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because it was doubtless on the east that Adam retired, when God drove him out of the garden; but while the flaming sword was placed at the east, appearing in front of the garden, to guilty and retiring man, it turned every way to prevent bis re-entering from another direction. On the subject of the cherubims, Dr. Clark has made the following remark.
6. These angelic beings were, for a time, employed in guarding the entrance to paradise, and in keeping the way or road to the tree of life. This I say, for a time, for it is very probable that God soon removed the tree of life, and abolished the garden ; so that its situation could never after be positively ascertained.” We trust we have now shown that the first man fell from a state of holiness and happiness, into a state of sin and misery, by an act of disobedience against God; we will therefore pass to what most readers will, doubtless, consider the more difficult part of our undertaking in this chapter.
Secondly, we propose proving that all men are now born into the world with a fallen and corrupt nature, in consequence of the fall of the first man.
I. We argue the general corruption of human nature from the fall and corruption of the first man, from whom all men have received their existence by way of natural descent.
We have shown, in the preceding chapter, that the first man was created in righteousness and true holiness, that he bore the impress of the hand that made him, and shone in the likeness of his divine author. Now as righteousness and true holiness constituted the moral character or nature of man, as he came from the hand of his Creator, it must follow that this divine image was designed for his descendants, and would have been communicated to them, had he not sinned and lost it himself, while all men were yet in his loins. If then the image of God, wherein the first man was created, was designed to have been transmitted to his offspring, it must appear reasonable that nothing short of a full possession of this image, can answer the claims of the law of our creation; for it would be absurd, to say that God created man in a higher state of moral perfection than is necessary, to answer the claims, and secure the glory of the moral government which he exercises over the human family; or that he bestowed on man a degree of moral holiness, which he did not secure from
desecration by the direct interpostion of moral obligation, or which might be squandered and lost on the part of man, without incurring moral guilt. It is clear, from this, that'any state of human nature which comes short of that moral perfection, or that divine image which God bestowed, when he created man, must be regarded as a lapsed state, coming short of that righteousness which the perfect law of our Creator requires ; and, consequently, a sinful state, “for all unrighteousness is sin.” If, then, a want of the image of God, which consists in righteousness and true holiness, constitutes a fallen and sinful state, it only remains to show farther, that man does not, by nature now possess this divine image. Now, when Adam sinned, he must have lost the image of his maker; for it would be absurd to suppose that the image of God, consisting in righteousness and true holiness, could be possessed by man, and he be a sinner at the same time, guilty before God, and a subject of divine punishment. As well might it be said, that God could consistently condemn, and pour a divine curse upon his own image! As well might it be said that sin and holiness once formed a harmonious alliance! That Adam was righteous and truly holy, and unrighteous, polluted and guilty, at the same time. is certain, then, that Adam could not have retained the image of his maker after he sinned, and being destitute of it himself, he could not communicate it to his offspring; for no being can comunicate to another that which he does not himself possess.
We have now shown that the image of God, wherein the first man was created, was designed to have been transmitted to his descendants, and that any want of it, on their part, constitutes a degenerate state of human nature. We have, also, shown that this image was lost by the first man, to whom it was committed, not only for himself, but also in trust for his offspring, and that he therefore could not transmit it to his descents who, consequently, cannot possess it by nature, or as the natural descendants of Adam. Human nature, therefore, is degenerate and corrupt, coming short of that state of moral perfection which it possessed, when it came from the holy hands of God, glowing in the brightness of his own moral image.
II. In support of the doctrine of the inherent corruption of
human nature, we urge the universality of actual or outbreak
It will not be denied, that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God," that “all are under sin,” that “all have gone out of the way," and that “ by the deeds of the law, no flesh shall be justified in the sight of God” Rom. iii. 9, 12, 20, 23. These pointed declarations of divine truth, must convince all who have any confidence in revelation, that all men commit sin, whether they have a corrupt nature or not; and if any should take the trouble to read these pages, who reject the scriptures, for their benefit we make an appeal to the consciousness of all men; and ask, where is the man who is not conscious of having, at some time deviated from the perfect rule of right? We think there is no danger of successful contradiction, when we assert that all men sin, and commence sinning too, as soon as they are capable of feeling the claims of moral obligation, or discerning between good and evil. This general overflowing of corruption, running through all the channels of human society, must have somewhere a cause or fountain from whence it emanates. That this fountain is the corruption of our nature, or the natural bias of the human soul to that which is evil, in preference to that which is good, we maintain on the ground, that it cannot be rationally attributed to any other cause. Why is it that all men sin as soon as they are capable? Those, who deny the doctrine of original sin, assert that it is the result of bad example, or a bad education, or both. Now, as these are the only reasons, or, at least, the most plausible reasons given by our opponents, if the ground is shown to be untenable, it will follow that we are to look for the fountain, from whence this general wickedness proceeds, in the corruption of human nature. Now, that neither bad example, nor a bad education is the cause of the general wickedness that prevails among men, must appear from one consideration. They themselves are dependent on a state of general wickedness for their own existence, as an effect is dependent upon the cause that produces it. Generally bad example and education cannot exist, without a pre-existing state of generally corrupt morals; for until men are generally wicked or immoral, example and education cannot be generally bad; hence, to say that general
wickedness has resulted from bad example and education, is to put the effect for the cause. The argument must stand thus : Men are generally wicked because example and education are generally bad, and example and education are generally bad because men are generally wicked. This leaves one or the other without a cause, for which we must resort to the corruption of human nature. If bad example, or bad education has caused the general wickedness of men, what caused general bad example and education at first? If it be denied that men are more inclined to evil than goods we have here an effect---the general corruption of example and education, for which there is no assignable cause; and if it be admitted that this general corruption of example and education be the result of a natural bias in man to evil, the argument is ceded, and the doctrine of the corruption of human nature is established.
Other reasons might be rendered, why had example and education cannot have produced the general wickednes that has prevailed in the earth, but enough has been said, on this point, to show, that until our opponents can invent some more rational cause for the general wickedness of mankind than they have yet been able to assign, it will remain a standing memorial of the corruption of our nature through the fall, to the entire overthrow of the Pelagian heresy.
III. Those scriptures, which represent all men as being liable to some sort of divine malediction, in consequence of Adam's sin, clearly prove the corruption of human nature through the fall. Rom. v. 15. “For if through the offence of one many
be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.” The many, which are said to be dead, in this text, embraces the whole human family ; for they form a perfect parallel, to the many, unto whom the grace of God is said to abound by Jesus Christ. All are then dead through the offence of one. By this one man, through wbose offence all are dead, we are undoubtedly to understand the first man, Adam. Now, if by death, in the text, we are to understand the death of the body, which we have shown in the preceding chapter to be an effect of sin, it will follow that we die in consequence of Adam's offence; from which one of two
consequences must follow. First, the law inflicts a penalty on those who are perfectly conformed to its divine claims, or else, secondly, the one offence of Adam corrupted human nature so as to produce in his offspring a non-conformity to the law. Should it be said that men produce in themselves a non-conformity to the law, by their own personal sin, and that therefore the law does not inflict its penalty on those who are conformed to its claims, in the sentence of death upon all men, it is replied, first, that this would be to suppose that all men die, temporally, for their own offence, and not " through the offence of one,” as the text affirms. Secondly, infants die before they are capable of producing in themselves a non-conformity to the law. Now, to suppose that the law inflicts a penalty on such as are conformed to its requisitions, would be subversive of all righteous government! The thought cannot be indulged for a moment. As the law, then, cannot inflict a penalty on such as are conformed to its claims, and as it does inflict a penalty on all, in consequence of Adam's offence, it must follow, that it produced in all his posterity a non-conformity to the law, which implies a lapsed and corrupt state of human nature. Should it be denied, that the death of the body is intended, in the text, and maintained that it is a moral death that is come upon all, “ through the offence of one,” the argument is ceded, this being the sentiment for which we contend; therefore, whether temporal or moral death, or both be understood, in the text, the argument remains conclusive. In the 16th verse, the Apostle says:
" And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift; for the judgment was by one to condemnation.” This clearly shows, that by the offence of one man, Adam, judgment has come upon all, condemning them to death of some sort—" the judgment was by one to condemnation".--and as we have seen, that the law could not condemn or inflict a penalty upon those who are conformed to it, the offence of Adam must have produced in his offspring a non-conformity to the law, or by it judgment could not have come upon them, condemning them to death either temporal or moral.
In the 18th verse, the Apostle expresses the same idea, if possible, in clearer language. “By the offence of one, judgment came upon all men unto condemnation." It is settled,