the lower Arminian view, in making manís fallen state by nature a mere result of the law: "Like must beget like," does not relieve the case. For who ordained that law? Who placed the human race under it, as to their spirits as well as their body? Was not God able to endue a race with a law of generation which should be different in this particular, or to continue the race of man by some other plan, as successive creations? The very act of God, in ordaining this law for man whom He purposed to permit to fall, was virtually to ordain a federal connection between Adam and his race, and to decide beforehand the virtual imputation of his guilt to them. For man is not a vegetable, nor a mere animal; but a rational, responsible person. The results of this law of reproduction prove to be, in the case of Adam and his posterity, just such as, when applied to rational agents, are penal. Now, the question is: Why does God subject souls, which have a personal liberty and destiny, to the dominion of a law which we see, in its other instances, merely vegetative and animal? This is the moral problem. It is no solution to say, that the case is such. To say this is only to obtrude the difficulty as the solution. If then, this extension of the law of reproduction was not a righteous, judicial one and based on the guilt of Adam, it was an arbitrary one, having no foundation in justice.
Argument From Romans 5th and 1 Corinthians 15th.
But the great Bible argument for the imputation of Adamís sin, is the parallel drawn between Adam and Christ, in 1 Cor. 15:21, 22, 45Ė49, and Rom. 5:12Ė19. The latter of these passages, especially has been the peculiar subject of exegetical tortures. See, for scheme of immediate imputationists, Hodge on Rom.; of moderate Calvinists, Baird, Elohim Rev., Chap. 14., and Calvin in loco . I shall not go over the expository arguments, for time forbids; and they are rather the appropriate business of another department; but shall content myself with stating the doctrinal results, which, as I conceive, are clearly established. In 1 Cor. 15: Adam and Christ are compared, as the first and the second Adam. In almost every thing they are contrasted; the one earthy, the other heavenly; the one source of death, the other of life; yet they have something in common. What can this be, except their representative characters? In verse 22, Adam is somehow connected with the death of his confederated body; and Christ is similarly (wsper Ö outw ) connected with the life of hIsa. But Christ redeems His people by the imputation to them of His righteousness. Must not Adam have ruined his, by the imputation to them of his guilt?
Exposition of Romans 5th.
In Rom. 5:12Ė19, it is agreed by all Calvinistic interpreters that the thing illustrated is justification through faith, which is the great doctrine of the Epistle to Romans, denied at that time by Jews. The thing used for illustration is Adamís federal headship and our sin and death in him, more generally admitted by Jews The passage is founded on the idea of verse 14, that Adam is the figure (tupo" ) of Christ. And obviously, a comparison is begun in verse 10. which is suspended by parenthetic matter until verse 18, and there resumed and completed. The amount of this comparison is indisputably this: that like as we fell in Adam, we are justified in Christ. Hence our general argument for imputation of Adamís sin; because justification is notoriously by imputation.
2. It is asserted verse 12, and proved vs. 13, 14, that all men sinned and were condemned in Adam; death, the established penalty of sin, passing upon them through his sin, as is proved, verse 14, by the death of those who had no actual transgression of their own.
3. The very exceptions of vs. 15Ė17 where the points are stated in which the resemblance does not hold, show that Adamís sin is imputed. Our federal union with Adam, says the Apostle, resulted in condemnation and death with Christ in abounding grace. In the former case, one sin condemned all; in the latter, one manís righteousness justifies all. The very exceptions show that men are condemned for Adamís sin.
4. In vs. 18, 19, the comparison is resumed and completed; and it is most emphatically stated that, as in Christ many are constituted righteous, so in Adam many were constituted sinners. Scriptural usage of the phrase kaqisthnai dikaioi , and what is taught of the nature of our justification in Christ, together with the usage of the phrase kaqisthnai dikaioi dikaiwsin zwh" , verse 18, by which it is defined, prove that it is a forensic change which is implied. Then it follows that likewise our legal relations were determined by Adam. This is imputation.
9. WE now group together the usual objections advanced by opponents against our argument for native depravity.
Objections. Adam Sinned; But Was Not Originally Corrupt.
It is urged, if the sinning of men now proves they have native depravity, Adamís sinning would prove that he had; since the generality of an effect does not alter its nature. I reply, the sophism is in veiling Adamís continued and habitual sinning, after he fell, with the first sin, by which he fell. Did we only observe Adamís habit of sinning, without having known him from his origin, the natural and reasonable induction, so far as human reason could go, would be, that he was originally depraved. But the proof would be incomplete, because our observation did not trace this habit up, as we do in the case of infants, to the origin of his existence. It is revelation which informs us how Adam became a habitual sinner, not inference. But if Adamís first sin be compared with his descendantís perpetual sins, the difference is, that an occasional effect requires an occasional cause; but a constant effect requires a constant cause.
Some Pelagians say, a selfĖdetermined, contingent will, is enough to account for all menís sinning. We reply: how comes a contingent force to produce always uniform effects? If a die, when thrown, falls in various ways, its falling is contingent. But if it always fall the same way, every gambler knows it is loaded.
Example. May It Account For It?
Pelagians offer the general power of an evil example, as the sufficient explanation why all men grow up sinners. Calvinists answer. (a). How comes it that the example is universally evil? This itself is the effect to be accounted for. (b). If there were no innate tendency to evil, a bad example would usually repel and disgust the holy soul. (c). All young immortals have not been subjected to an equally bad example; witness the godly families of Adam, Seth, Noah, Abraham, and the pious now, and above all, the spotless example of Jesus Christ. If the power of example were the decisive cause, these good examples (not perfect, but,) approximating thereto, would sometimes have produced an efficient upward tendency in some families.
May Influence of Sense Account For Sin?
Some say: Sense develops before reason; and thus the child is betrayed under the power of appetite, before its moral faculties are strong enough to guide him. I answer, mere animal appetite, without moral element, has no moral quality; it is the heart which gives the evil element to bodily appetite, not vice versa . But chiefly; we show that the result is uniform and certain: whence it would be the efficient result of Godís natural law; which makes it more obnoxious to the charge of making God the author of sin, than the Calvinistic theory.
Objections To Imputation.
Against the other element of original sin, the imputed guilt of Adamís first sin, it is also objected, that it cannot be true: for then God will appear to have acted with equal severity against poor helpless babes, who, on the Calvinistís theory, have no except total depravity never yet expressed in a single overt act against His law; and against Adam, the voluntary sinner: and Satan and his angels. We reply, No. All infinites are not equal. Pascal and Sir Isaac Newton have shown, that of two true infinites one may be infinitely larger than another. If the infant, Adam, and Satan, be all punished eternally, they will not be punished equally. Further; has it been proved that any infants who die in infancy, (without overt sin), are eternally lost? The question however is: are infants depraved by nature? And is this tendency of will to evil, morally evil? Then God is entitled to punish it as it deserves.
Objections From Scripture.
A Scriptural objection is raised, from such passages as Deut. 24:16. It is urged with great confidence, that here, the principle on which Calvinists represent God as acting, (God the pure and good Father in Heaven,) is seen to be so utterly wicked, that imperfect human magistrates are forbidden to practice on it. I reply; it is by no means true that an act would be wicked in God, because it would be wicked in man. e. g., Man may not kill; God righteously kills millions every year. But second: the object of civil government is very different from that of Godís government. The civil magistrate does not punish sin in order to requite absolutely its illĖdesert, (this is the function of God alone,) but to preserve the public order and wellĖbeing, by making an example of criminals. Now, of that element of guilt against society, the children of the murderer or thief are clear; for the magistrate to shed their blood for this, would be to shed innocent blood: i. e., innocent as to that element of guilt which it is the civil magistrateís business to punish. Here, let it be noted, the punishment of Achanís Saulís, etc., children, for their fathers, was the act of God, not the magistrate. The cases were exceptional.
Objections From Ezekiel 18:1Ė23 Answered.
Again: it is urged with much clamor, that in Ezek. 18:1Ė23, God expressly repudiates the scheme of imputation of fathersí sins to their posterity, for Himself, as well as for magistrates; and declares this as the great law of His kingdom: "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." We reply: He does not mean to disclaim the imputation of Adamís sin to the human race. For first: He does not mean here, to disclaim all principles of imputation in His Providence even as to parents and posterity subsequent to Adam. If you force this sense on His words, all you get by it is an irreconcilable collision between this passage and Exodus 20:5, and obvious facts in His providence. Second, if it were true universally of human parents subsequent to Adam, it would not follow as to Adamís first sin. For there is a clear distinction between that act of Adam, and all the sins of other parents. He alone was a federal head in a Covenant of works. The moment he fell, by that act, the race fell in him, and its apostasy was effected; the thing was done; and could not be done over. From that hour, a Covenant of works became inapplicable to man, and neither parents nor children, for themselves, nor for each other, have had any probation under it. So that the case is widely different, between Adam in his first sin, and all other parents in their sin. Third: the Covenant to which this whole passage has reference was, not the old Covenant of works, whose probation was forever past, but the political, theocratic Covenant between God and Israel. Israel, as a commonwealth, was now suffering under providential penalties, for the breach of that political covenant exactly according to the terms of the threatenings. (See Deut. 28.). But although that was indisputable, the banished Jews still consoled their pride by saying, that it was their fathersí breach of the national Covenant for which they were suffering. In this plea God meets them: and tells them it was false: for the terms of the theocracy were such that the covenantĖbreaking of the father would never be visited under it on the son who thoroughly disapproved of it, and acted in the opposite way. How far is this from touching the subject of Original Sin? But last: we might grant that the passage did refer to original sin: and still refute the objector thus: God says the son who truly disapproves of and reverses his fatherís practices, shall live. Show us now, a child of Adam who fulfills this condition, in his own strength; and we will allow that the guilt of Adamís sin has not affected him.
Adamís Representation A Humane Arrangement.
In defending the federal relationship instituted between Adam and his posterity against the charge of cruelty, let it be distinctly understood, that we do not aim to justify the equity of the arrangement merely by the plea that it was a benevolent one and calculated to promote the creatureís advantage. For if it were an arrangement intrinsically unrighteous, it would be no sufficient answer to say, that it was politic and kindly. God does not "do evil, that good may come; "nor hold that "the end sanctifies the means." But still, we claim that, as the separate charge of cruelty, or harshness, is urged against this federal arrangement, we can triumphantly meet it, and show that the arrangement was eminently benevolent; thus reconciling it to the divine attribute of goodness, so far as that is concerned in it. And further: while the benevolence of an arrangement may not be a sufficient justification of its righteousness, yet it evidently helps to palliate the charge of injustice, and to raise a presumption in favor of the equity of the preceding. If there were injustice in such a transaction, one element of it must be that it was mischievous to the happiness of the parties.
Its Benevolence Proved By Comparison.
The federal relation, then, was consistent with Godís goodness. Let the student remember what was established concerning the natural rights and relations of a holy creature towards his Creator. The former could never earn a claim, by natural justice, to any more than this: to be well treated to the extent of his natural wellĖbeing merely, as long as he behaves himself perfectly, or until God should see fit to annihilate him. If God condescended to any fuller communications of happiness, or to give any promise of eternal life, it must be by an act of free grace. And the covenant of works was such an act of grace. Now, a race of men being created, holy and happy, there were, as far as the human mind can imagine, but four plans possible for them. One was, to be left under their natural relation to God forever. The second was, to have the gracious offer of a covenant of works, under which each one should stand for himself, and a successful probation of some limited period, (suppose 70 years,) be kindly accepted by God for his justification, and adoption into eternal life. The third was, for God to enter into such a covenant of works, for a limited period, with the head of the race federally, for himself and his race, so that if he stood the limited probation, justification and adoption should be graciously bestowed on him, and in him, on all the race; and if he failed, all should be condemned in him. The last was the plan actually chosen: Let us compare them, and see if it is not far the most benevolent of the three.
The first plan, I assert, would have resulted, sooner or later, in the sin and fall of every member of the race, and that, with a moral certainty. (This may be the reason that God has condescended to a Covenant with each order of rational creatures after creating them). For creatures, no matter how holy, are finite, in all their faculties and habitudes. But, in an existence under law, i. e., under duty, requiring perpetual and perfect obedience, and protracted to immortality, the number and variety of exegencies or moral trials, would become infinite; and therefore the chance of error, in the passage of a finite holiness through them, would become ultimately a most violent probability, mounting nearer and nearer to a moral certainty. Whenever sin occurred, the mere natural relation of the soul to God would require Him to avenge it. Thus one after another would stumble, till ultimately all were lost. Were innocent creatures thus required to sustain and guide themselves, as they moved in their exact orbits around the throne of God: one after another would, in the lapse of an eternity, forsake the path, increase his centrifugal force, and fly off into outer darkness; leaving God at last, a sun without a planet. This plan would have been least benevolent.
But suppose each man allowed the privilege of a Covenant of works, for some limited time, to win the grace of adoption unto life by a perfect obedience for, say, 70 years, and beginning his probation with a perfectly innocent nature. How would that work? Why: have we not here, the very state of the case which Socinians and Pelagians say, actually prevails? Let manís experience then, even as interpreted by these heretics, give the answer how it works. Do they not admit that, by virtue of evil example, nearly all fall? Can they deny that the earth is full of misery and wickedness; and that none remain absolutely innocent? If then, our present state were consistently interpreted as a probation under a Covenant of works, in which any sin forfeits the prize; if Pelagians would be consistent, and not introduce the preposterous idea of pardon under such a plan, where it has no place; even they would be compelled to admit that this second scheme does actually result in a total failure. Under it, all are destroyed. It too, then has as little beneficence as the first. This, I grant, is an argumentum ad hominem ; but it is a just one. But we might leave the Pelagianís premises, and still reason, that the second scheme would only result in death. The actual failure of the first manís probation settles the question as to him. The next would have had the same chances of fall, aggravated by the evil example and enticements of the first; and soon, the current of evil would have become so general that all would go with it.
Advantage of Covenant of Works, With A Representative.
Let us come to the third plan. Is it said, that practically, all have died under that also, so that it is on a par with the other two? I answer, no; because the probabilities of a favorable issue were as great as could well be imagined, compatibly with leaving the creature mutable at all. For, instead of having a risk repeated millions of times, under circumstances increasingly untoward, only one risk was permitted. And this was under the most favorable possible conditions. The probationer had no human bad company; he was in the maturity of his powers and knowledge; whereas his posterity would have had to begin their trial in their inexperienced boyhood. He had the noblest motives to stand, imaginable. Had the probation resulted favorably, so that we had all entered existence assured against sin and misery, and the adopted heirs of eternal life, how should we have magnified the goodness of God in the dispensation? The grace bestowed through the first Adam, would have been only second in its glory, to that we now adore in the second! Now, the failure was not Godís fault; His goodness is just the same in the plan, as though it had eventuated well. It is no objection to say, that God foreknow, all the while, how unfortunately it would eventuate, and even determined to permit it. For this objection is no other than the one against the permission of evil; which no one can solve. It is but to restate the question: Why did not God just communicate Himself at once to every reasonable creature, so as absolutely to conform His will against sin, without proposing any covenant, or probation at all? There is no answer, but Matt. 11:26. This plan, the fourth and only other, being excluded, as stubborn fact proves it was, the federal arrangement made with Adam for his posterity, was the most liberal one.
Objection Against Justice of Imputation.
But the grand objection of all Pelagians and skeptics, is still repeated: How can it be justice, for me, who gave no consent to the federal arrangement, for me, who was not present when Adam sinned, and took no share in it, save in a sense purely fictitious and imaginary, to be so terribly punished for another manís deed. This is nothing else than the intrinsic injustice of punishing an innocent man for the fault of the guilty. As well might God have gotten up a legal fiction of a federal relation between Gabriel and Satan, and when the latter sinned, dragged Gabriel down, innocent, and even ignorant of any crime, to hell. Against such a plan, the moral instincts of man rebel. It is simply impossible that they should accept it as righteous.
Several Answers. 1. The Wesleyan Is Inadequate.
I have thus stated this objection in its full force. So far as I am aware, there have been five several expedients proposed for meeting it. 1. The Wesleyan says: the injustice would appear, if it were not remedied in the second Adam, in whom the imputation of Adamís guilt and original sin are so far repaired, as to give common sufficient grace to every child of Adam. So that the two dispensations ought to be viewed together; and what is harsh in one will be compensated in the other. This is inadmissible for many reasons; chiefly because there is no common sufficient grace; and because if this solution be adopted, then the gospel will be of debt, and not of grace.
2. President Edwardsí Also Inadequate.
We find President Edwards endeavoring to evade the objection, by asserting that our federal oneness with Adam is no more arbitrary, in that it was constituted by Godís fiat than our own personal identity: for that also is constituted only by Godís institution. If it be asked why it is just that I should be punished today, for a sin committed last year, our moral instincts answer: Because I am the same person who sinned. But the Pelagian objection urges that we are not one with Adam in any real sense, and therefore cannot be justly made guilty for Adamís sin. But. says Edwards: "What is personal identity; and is it any less arbitrary than our federal identity with Adam?" He answers: In no wise. Because our existence is dependent and successive. Its sustentation is a perpetual recreation. Its succession is a series of moments, of which one momentís existence does not cause or produce a succeeding momentís, not being coexistent with it, as cause and effect must always be. Hence, our continued identity is nothing else than a result of the will of God, sovereignly ordaining to restore our existence out of nihil , by a perpetual recreation, at the beginning of each new moment, and to cause in us a consciousness which seems to give sameness. I will venture the opinion that no man, not Edwards himself, ever satisfied himself, by this argument, that his being had not a true, intrinsic continuity, and a real, necessary identity, in itself. And it may usually be concluded, that when any scientific hypothesis conflicts thus with universal common sense, it is sophistical. In this case, a more correct Metaphysics has justified common sense. Our belief in our own identity is not derived from our remembered consciousness, but implied in it. Belief in identity is an a priori , and necessary conception. If it be not accepted as valid, there is no valid law of thought at all. When I speak of the I, a true and intrinsic continuity of being is necessarily implied. Nor is it true that because the moments of successive time are not connected, therefore the existence which we necessarily conceive of as flowing on in time, is disconnected in its momenta . We have seen that the notion of a perpetual recreation in the providential support of dependent being is unproved. Hence we repudiate this Edwardean speculation as worthless, and contradicted by our own intuitions.
Dr. S. J. Bairdís Unsound.
Another attempt is made to establish a real identity of Adamís posterity with him, so as to lay a seeming basis for the imputation, by a class of theologians represented by Dr. S. J. Bairdís "Elohim Revealed," who claim St. Augustine as of their party. They say, we are made guilty of Adamís sin, because "we sinned in him and fell with him," not merely in a putative and federal sense, but really and truly. Thus we are involved in a true and proper responsibility for the sin of Adam, because we were actually in him seminally, as our root. They teach that we become sinners in him, because the Nature sinned in him, and became guilty in him, as well as depraved; and this nature we have. Our nature they define to be that aggregate of forces, or attributes which constitute the human race what it is; and this, they hold, is not an abstraction when regarded distinctly from all individual men, but an objective reality, not indeed a substance, yet an entity. This nature, which thus sinned, and became guilty and depraved in Adamís act, is transferred as a real germ, to every human being from him; and hence depravity and guilt go along. This theory, while not exactly medieval Realism, is certainly something near akin to it; and the objections are of the same kind. That the phrase, human nature, expresses anything more than a complex. conception of our thought, when abstracted from any one and every one human person, is untrue. This nature, they say, is the aggregate of all the forces which characterize man as man. But have those forces, each one, separate existence, as abstracted from all the individual men whom they characterize? Has the attribute of risibility, e. g., separate existence from each and every risible being? Obviously not. How then can the aggregate of these attributes? Again: we cannot attach the idea of sin, morality, responsibility, and guilt to anything but a personal being. If the nature, along with which the depravity and responsibility are transmitted, has not personality, the theory does not help us at all. But if you give it personality, have you not gotten back to the common soul of Averroes, the halfĖway house of Pantheism? Third: if the imputation of Adamís guilt is grounded solely on the fact that the nature we bear sinned and was corrupted in him, must it not follow that Christís human nature is also corrupt, inasmuch as it was made guilty? And indeed is not our obeying and atoning in Him, through the community of the nature that obeyed and atoned, precisely as real and intrinsic, as our sinning and corrupting ourselves in Adam? For these reasons, we must reject this explanation as untrue, if anything more be meant by it, than a strong way of stating the vital truth, that imputation is partly grounded on the fact Adam was the natural head of the race.
Turrettin sufficiently gives us the history and author of the fourth scheme of imputation. Placaus said that the imputation of Adamís sin was only mediate, and consequent upon our participation in total native depravity, which we derive by the great law, that like begets like. We, being thus depraved by nature, and, so to speak, endorsing his sin, by exhibiting the same spirit and committing similar acts, it is just in God to implicate us in the same punishments.
Let it be remarked, first, that the charge made in the National Synod of Charenton, was, that Placaus had denied all imputation of Adamís guilt, and had made original sin consist exclusively in subjective depravity. This is precisely what the Synod condemned. It was to evade this censure, that he invented the distinction between an "antecedent and immediate imputation" of Adamís guilt, which he denied, and a "mediate and subsequent imputation," which he professed to hold. It appears then, that this invention was no part of the theology, of the Reformed churches, and had never been heard of before. So thought Dr. A. Alexander, (Princeton Review, Oct. 1839.) The distinction seems to have been a ruse designed to shelter himself from censure, and to lay a snare for his accusers. It was unfortunate that they, like his chief opponent, Andrew Rivet, fell into it, by advocating the "antecedent and immediate imputation," as the only true view. It does not appear to me that those who, with Rivet, have labored to show that this is the doctrine of the Reformed Symbols, have at all proved their point. The distinction is, like that of the Supralapsarian and Infralapsarian, an attempted overĖrefinement, which should never have been made, which explained nothing, and whose corollaries increased the difficulties of the subject.
Turrettin, and those who assert the "antecedent immediate imputation," charge that the scheme of Placaus is only Arminianism in disguise, and that it really leaves no imputation of Adamís guilt at all; inasmuch as they say it leaves the personal guilt of the childís own subjective corruption, as the real ground of all the penal infliction incurred by original sin. While these objections seem just in part, I would add two others: First. Placaus, like the lower Arminian, seems to offer the fact that God should have extended the law "like begets like," to manís moral nature, as an explanation of original sin. This, as I urged before, is only obtruding the fact itself as an explanation of the fact. To extend this law of nature to responsible persons, is an ordination of God. The question is: on what judicial basis does this ordination rest? Second: Placaus scheme is false to the facts of the case, in that it represents Adamís posterity as having, in Godís view, an actual, antecedent, depraved existence, at least for a moment, before they passed therefore under condemnation; whereas the Scriptures represent them as beginning their existence condemned, as well as depraved. See Eph. 2; 3.
In opposition to this scheme, Turrettin states the view of immediate imputation, which has since been defined and asserted in its most rigid sharpness by the Princeton school. It boldly repudiates every sense in which we really or actually sinned in Adam, and admits no other than merely the representative sense of a positive covenant. It says that the guilt of Adamís first sin, which was personally nobodyís but Adamís own, is sovereignly imputed to his posterity. Depravity of nature is a part of the penalty of death, due to Adamís sin, and is visited on Adamís children purely as the penal consequence of the putative guilt they bear. For sin may be the punishment of sin. Very true, after depravity of nature thus becomes personally theirs, it also brings an addition of personal guilt, for which they are thenceforward punished, as well as for actual transgressions. The grounds for this statement are chiefly these two: 1. That Rom. 5:12Ė20 asserts an exact parallel between our federal relation to Adam and to Christ so that, as the imputation of Christís righteousness to us, conceived as personally unrighteous, goes before procuring our justification, and then all sanctifying grace is bestowed working personal sanctification, as purchased by Christís righteousness for us; so, we must conceive Adamís guilt imputed to us, we being conceived as, in the first instance, personally guiltless, but for that guilt; and then depravity given us, working personal sin and guilt, as the mischievous purchase of Adamís federal act for us. And, as the parallel must be exact, if this view of original sin be rejected, then the view of justification must be modified "to suit;" making it consist first in an infusion of personal righteousness in the believer, and then the consequent accounting to us of Christís righteousness. But that is precisely the Roman Catholic justification. 2. The connection between the second Adam and His believing people, in the covenant of grace, includes an imputation which is the exact counterpart of that of the first Adamís guilt. This is the twoĖfold imputation of our sins to Christ, and of His righteousness to us. But the former of these is strictly an imputation of peccatum alienum to Christ; and the latter is an immediate imputation of His righteousness to us. Hence, if we deny this scheme of antecedent, immediate imputation, we must give up salvation by imputed righteousness, and there remains no way of escape for sinners.
I propose to dwell upon this question a little more than its congenital importance deserves. Having pronounced it a useless and erroneous distinction, I might be expected to dismiss it with scant notice. But it receives an incidental importance from the important truths connected with it. These are, most prominently, the difficulties concerning the righteousness of the imputation of Adamís guilt, and also, the nature of imputation in general, justification, union to Christ, Godís providence in visiting the sins of parents on children, (Exod. 20:5,) and the manner in which the ethical reason should be treated, when it advances objections against revealed truth.
I sustain my position, then, that this distinction between "mediate," and "immediate" imputation should never have been made, by showing that it causelessly aggravates the difficulties of the awful doctrine of original sin, exaggerating needlessly the angles of a subject which is, at best, sufficiently mysterious; that the arguments by which the immediate imputation must be sustained misrepresent the doctrines of the spiritual union and justification; and especially, that it is false to the facts of the case. In a mode the counterpart of Placaus it represents the child of Adam as having a separate, undepraved, personal existence, at least for an instant; until from innocent, it becomes depraved by Godís act, as a penal consequence of Adamís guilt imputed as peccatum alienum solely. But in fact, man now never has any personal existence at all, save a depraved existence. As he enters being condemned, so he enters it depraved. This overĖrefinement thus leads us to an error in the statement of fact, which matches that resulting from the opposite scheme. Does not this show very clearly, that the distinction should never have been made? And can those who advocate the "immediate, precedaneous imputation," after applauding the refutation of Placaus by the parallel argument, justly recoil from its application to themselves?
But it is argued, that since the imputation of our guilt to Christ is an immediate imputation of peccatum alienum grounded in His community of nature with His people, the parallelism of the two doctrines shuts us up to a similar imputation of Adamís guilt to us. I reply: the cases indisputably differ in two vital respects. It may be asked if both covenants do not rest on the principle of imputation? The answer is, of course, yes; both covenants involve the principle, that God may justly transfer guilt from one moral agent to another under certain conditions. But it does not follow, that He will do this under any conditions whatever. Does any one suppose, for instance, that God would have condemned holy Gabriel for Satanís sin, without any assent, complicity or knowledge, on the part of the former? But we shall find that the cases of Adam and Christ are conditioned differently in two important respects. First: Christís bearing our imputed guilt was conditioned on His own previous, voluntary consent. See John 10:18. All theologians, so far as I know, regard this as essential to a just imputation of peccatum alienum directly to Him. See, for instance, Dr. Thornwellís Mission Sermon of 1856. "It" (Christís covenant with the Father), "binds not by virtue of a right to command, but by virtue of a consent to obey." Butlerís Analogy. pt. 2, chap. 5, 7. Owen on Justif. p. 194. Chalmersí Theol. Inst., vol. I, p. 498.) If a man were to hold that the Father would have made this imputation of anotherís guilt upon His Son, in spite of the Sonís exercising His legitimate autocracy to refuse and decline it, I should consider that man past reasoning with. But Adamís infant children receive the imputation, when they are incapable of a rational option or assent about it. The other difference in the two cases, (which it seems amazing any one can overlook,) is the one pointed out in Rom. 5:16Ė19. and 6:23. For the judgment was by one to condemnation; but the free gift (verse 15, "gift by grace") is of many offences unto justification." The imputation of Adamís sin was a transaction of strict, judicial righteousness; the other transaction was one of glorious, free grace. Now, can any righteous judge be imagined, who would allow himself equal latitude in his judicial convictions, which he claims in his acts of voluntary beneficence? Would not the righteous magistrate answer, that in condemning, he felt himself restricted by the exact merits of the parties; but that in giving, he felt himself free to transcend their merits, and bestow what his generous impulses prompted? It may be praiseworthy to dispense blessings above the deserts of the beneficiaries; it cannot be other than injustice to dispense penalties beyond the deserts of the culprits. We thus find that the imputation to us from Adam, and from us to Christ, are unavoidably conditioned in different ways in part; in other respects they are analogous.
Our next point is founded on the admission, in which we are all agreed, that the imputation of Adamís guilt to us, is in part grounded, essentially, in the community of nature. But with which nature of Adam, are we united by the tie of race; the fallen, or the unfallen? Adam had no offspring until after he became a sinner. Then he begat even Seth, the father of the holy seed, "in his own likeness, after his image." (Gen. 5:3.) The Scriptures, from Job to Christ, assure us, that the thing which is born of the flesh is flesh. The race union obviously unites us with Adam fallen, in his corrupted nature. Hence we argue, that if this race union is one of the essential grounds of the imputation, it cannot be antecedent to that subjective corruption of nature, on which it is partly grounded. This reasoning has been felt as so forcible, that the advocates of immediate imputation have found it necessary to study evasions. One is, to argue that our federal union was with the nature of Adam unfallen, because the moment he fell, the covenant of works was abrogated. I reply: Not so; for if that covenant was then abrogated, it is strange that we are still suffering the penalty of its breach! The true statement is, that the broken covenant still remains in force, against all not in the second Adam, as a rule of condemnation; its breach by our representative only made it ineffectual as a rule of life. Another evasion is, to say, that our Nature had its representation and probation in Adam, before any of us had a personal existence, and while the nature in him was unfallen. I reply by asking: What sense do the words, "our Nature," have in this statement? Is it of the imputation of Adamís guilt to the Nature, that we are debating? or of its imputation to persons? Now, it is only a metaphor to speak of beings as bearing a relation to each other, while one of them, (Adamís descendant) is nonĖexistent as yet. Only existing beings sustain actual relations. The only other sense, in which the relation between me and Adam had an actual being before I existed, was as it stood in Godís decree. This may be illustrated by the counterpart doctrine of justification. The Conf. chap 11, 4, says: " God did from all eternity decree to justify all the elect, nevertheless they are not justified until the Holy Spirit cloth, in due time, actually apply Christ unto them." By parity of reasoning I hold, that God did, from all eternity, decree to condemn all men federally connected with Adam in his fall, nevertheless, they are not condemned actually, until they actually begin to exist in natural and federal union with their fallen head. But this is almost a truism.
Thus we pass to a corresponding argument from the dependence of the actual imputation of Christís righteousness to us upon a certain union between Him and us. All again admit this. What species of union is it? The spiritual union. This question and answer, like the touchĖstone, reveal the unsoundness of the opposing logic. The student will remember how it argues: That inasmuch as we must make an exact parallel between the imputation of Adamís guilt and Christís righteousness, we must hold that the imputing of the guilt of Adamís first sin precedaneously and immediately as solely peccatum alienum must go before, upon the offspring conceived as so far personally innocent: and then, we must consider his subjective depravity as following that putative sentence, and as the penal result thereof, or else the symmetry of the two cases will lead us from Placaus ground to conceive of justification thus: that God finds in the sinner an inherent righteousness, which mediates the imputation to him of the subsequent righteousness of Christ for his full acceptance. But this is virtually the vicious, Papal view of justification. True, I reply: this explodes Placaus but it also explodes their own scheme. For if we make justification correspond, by an exact symmetry, to the scheme of their "immediate, antecedent imputation," then we must logically arrive at this doctrine of justification: The sinner, while still in his depravity, apprehends Christís righteousness directly, gratuitously and antecedently, imputed to him; and then, as part of the consequent reward of that imputed merit, has regeneration wrought, infusing the sanctified nature of his redeeming Head into his soul. But as faith is in order to justification, this speculation must lead us to the following order. First, the convicted sinner, while unrenewed, exercises the initial saving faith. Second, he is thereupon justified. Third, he then procures, as one of the fruits of the reconciliation, a holy heart, like his Saviorís. Now, a moderate tincture of theology will teach any one that this is precisely the Arminian Theory of justification. And a little reflection will show, that he who makes faith precede regeneration in the order of causation, must, if consistent, be a synergist. Thus it appears that this scheme cuts off the Calvinistic doctrine of justification as rigidly as it does Placaus. That doctrine, as none have stated more clearly than Dr. Hodge, [as in Theol. vol. 2, p. 195,] distinguishes between inherent and legal righteousness. The latter no justified sinner has of his own, either at the moment he is justified, or ever after. The former, every believer partakes, through the grace of effectual calling, in order to the faith by which he receives justification. All intelligent Calvinists, so far as I know, teach that the application of redemption begins with effectual calling. The order they give is this: First, regeneration, implanting Christís spiritual life, by which the sinner is enabled to believe: Second, faith, and then justification. In short, the believer is not first justified in order to become a partaker of Christís nature. He is made a partaker of that nature, in order to be justified. The vital union is both legal and spiritual: community in Christís righteousness is one fruit; holy living is the other.
Once more: All Calvinists will concur with Dr. Hodge in stating, [Theol. vol. 2, pp. 196, 211], that since the ground of the imputation of Adamís guilt to us is the union of nature, the consequences of the fall come on us in the same order as on Adam. But now, I ask, was Adamís depravity solely a penal consequence of his first transgression? Surely not; for unless a depraved motive had prompted his act, it would not have carried guilt. The intention of the crime is what qualifies the act as criminal. In Adamís case, the subjective depravation (selfĖinduced) and the guilt, were simultaneous and mutually involved. Then, according to the concession made, the scheme of immediate, precedaneous imputation is surrendered. We return, then, to the consistent statement with which the discussion of original sin began: That the federal and representative union between Adam and his offspring, in the covenant of works, was designed to result thus whatever legal status and whatever moral character Adam should win for himself under his probation, that status and that character each of his children by nature should inherit, on entering his existence.
I have not appealed to the illustrative cases in which God visits the iniquities of parents on their children; because I do not regard them as strictly parallel to our federal union with Adam. Our parents now are not acting for us under a covenant of works. In this sense they are not our federal representatives, as Adam was. But as the attempt has been made to wield these cases against me, I willingly meet them. It has been said, for instance, that Achanís infant children, incapable of the sin of political treason and sacrilege, were put to death for their fatherís guilt. Does any one suppose, that they would have died by Godís order, if they had been as pure before Him, as the humanity of the infant Jesus? Hardly! The doctrine as taught by God, (Deut. 5:9; Matt. 23:32Ė35) is, that He now visits the guilt of sinful parents on sinful children. The Phariseesí filling up, by their own sins, the measure of their fathers, was the condition of their inheriting the penalty of all the righteous blood shed from Abel to Zacharias. This Turrettin teaches, Loc. 9, Qu, 9, against the interest of his own erroneous logic. Thus, we find, in this extensive class of providential dealings, cases of what Dr. Hodge correctly deems, true imputation. But the conditions are not identical with those which he claims for Adamís case.
I have said that the attempts made by Rivet and other later divines, to prove that their doctrine of immediate, precedaneous imputation is that of the Reformed Churches and symbols, are vain. My conviction is, that this scheme, like the supralapsarian, is a novelty and an overĖrefinement, alien to the true current of the earlier Reformed theology, and some of Placaus; day were betrayed into the exaggeration by the snare set for them by his astuteness, and their own overĖzeal to expose him. I beg leave to advance one or two witnesses in support. Stapfer, who has been erroneously quoted, as on Placausí side, says: (Vol. 4; ch. 17:78. Note.) "The whole controversy they" (impugners of the justice of imputation,) "have with us about this matter, evidently arises from this: that they suppose the mediate and the immediate imputation are distinguished one from the other, not only in the manner of conception, but in reality. And so indeed, they consider imputation only as immediate, and abstractedly from the mediate, when yet our divines suppose that neither ought to be considered separately from the other. Therefore I choose not to use any such distinction. While I have been writing this note, I have consulted all the systems of divinity which I have by me, that I might see what was the true and genuine opinion of our chief divines in this affair, and I found they were of the same mind with me." Markius, in DeMoor, says: If Placaus meant nothing more by mediate imputation, than that " hominum natorum actualem punitionem ulteriorem non fieri nudo intuitu Adamicś transgressionis, absque interveniente etiam propria corruptione, et fluentibus hinc sceleribus variis, neminem orthodoxonem posses habere obloquentem ." DeMoor quotes Vogelsang, (Com. vol. 3:p. 275,) as saying: "Certe neminem sempiterna subire supplicia propter inobedientia protoplasti, nisi mediante cognata perversitate." Calvin in his Inst. but more distinctly in his exposition of Rom. 5:12Ė19, teaches just the view I have given. This much belabored passage has been often claimed, as clearly teaching the immediate, antecedent imputation. Thus Dr. Hodge assumes. He claims that the correct interpretation of this passage, demands his view of the exact identity of the two imputations, in the Covenant of works, and of grace. He then, reasoning in a circle, defends his interpretation chiefly from the assumed premise of that identity. The details of his exposition seem to be more akin to those of the Socinian expositors, and of Whitby, than of the old Reformed. To me it appears, that Calvin shows a truer insight into the scope of the Apostleís discourse, and gives more satisfactory meanings of the particular phrases. The question is urged: Since Paul illustrates justification by original sin, must we not suppose an exact parallel between the illustration and the thing illustrated? I reply: We must suppose so real a resemblance as to make the illustration a fair one; but this does not include an exact parallel. Few scriptural illustrations present an exact one. I have showed that Dr. Hodgeís effort here to maintain one, is deceptive; and that if it were faithfully carried out, it would land us all in Arminianism, (where Whitby stood). The Apostle himself, in verse 13Ė17, makes exceptions to the exactness of his own parallel! In view of these facts, and of the silence of our Confession touching the exaggerated scheme, we treat the charge that we are making a defection from Calvinism by preferring the old, Calvinistic doctrine to the new one of Princeton, with the entire indifference it deserves.
But it is time to return to the rationalistic objection against the justice of imputation, which has been the occasion of the speculations reviewed. (See p. 338,). Dr. Hodge seems to dispose of this objection, by simply disregarding it. The amount of satisfaction he offers to the recalcitrant reason is: God makes this immediate imputation, and therefore it must be right, whatever reason says. Whether this is wise, or prudent, or just logic, we shall see. All the other writers I have read, who incline to the extreme view, betray a profound sense of this difficulty, by their resort to uneasy expedients to evade it. (We have seen those of Wesley and of Edwards: who belong to different schools of opinion from Turrettin, and from each other). But these evasions, if they satisfy themselves, do not satisfy each other. That adopted by Dr. Hodge, from Turrettin, (Loc. 9:Qu. 9:14; Theology, Vol. 2: p. 211) is, that the penalty we incur from Adamís imputed guilt is, (a) privative, and (b), positive. The former, involving simply the lack of original righteousness, is visited on us by the immediate, precedaneous imputation. The latter, carrying spiritual death and all positive miseries, is imputed mediately. Though the second inseparably follows the first, yet they are to be thus distinguished. Dr. Thornwell effectually explodes this evasion for us. (Works, Vol. 1: p. 333). He asks: if the child of Adam is initially pure, is there any less difficulty in a just and Holy Godís treating him as a sinner, than in His causing him to be a sinner? And if this penal treatment (on imputation of peccatum alienum ) does cause him to be a sinner, have we not both the difficulties on our hands? For, second: the distinction between a privative, and a positive depravation is, for a Calvinist, utterly inconsistent. Turrettin, when arguing against Pelagians and Papists, has himself proved that the privative state of a lack of original righteousness is, ipso facto , positive depravity. So says common sense. That a rational creature of God, knowing His perfections, and His own accountability, should fail to love and reverence Him, is itself to be in a positively unholy state. I add, third, that even if the distinction were allowed, yet if from the privative, the positive depravation unavoidably and naturally follows, then the same judicial act which inflicts the one has also inflicted the other. The executioner, who swings off the felon to be hanged, from the platform of the gibbet, does thereby choke him to death.
Dr. Thornwell, in turn, after looking the doctrine of immediate precedaneous imputation steadily in the face, finds himself constrained to seek a palliation for its difficulty, in the same direction from which he had sought to recall Dr. S. J. Baird a few years before. On pp. 349, 350, of his Lectures, he says: "On these grounds I am free to confess, that I cannot escape from the doctrine, however mysterious, of a generic unity in man, as the true basis of the representative economy in the covenant of works. The human race is not an aggregate of independent atoms, but constitutes an organic whole, with a common life springing from a common ground. There is in man what we may call a common nature. That common nature is not a mere generalization of logic, but a substantive reality." Thus, the stress of the rationalistic objection appears to him so heavy, that it drives him to the solution he had before refuted. For the reasons stated on p. 339, this resort appears to me invalid. It is true, Adam was "the root of all mankind." This race unity is, as our Confession states, an allĖimportant condition of the federal union. But apart from each human person, we see in this raceĖunity no moral, and still less any personal entity, to be the subject of responsibility.
The difficulty then recurs: Is the doctrine of original sin founded on that which seems to the natural conscience an intrinsic injustice, punishing innocent persons, without their consent, for another manís sin? Let the student bear in mind, that we have no intention of denying the mysteriousness of the divine dispensation of the fall of our race in their first father. It is an inscrutable providence. But while the view I sustain, leaves it enveloped in a mystery which the wisest and best of us most clearly see will never be solved in this world; the advantage I claim is, that it leaves the doctrine in a state where no man can convict it of injustice. This advantage appears in two ways. First: man reasons chiefly by parallel instances; his reasoning is comparison. Consequently, in a case wholly unique, where there is no parallel, while he may not comprehend, he cannot convict of injustice. The case is above his grasp; he has no experimental scales in which to weigh it. Second: our fall in Adam, as properly stated, lacks the essential point wherein the caviler finds, in the instance of his pretended parallel, the intrinsic injustice. But it is evident, on consideration, that, upon the theory of immediate imputation, that essential point is yielded to the caviler. It is, that the innocent is punished, without his consent, for the guilty. Let us suppose the case usually cited for illustration, the peaceful citizen charged, under human laws, with the putative guilt of a murder to which he had not consented. This injustice is indisputable. But let us see what is involved in the fact of personal innocency in this case; for there lies the basis of our moral judgment about it. It means that this peaceful citizen has complied with the prohibitory laws of his country, in refraining from all injury to othersí lives. But a law, sustained by sanction, is of the nature of a covenant with the citizens. The man who has actually kept the law has thereby earned his covenanted title to immunity. This is what this man means, by claiming his innocency. He has been invested by the covenant of the law itself, with this title to immunity, before the putative murder was committed, and he can now be righteously divested of this title only by his own transgression. To impute to this man now, the guilt of peccatum alienum divests him of this preĖexistent righteous title to immunity. There is the impregnable ground upon which he will resist the charge.
Now, let us represent imputation as the Scriptures do, and the sinner fallen in Adam has no such argument to use. He does not approach the judicial issue clothed with a preĖexisting, personal title to favor, derived from a previous, personal rectitude under a covenant of works. For, previous to his condemnation in Adam, he has no personal, innocent existence, not for one moment, not even in any correct order of thought; for he has had no actual existence at all. He enters existence depraved, as he enters it guilty; he enters it guilty as he enters it depraved. This is the amount of his federal union with Adam; that the offspring shall have, ab initio , the same legal status and moral nature, which his head determined for himself, by his acts while under probation. This statement is strictly correspondent to the facts revealed and experienced. And it has this great advantage, that it leaves the sinner, fallen in Adam, no pretext to complain that he has been stripped of any just personal title to immunity, by thus bringing him under putative guilt. For he had no such personal title to be stripped of, seeing he had no personal existence at all, prior to the depravity and guilt. This dispensation of God, then, remains unique, without any parallel in any human jurisprudence. It is solemn, mysterious, awful; but it is placed where it is impossible to convict it of injustice on Godís part. That His exercise of His sovereignty in this strange dispensation is holy, righteous, benevolent, and wise, we have this sufficient proof; that He has given His own Son, in free grace, to repair the mischiefs which human sin causes under the case. Let us remember, that the covenant of paradise was liberal, equitable, and splendidly beneficent in its own character. Its failure was exclusively manís and Satanís fault. God has not been the efficient of any manís sin or depravation, but only the permissive Disposer: the only efficients of both evils have been men and their spiritual seducers. In the great, gospel Remedy, God is real Efficient.
12. That oneís view of original sin will be decisive of his whole system of theology, is obvious from the familiar truth; that the remedy is determined by the disease. As is the diagasis , so will be the medical treatment. If the Pelagian view of human nature prevails, the corresponding view of its regeneration must prevail. Thus, faith, repentance, and the other essential graces of the new life, will be traced to the human will as their source. Then, the officeĖwork of the Spirit will be degraded; and the Socinian result, which denies His personality will be natural. The analysis of Nestorianism will show us also, how the same view of human nature and of freeĖagency, will modify the doctrine of the Hypostatic Union, preparing the way for a belief in a merely human Christ.
But if the scriptural doctrines of native depravity and federal representation be firmly held, then there will follow, as reasonable corollaries, all the points of the Calvinistic, or Augustinian scheme, supernatural regeneration, unconditional election, perseverance in grace, divinity of Christ, and personality and divinity of the Holy Spirit.