Part 2 Chapter 2

Section 10—Romans 5:19.

For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners.

The reason why this text comes to be considered in this discourse of election is, because it is said,[1] that the "foundation of this decree is laid in the sin of Adam, imputed by God's arbitrary will to his posterity." Though this author must needs have known, that the Supralapsarians especially consider the decree of election as antecedent to and irrespective of the fall of Adam; and therefore the sin of Adam, and the imputation of it to his posterity could not be the foundation of such a decree which has no other foundation than the sovereign will and pleasure of God. However, I shall consider the objections made to this doctrine.

1st. As to the objections[2] made against "Adam's sin being every man's personal sin and consented to by every man's personal will; because it is said,[3] in Adam there was not only the will of one singular man but the universal will of all mankind, and of every, singular person," I have no concern with; let such who fall in with these assertions defend them: for I must own, that if Adam's sin is every man's personal sin, then every man must have personally existed in Adam, and personally sinned in him; and then this sin being personal with respect to them, must also be actual; and so the distinction between original and actual sin must drop. Moreover, if this is every man's personal sin, it must be their own; and then they are not made sinners by another, but by their own disobedience; and not by the sin of one, but by the sin of many. Besides, this seems repugnant to the doctrine of the imputation of Adam's sin to his posterity: since, if it is their personal sin, then not theirs by imputation, in the sense we use the word, and which is the doctrine we undertake to defend. But,

2ndly It is said,[4] that it "cannot truly be affirmed that we all sinned in Adam, and by his disobedience were made sinners; because his sin and disobedience was, by God's arbitrary will, imputed to us. For,

1. "The Scripture nowhere maketh mention of anything of another's imputed to any man for reward or guilt, but only of some personal thing or action of his own." To which I reply, that the imputation of Adam's sin is not to be placed to the mere arbitrary will of God; but the ground and foundation of it is the law, or covenant of works, made with Adam, and broken by him, as the federal head of his posterity: the constitution and tenor of which was, that what, he did as such, either in a way of sin, or righteousness, should be imputed to his posterity. And when we use the word imputation,we use it not in a moral sense, as when a man's own personal action, good or bad, is accounted to him: but in a forensic sense, as when the debts of one man are in a legal way transferred, and placed to the account of another. And in this sense, the Scripture makes mention of the things of one imputed to another for guilt, or for obligation to payment in punishment; as when Paul said (Philemon 1:18) to Philemon, concerning Onesimus, if he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee anything, put that on my account,touto emoi ellogoi,let that be imputed to me; in this sense God laid on Christ, made to meet upon him, and imputed to him, the iniquity of us all;and he, by imputation was made sin for us:and on the other hand God imputeth to us his righteousness, without any consideration of our works (Isa. 53:6; 2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 4:6).

2. It, is argued,[5] "either this imputation makes the sin of Adam truly ours, or it does not; if it does not, how can we be made sinners by it? if it does, then death came upon us for our sin;and so not for the sin of one,but for the sin of all." I answer, the imputation of Adam's sin makes it truly ours in the same sense as the imputation of Christ's righteousness makes that truly ours. Now the imputation of Christ's obedience and righteousness, though it makes it truly ours, gives us an interest in it, so as that we have the benefit of it, and it is styled the righteousness of the saints;yet it does not make Christ's obedience our act, nor so ours, but, that it is still another's, and distinct from our righteousness, and is in Christ as its proper subject and author, though put upon us, and imputed to us. So the imputation of Adam's sin, though it makes it truly ours, so that we are involved in the guilt; and punishment of it through the federal relation he stood in to us; yet it does not make it our act, or so ours, but, that it is his act, and is distinct from our actual transgressions, and is only ours by imputation; and so we are mane sinners by, and death comes upon us for, not our sin, nor the sin of all, but of one.

3. It is asked,[6] "Whether this imputation made the posterity of Adam sinners, or whether it found them so before? If the latter, it was plainly needless, for they might have been condemned to death without it; if the former, then, since this imputation is the act of God, and not of man, it, plainly follows that God must be the author of this sin." I reply, that though this act makes them sinners, yet not inherently, only imputatively; it puts sin upon them, and reckons it to them, but does not put any sin in them. And though this imputation is God's act, it does not follow that therefore he is the author of this sin: the imputation of Christ's righteousness is God's act, yet not he but Christ is the author of that righteousness; so, though the imputation of Adam's sin to his posterity is God's act, yet not God but Adam is the author of the sin. And whereas it is insinuated,[7] that this "imputation must be false, as charging them with sin whom he did not find sinners;" it should be observed, what has been already said, that; imputation is to be taken not in a moral but forensic sense; and does not imply any false measure taken, or wrong judgment passed, any more than when the debts of one man are by agreement reckoned to another, who previous to that imputation owed the creditor nothing And whereas it is further urged,[8] that "if Adam's sin becomes ours only by imputation it deserves condemnation only by the same to which action of God it is to be ascribed whence, according to this opinion, man's destruction must be of God." It may be replied, that as the placing of one man's debt to another's account by agreement which is no criminal action, is not that for which the other man is cast into prison and suffers, but the debt itself; so it is not the imputation of Adam's sin, but the sin imputed, for which condemnation and death passed upon men.

4. It is observed,[9] that "we are not guilt of any other sin of Adam; therefore we are not guilty of the first sin of Adam." But this does not follow, the reason for the one and the other not being the same: when Adam committed his first sin, he stood as a federal head to his posterity, which is the true reason of their being involved in it; but upon his commission of this sin, he ceased to stand in this relation, the covenant was broken, and it was hereafter impossible for him to perform sinless obedience, and in that way convey life to his offspring. He ceasing to be their covenant-head, they have no farther concern with him, or what he did afterwards; hence neither his after sins, nor his repentance, nor good works, are imputed to them; and this may be an answer to such queries,[10] why "should they be charged only with his first, and not with his following transgressions? or, why should his guilt rather be imputed to them than his repentance?" But,

3rdly The covenant, or "compact made with Adam,[11] is represented as forged, exceeding cruel, and plainly inconsistent with the justice, wisdom, and goodness of our gracious God; and invented to excuse him from cruelty, in subjecting myriads of men and infants to the most direful lasting torments, which without this imaginary pact he could not with the least pretense of justice do." That Adam was a covenant-head to his posterity may be proved, which he could not be if there was no covenant subsisting; besides, those words of God to Adam (Gen. 2:15, 17). Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shall not eat of it, for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die, are expressive of a covenant. The threatening of death in a case of disobedience implied and included a promise of life in case of obedience. This being proposed to Adam, and he consenting to it, formally constituted a covenant; in which he was considered not as a private but public person, having all his posterity in his loins. This compact therefore is no forgery; and where is the cruelty of it? since had Adam stood, his posterity had been partakers of his righteousness, and of all the benefits and advantages arising from it. Yes, but then it is said, his righteousness was a defective one, liable to be lost, either afterwards by himself, or some one of his posterity, which would have put them in the same sad case they are now. But why should it be thought that Adam's righteousness would have been any more defective than that of the angels? Why may it not as well be concluded, that has Adam stood upon the trial of his obedience, that he and his posterity would have been secured from after-falling, or been made impeccable as the angels are? And where is the inconsistence of this compact with the justice, wisdom, and goodness of God. Did not God make a covenant with Abraham, and by it obliged his posterity in future ages to the observance of circumcision? Is it any unusual thing, or an unjust, or an unwise action, for men to make covenants, and bind their children unborn to the performance of them. Has it not been reckoned just both with God and men, that in some cases children should be punished for their parents' sins? Does not God say, that he will visit the iniquities of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate him? (Ex. 20:5). Does not the treason of a nobleman taint his blood, and involve his posterity, until restored? Is not such a procedure according to the law of nature and nations, and justified by the sense and practice of mankind?

4thly. It is said,[12] that the words of the apostle, by one man's disobedience many were made sinners,must have a metonymical sense; and the meaning is, that they were obnoxious to death for his sin,or that they become sinners by a metonymy of the effect, by suffering the punishment God had threatened to Adam for it. But this is to depart from the proper signification of the phrase; no instance can be produced of the apostle's using it in this sense, either in the context or elsewhere: the word amartwloi always signifies persons guilty of a fault, and only obnoxious to death for that fault. This sense of the words is contrary to the apostle's scope and design, which is, to give an account of the original of sin, and how condemnation and death came upon men through Adam's sin, and their being made sinners by it, is contrary to the distinction he all along makes between sin and death, the one being the cause, the other the effect, and is to be disproved by the sense of the opposite part of the text, by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.The active obedience of Christ is opposed to Adam's act of disobedience; the righteous are opposed to sinners;and a being made righteous by the one, is opposed to a being made sinners by the other. Now, by the rule of opposition, as to be made righteous by Christ's obedience, is to be formally constituted and accounted so for the sake of his obedience and righteousness; and, in consequence of it, such become partakers of freedom from condemnation and death. So to be made sinners by Adam's disobedience, is to be formally constituted and esteemed sinners on the account of it; and, in consequence thereof, become obnoxious to condemnation and death. Nor will the parallel of Christ bearing our sins,and being made sin for us,at all help this sense of the words; since Christ bore our sins, and was made sin for us, not barely by bearing and suffering the punishment of sins, but by the imputation of them to him; in consequence of which imputation he was made a curse, and bore and suffered the punishment due to sin. And, after all, it will not be easy to reconcile this with the justice of God, that men should be obnoxious to death for Adam's sin, and suffer the punishment threatened him, when they are no ways chargeable with the guilt of it; what reason can be given, why they should suffer death for that sin of which they are in no sense guilty?


[1] Whitby, p.. 77; ed. 2.76.

[2] Ibid. p. 79-81; ed. 2.78, 79.

[3] Davenant's Animadv. on Hord, p. 231.

[4] Whitby, p. 81; ed. 2.80.

[5] Whitby, p. 81; ed. 2.80.

[6] Whitby, p. 81; ed. 2.80.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid. p. 82; ed. 2.81.

[9] Ibid. p. 81; ed. 2.80.

[10] Whitby, p. 79; ed. 2.78.

[11] Ibid. p. 83, 84; ed. 2.82, 83.

[12] Whitby, p. 85; ed. 2.81.

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