Page images
EPUB from the curse of the law, for if the law did not inflict death on the sinner, and yet required the death of Christ in order to his redemption, it inflicted on Christ what it would not have inflicted on the sinner, as a reward of his transgression, had there been no redeemer provided. It is clear then, that as the resurrection of the body has been secured by the death and resurrection of Christ, that the death of the body, which renders such a resurrection necessáry, 'must have been caused by the fall, or must be a part of the evil of sin. To deny this conclusion, would be to say that the mission, death, and resurrection of Christ would have been necessary to sea cure the resurrection of the dead, had not man sinned; and consequently, that Christ died and rose again, not so much to redeem man from the consequences of his own misconduct, as from the defects of that constitution which was given him by his Creator.

V. Death is said to be an enemy. 1 Cor. xv, 26. “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” Now if death was originally intended as the portion of every man, and that too of necessity, from the constitution of our nature, it is not possible to conceive how it can be dnienemy, either of God oriman. It would be absurd to say that God xcreted man subject to death, with an intention that he should die, and that death, which is just as God designed it should be, is, notwithstanding his enemy. As well might it be said that God is his uw.n.enemy !. Nor can it appear on the above principles, that death is the enemy of man. Had death been originally designed as the means of terminating our earthly existence, and introducing us into a more perfeot and permanent state of being, a state of certain' and eternal happiness; as Universalists affirm, there would not be that abfrorrence of death in the human breast that.naw.exists ideath would be welcomed by alts as jour.deliverer.sentito take:us to our abiding home, and dying:would be: as easy as to answer any other demand of nature......:

When nature is weary we calmly close our eyes on the light of day, and sink into refreshing slumber; and if man had been designed for death, when nature had performed her work, we should as calmly close our eyes on the light of time and retire on the wings of an expiring breath to our proper abode.

We will now bring this chapter to a close by considering some of the objections which have been urged against the doctrine of man's primitive immortality.

1. It has been sometimes objected that if man had been creo ated immortal, he could never have become mortal, as matter of fact now proves he is; since immortality implies the impossibility of becoming mortal. To this it is replied, that it is not contended that man was created absolutely immortal. It is admitteil that his body contained the same tendency to dissolution that it now possesses, in itself considered; but it is contended, at the same time, that the fruit of the tree of life would have counteracted this tendency, and preserved him in ever during vigor, had he not been cut off from it in consequence of his sin.

From this it will be seen, that man's original exemption from death, is not argued from his absolute immoitality, nor is it contended that death is the natural tendency of sin, but rather that it is an incidental or circumstantial effect of sin. Through sin man was expelled from the garden of Eden, and thereby cut off from the tree of life, and as this was designed to preserve him in being, his death fola lowed as a consequence of the change sin had effected in his circumstances, rather than by any direct effect it had produce ed, upon his constitution.

2. It has also been objected, that if man did not die, our race could not exist in so great a number of individual beings, since the earth would be too small to contain the swelling tribes of men, were it not that death removes one generation to make room for another. This, it is said, would diminish the amount of final good to be enjoyed by our race, in proportion as it lessened the number of individuals to enjoy good. To this it is replied, that we are not to suppose that this earth was designed as the place of man's ultimate abode, had death never entered the world; but only as the nursery of his being, in which to prepare to act in a more extended sphere beyond the limits of this terraqueous ball

. Matt. xxv. 34. " Come ye

blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." From this, it is clear that heaven or a future state of bliss and glory, was prepared for man as early as when the foundation of the world was laid ; therefore, it is certain that man was designed to fill a place in

the invisible world, from which it appears reasonable that he would have been duly translated from earth to heaven, had he never sinned, without passing through the disagreeable, loathsome, and painful gate of death through which he now passes into the future world. That this is possible, and more than probable, appears from the fact that some of the most holy have gone in this way from earth, overlooking the gate of death, and at the beck of God lit directly on the battlements of heaven. Enoch, who walked with God, was translated, that he should not see death, and was not found because God had translated him; and Elijah rode to heaven in a chariot of fire, that soared far above the valley of death, and bore the ascending prophet directly into the busom of heaven!

[ocr errors]

The fall of the first man, and the consequent depravity of

his descendants. UNIVERSALISTS generally deny the doctrine of moral depravity or inherent corruption of our nature, as the consequence of a first transgression, and maintain that every man enters upon the stage of this life, in moral circumstances as fayorable as those which attended the first man, with the exception of the influence of bad examples.

To this view we are opposed ; and having in the preceding chapter, considered the primitive state of.. man, we shall, in the present, offer a few obşervations on the subject of the fall, and subsequent depravity of all men. It is not however, our design in this work, to tiavel over the whole ground of antroversy on this subject, which has been occupied by voluminous and more able writers ; but simply to state a few of the arguments which, to us, appear to be the most clear and conclusive.... In: relation to this subject, two points are to be particularly noticed, viz, the fall of the first man, and the consequent-depravity of all men.

The fall of the first man, is what first claims our attention. In support of the doctrine of the fall, we urge the Mosaic account of the introduction of evil. This account states that God created man very good, and placed him in a garden in Eden,

in the midst of which stood the tree of knowledge, of good and evil, the fruit of which God forbade him to take on pain of death ; and that the woman was beguiled by the serpent, partook of the interdicted fruit, and gave also to the man, who was, consequently, involved with her in the transgression. This account, if literally interpreted, must be decisive; hence, those who reject the doctrine of the fall, as generally understood by the church, allegorise the Mosaic account of it. To shew that a literal construction only, can be made to agree with the sacred record, shall now be the object of a few remarks.

I. The Mosaic account of the fall, is embraced in a series of historical events, all of which, this excepted, are acknowledged. to be literal, involving literal and real transactions. The planting of the garden in Eden, stands connected with the creation of the world and the formation of mạn, in a manner which shows that the one is as literal as the other ; hence, if we have a literal account of the creation of a literal heaven and earth, we have also an account of a literal garden, in which the transactions of the fall took place. Gen. ii. 7, 8. “ And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.

And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there he put the man whom he had formed.” Here the planting of the garden is connected with the formation of man out of the dust of the ground, with a positive assertion, that in this garden the Lord put the man whom he bad formed.” Now, if the garden was not a literal and real one, the man, whose existence is so intimately connected with it, and who was put in it, could not have been a literal man.

If the account of the garden be an allegory, the account of the man who was formed in connection with it, and put into it must be an allegory also. Hence we are constrained to admit that the garden was a literal garden, or that we are to this day destitute of any literal account of the origin of the human family. Again, the sacred historian ceeds directly from the scenes of the garden, to record literal transactions which are made to depend thereon, so far as the order of time in which these different events took place, is concerned. The writer after concluding the story of man's



expulsion from the garden, proceeds directly to relate literal transactions, which he connects therewith by the copulative conjunction, making it a part of the same narration. The creation of man and the birth of Cain and Abel are acknowledged by all believers in revelation, to be literal events : now, these two events are connected with each other by the intervening transactions of the garden, which must also be literal transactions, or the history would be broken and incorrect. The inspired penman separates the creation of man from the birth of Cain and Abel, by what is said to have transpired in the garden, the eating of the forbidden fruit, &c. Now, if the transactions said to have taken place in the garden, were not literal and real, the link is broken, and the account of the order of events is false ; for it represents the creation of man as severed from the birth of the first sons of man by the intervention of a train of other events; whereas no such events took place, if the account of the garden and its reputed scenes are a mere allegory. These considerations are sufficient to show that the account of the transgression and fall of the first man is literal and real.

II. The garden of Eden, with the events which are said to have transpired therein, are referred to in other portions of the holy scriptures, as involving literal facts. Gen. iv. 16. “And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and dwelt in the land of Nod on the east of Eden." That this is a literal reference to Eden, cannot be doubted by any one, who considers the connection in which it stands. Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground: Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord, and Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock: God had respect unto Abel's offering but not unto Cain's, in consequence of which Cain was wroth and slew his brother; for which he was banished, and went to the land of Nod on the east of Eden. Here reference is made to the geographical boundaries of Eden, to describe the settlement of Cain. Now, can any one suppose that the Holy Ghost dictated a reference to a place which had no real existence, to describe the local situation of another place, real in existence, from their geographical affinity; and yet, to such a consequence are we driven, if we deny the literality of the Mosaic account of the fall. If Eden

« PreviousContinue »