« PreviousContinue »
In which she tells Æneas, that not a goddess was his mother, nor Anchises his father ; but that he had been brought forth by a horrid rocky mountain, and nursed at the dugs of tigers, to represent the greatness of his cruelty to her. But how unlike and unparallel is this ? Nothing could be more natural, than for a woman overpowered with the passion of love, and distracted with raging jealousy and disappointment, thinking herself treated with brutish perfidy and cruelty, by a lover whose highest fame had been his being the son of a goddess, to aggravate his inhumanity and hard-heartedness with this, that his behaviour was not worthy the son of a goddess, nor becoming one whose father was an illustrious prince : And that he acted more as if he had been brought forth by hard unrelenting rocks, and had sucked the dugs of tigers. But what is there in the case of David parallel, or at all in like manner leading him to speak of himself as born in sin, in any such figurative sense! He is not speaking himself, nor any one speaking to him, of any excellent and divine father and mo. ther, of whom he was born: Nor is there any appearance of his aggravating his sin, by its being unworthy of his high birth. There is nothing else visible in David's case, to lead him to take notice of his being born in sin, but only his having such experience of the continuance and power of indwelling sin, after so long a time, and so many and great means to engage him to holiness : which shewed that sin was inbred, and in his
Dr. T. often objects to these and other texts, brought by divines to prove original sin, that there is no mention made in them of Adam, nor of his sin. He cries out, Here is not the least mention or intimation of Adam, or any ill effects of his sin upon us.—Here is not one word, nor the least hint of Adam, or any consequences of his sin, &c. &c.* He says, "If Job and his friends had known and believed the doctrine of a corrupt nature, derived from Adam's sin only, they ought in reason and truth to have given this as the true and only reason of the human imperfection and uncleanness they mention." But these objections and exclamations are made no less impernently than frequently. It is no more a proof that corruption of nature did not come by Adam's sin, because many
times when it is mentioned, his sin is not expressly mentioned as the cause of it; than that death did not come by Adam's sin, as Dr. T. says it did. For though death, as incident to mankind, is mentioned so often in the Old Testament, and by our Saviour in his discourses, yet Adam's sin is not once expressly mentioned, after the three first chapters of Genesis, any
* Page 5, 64, 96, 97, 98, 102, 108, 112, 118, 120, 122, 127, 128, 136, 142, 143, 149, 152, 155, 229. f 142.
where in all the Old Testament or the four Evangelists, as the occasion of it.
What christian has there ever been, that believed the moral corruption of human nature, who ever doubted that it came in the way of which the apostle speaks, when he says, • By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin ?" Nor indeed have they any more reason to doubt of it, than to doubt of the whole history of our first parents, because Adam's name is so rarely mentioned on any occasion in scripture, after that first account of him, and Eve's never at all; and because we have no more any express mention of the particular manner in which mankind were first brought into being, either with respect to the creation of Adam or Eve. It is sufficient, that the abiding, most visible effects of these things remain in the view of mankind in all ages, and are often spoken of in scripture ; aud that the particular manner of their being introduced is once plainly set forth in the beginning of the Bible, in that history which gives us an account of the origin of all things. And doubtless it was expected by the great author of the bible, that the account in the three first chapters of Genesis should be taken as a plain account of the introduction of both natural and moral evil into the world. The history of Adam's sin, with its circumstances, God's threatening, the sentence pronounced upon him after his transgression and the immediate consequences, consisting in so vast an alteration in his state--and the state of the world, with respect to all his posterity--most directly and sufficiently lead us to understand the rise of calamity, sin and death, in this sinful, miserable world.
It is fit we all should know, that it does not become us to tell the Most High, how often he shall particularly explain and give the reason of any doctrine which he teaches, in order to our believing what he says. If he has at all given us evidence that it is a doctrine agreeable to his mind, it becomes us to receive it with full credit and submission; and not sullenly to reject it, because our notions and humours are not suited in the manner, and number of times, of his particularly explaining it. How often is pardon of sins promised in the Old Testament to repenting and returning sinners? How many hundred times is God's special favour there promised to the sincerely righteous, without any express mention of these benefits being through Christ? Would it therefore become us to say, that inasmuch as our dependence on Christ for these benefits is a doctrine, which, if true, is of such importance, God ought expressly to have mentioned Christ's merits as the reason and ground of the benefits, if he knew they were the ground of them; and should have plainly declared it sooner, and more frequently, if ever he expected we should believe him when he did tell us of
it !-How oft is vengeance and misery threatened in the Old Testament to the wicked, without any clear and express signification of any such thing intended, as that everlasting fire, where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth, in another world, which Christ so often speaks of as the punishment appointed for all the wicked ? Would it now become a christian to object and say, that if God really meant any such thing, he ought in reason and truth to have declared it plainly and fully; and not to have been so silent about a matter of such vast importance to all mankind, for four thousand years together?
Observations on various other Places of Scripture, principally of
the New Testament, proving the Doctrine of Original Sin.
Observations on John iii. 6. in Connection with some other Pas
sages in the New Testament.
Those words of Christ, giving a reason to Nicodemus, why we must be born again, John iii. 6. That which is born of the flesh, is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit, have not without good reason been produced by divines, as a proof of the doctrine of original sin : supposing that by flesh here is meant the human nature in a debased and corrupt state. Yet Dr. T. (p. 144.) thus explains these words, “ that which is born of the flesh is flesh; that which is born by natural descent and propagation, is a man consisting of body and soul, or the mere constitution and powers of a man in their natural state." But the constant use of these terms, flesh and spirit, in other parts of the New Testament, when thus set in opposition, and the latter said to be produced by the spirit of God, as here--and when expressive of the same thing which Christ is here speaking of to Nicodemus, viz. the requisite qualifications to salvation—will fully vindicate the sense of our divines. Thus in the 7th and 8th chapters of Romans, where these terms flesh and spirit, (oags and weupa are abundantly repeated, and set in opposition, as here. So chap. vii. 14. The law is (wvsumarix@) spiritual, but I am (capxıx@) carnal, sold under sin. He cannot only mean, 'I am a man consisting of body and soul, and having the powers of a man. Ver. 18. I know that in me, that is, in my FLESH, dwelleth no good thing. He does not mean to condemn his frame, as consisting of body
and soul ; and to assert, that in his human constitution, with the powers of a man, dwells no good thing And when he says in the la t verse of the chapter, with the min. I myself serve the law of God, but with the FLESH, the law of sin; he cannot mean, "I myself serve the law of God; but with my innocent human constitution, as having the powers of a man, I serve the law of sin. And when he says in the next words, the beginning of the 8th chapter, there is no condemnation to them,--that walk not after the FLESH, but ufter the spirit; and ver.4. The righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us, who walk not after the FLESH ; he cannot mean,
there is no condemnation to them that walk not according to the powers of a man,' &c. And when he says, (ver. 5. and 6.) They that are after the FLESH, do mind ihe things of the Flesh: and to be carnally minded is death; he does not intend, they that are according to the human constitution, and the powers of a man, do mind the things of the human constitution and powers; and to mind these is death.' And when he says, (ver. 7. and 8.) The carnal (or fleshly) mind is enmity against God, and is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be: so that they that are in the FLESH, cannot please God; he cannot mean, that to mind the things which are agreeable to the powers and constitution of a man,' who as our author says, is constituted or made right, is enmity against God; and that a mind which is agreeable to this right human constitution, as God hath made it, is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be; and that they who are according to such a constitution cannot please God.' And when it it is said, (ver. 9.) Ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, the apostle cannot mean, 'ye are not in the human nature, as constituted of body and soul, and with the powers of a man.' It is most manifest, that by the flesh here the apostle means a nature that is corrupt, of an evil tendency, and directly opposite to the law and holy nature of God; so that to walk according to it, and to have a mind so conformed, is to be an utter enemy to God and his law; in a state of perfect inconsistence with subjection to God, and of being pleasing to him ; and in a sure and infallible tendency to death and utter destruction. And it is plain, that here by walking after, or according to the flesh, is meant the same thing as walking according to a corrupt and sinful nature ; and to walk according to the spirit, is to walk according to a holy and divine nature or principle; And to be carnally minded, is the same as being viciously and corruptly minded ; and to be spiritually minded, is to be of a virtuous and holy disposition.
When Christ says, John iji. 6. That which is born of the FLESH IS FLESH, he represents the flesh not merely as a quality : for it would be incongruous to speak of a quality as a thing born. Therefore man, as in his whole nature corrupt, is called flesh; which is agreeable to other scripture representations, where he corrupt nature is called the old man, the body of sin, and
the body of death. Agreeable to this are those representations in the 7th and 8th chapters of Romans. There, flesh is figuratively represented as a person, according to the apostle's manner. This is observed by Mr. Locke, and after him by Dr. T. who takes notice that the apostle, in the 6th and 7th of Romans, represents sin as a person; and that he figuratively distinguishes in himself two persons, speaking of flesh as his person,
For I know that in me, that is in my Flesh, dwelleth no good thing. And it may be observed, that in the 8th chapter he still continues this representation, speaking of the flesh as a person. Accordingly, in the 6th and 7th verses, he speaks of the mind of the flesh, (pgovnice dagx@,) and of the mind of the spirit, (gornja sveuaTG) as if the flesh and spirit were two opposite persons, each having a mind contrary to that of the other. Dr. T. interprets this mind of the flesh, and mind of the spirit, as though the flesh and the spirit were the different objects, about which the mind is conversant. But this is plainly beside the apostle's meaning ; who speaks of the flesh and spirit as the subjects in which the mind is; and in a sense the agents, but not the objects about which it acts. We have the same phrase again, ver. 27. He that searcheth the hearts, knoweth what is the MIND OF THE SPIRIT, (ogovnua TVEULAT 1.) The mind of the spiritual nature in the saints is the same with the mind of the spirit of God himself, who imparts and actuates that spiritual nature; and here the spirit is the subject and agent, but not the object. The same apostle, in a similar manner, uses the word, (vss,) mind. Col. ii. 18. Vainly puffed up by his FLESHY MIND, (απο τα νού της σαρκο αυτε,) by the mind of his flesh. And this agent so often called flesh, represented by the apostle as altogether evil, without any good thing dwelling in it, or belonging to it-yea perfectly contrary to God and his law, and tending only to death and ruin, and directly opposite to the spirit—is what Christ speaks of to Nicodemus as born in the first birth, and furnishing a reason why there is a necessity of a new birth, in order to a better production.
One thing is particularly observable in that discourse of the apostle—in which he so often uses the term flesh, as opposite to spirit—that he expressly calls it sinful flesh, Rom. viii. 3. It is manifest, that by sinful flesh he means the same thing with that flesh spoken of in all the context : And that when it is said, Christ was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, the expression is equipollent with those that speak of Christ as made sin, and made a curse for us.
Flesh and spirit are opposed to one another in Gal. v. in the same manner as in the 8th of Romans. And there assu. redly, by flesh cannot be meant only the human nature of body and soul or the mere constitution and powers of a man, as in its