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ness, so the want of original righteousness in his posterity, and the corruption of their moral nature, are historically traceable to his transgression. Thus it is evident that God dealt with Adam as a public person, both as the natural and federal head of the race, and had respect to his posterity as representatively included in him.
The Third Part adduces the evidence of original sin from the work of redemption. All whom Christ came to redeem are sinners—the evil in all is sin and its deserved punishment. If there are any who at any period of their being have no sin, they at that period need no Saviour, and are not capable of salvation. If infants are born sinless, and die as they are born, they are incapable of pardon, for they are not guilty, and need no atonement. They are equally incapable of regeneration, for they have no sinful nature to be changed, no wrong volitions to be corrected, and no moral pollution to be washed away. But Christ's work of redemption does include the provision of salvation for infants. Therefore they are de facto among the “lost,” for the grace which provides a deliverer from any state supposes the subject to be in that state prior to his deliverance. This cuts off the evasion that infants are saved from a future sin, for the sin that was never present, and never will be, never could be future. It could exist only in imagination; and therefore salvation from it could be only an imaginary, hypothetical salvation. But the salvation of infants is a reality. There is a wrong in the status of will, the core of their infant being, from their Adamic origin, which is both rectified and remitted—a something polluted, which is made pure. Hence what the Scripture teaches of the application of Christ's redemption, and the change of state and nature necessary to true and final happiness, affords clear and abundant evidence to the truth of the doctrine of original sin.
Part Fourth answers objections.
1. The first is based on the supposed integrity of the will, and its freedom from all natural bias, inclination, or disposition as motives to evil. If we come into the world infected with sinful and depraved dispositions, sin must be natural; and if natural, then necessary; and if necessary, no sin.
The objection is founded on a false idea of the freedom of the will. No such freedom from natural inclination and the power of motive is either necessary to sinful action, or, in man's fallen state, possible. Sinful choice does not make a sinful disposition or tendency; but a tendency to sin precedes a sinful choice.
2. The doctrine of original sin makes God the author of sin, or of a sinful corruption of nature. The objection supposes what the doctrine neither implies nor allows—that “the nature must be corrupted by some positive influence," like a taint or infection altering the natural constitution and faculties of the soul. When man sinned, the superior spiritual principles, in which consisted God's image and man's original righteousness, left his heart, and the communion with God, on which these depended, entirely ceased. Man was thus left in a state of corruption and ruin, without God's putting any evil into his heart, or implanting any bad principle. God's withdrawing, as it was necessary He should, from rebel man, and the natural principles of self-love, appetite, and passion being left to themselves, is sufficient to account for Adam's becoming entirely corrupt. And as the nature was corrupted in the first man, the members received it from the head. That the posterity of Adam should be born with a depraved nature is as much by the established course of nature as Adam's continuing unholy after he had become so. For Adam's posterity are from him as the natural head, and, as it were, in him, and belonging to him, according to the established course of nature, as the branches of a tree are of the tree, in the tree, and belonging to the tree. Thus, the objection has no force. If, by a course of nature, men continue wicked after they have made themselves so, they cannot therefore make Him who is the cause of their continuance in being, and of the course of nature, the cause of their continuance in wickedness.
3. Third objection. It is unreasonable and unjust to impute Adam's sin to his posterity, inasmuch as they are not one person.
Answer: Though personally distinct, Adam and his posterity are one identical human family or nature. But unless this unity of race be unreasonable and unjust, it was not so for God to regard it in this light, and allow Adam a posterity like himself. But this is the natural basis of the imputation of Adam's sin. “ The imputation of Adam's first sin,” says our author, “ is nothing else than this, that his posterity are viewed as in the same place with their father, and are like him. But seeing, agreeable to what we have already proved, God might, according to his own righteous judgment, which was founded on his most righteous law, give Adam a posterity that were like himself—and indeed it could not be otherwise according to the very laws of nature — therefore he might also, in righteous judgment, impute Adam's sin to them, inasmuch as to give Adam a posterity like himself, and to impute his sin to them, is one and the same thing. And therefore, if the former be not contrary to the divine perfections, so neither is the latter."
“The derived evil disposition in Adam's posterity, amounting to a full consent to his sin, is not properly a consequence of the imputation of that sin, for it is antecedent to it in them, as it was in him. The first depravity of heart, and the imputation of Adam's sin, are both the consequence of the union which God has established between Adam and his posterity—a union depending on the divine will, which will depends on the divine wisdom. The evil disposition in them, as in him, is first, and the charge of guilt after and consequent. Therefore the sin of the apostacy is not theirs merely because God imputes it to them, but it is truly and properly theirs by hereditary anticipation in its extended pollution; and on that ground God imputes it to them."
These are Edwards' most definite statements respecting the imputation of Adam's sin. They do not involve the idea of a unity of him and his posterity in the sense of one will, being, or agent. They did not actually commit his first sin, or any of his sins. They did not act in him volitionally, but representatively, as Levi paid tithes in Abraham; yet there was a constituted oneness between the head and its members. They were "one blood,” one physical, intellectual, and moral human race, by creative constitution, according to which the qualities and attributes of the fallen head were derived to, and repeated in, each of the members. This is the basis of native depravity, of hereditary or propagated sinfulness. On this ground, Adam was regarded in the covenant transaction as “a public person,” like a corporation in law, as the moral head of his posterity, and their federal representative. They act in him as the represented do in the representative, and are therefore one with him in the covenant and in the consequences of his first sin. This is the covenant part of imputation, which rests on the natural or realistic as the basis. The continuance of a sinful disposition in Adam as a confirmed principle, from the loss of communion with God, was the penalty of his first transgression. God withdrew from him because he had sinned. The propagation of the same disposition in the race was from the same loss of communion with God, and a punishment upon Adam for the same sin. Thus the race became subject to penal evil through the transgression of the first man. Yet no one is actually punished who is innocent, or held as blameworthy directly for any sinfulness but his own.
Thus Edwards avoids the purely “immediate” view which makes the imputation of Adam's sin the ground of the derived evil disposition in his posterity, which charges guilt upon them primarily for his transgression. The evil disposition in them, he says, as it was in him, is first, and the imputation or charge of guilt is after it; and on that ground he also avoids the other extreme, which excludes the representative relation, and explains the moral status of the posterity of Adam solely by their natural connection with him. He combines what is true in both, and thinks the two views should not be separated.
He eschews also that kind of realism which resolves the race into one mystic but real person--a species of monothelitism, in which one generic will serves the purposes alike of Adam and his descendants. The Edwardean theology preserves the broadest distinction of agents. No one performs the acts of another, though Adam acted representatively for all. No one is condemned for another's sin, being innocent. Yet all became sinful, and hence guilty, and hence come under condem-nation, forensically and really, on account of the evil disposition and sin of the first man.
It may be a question whether the natural, in this scheme does not occupy the whole ground, and leave no room for imputation. In strictness of language, mediate and immediate imputation mutually exclude each other, as what is the one cannot be the other. But it is not so plain that the imputation of Adam's sin to his posterity as a judicial transaction may not be as real on the ground, and through means of their natural connection with him, as on the ground of the covenant alone. If the transmission of his sinful disposition or nature is incompatible with the imputation of his sin,—if men are born innocent, save as Adam's personal sin is charged to them, and by this alone they are made guilty, doubtless Edwards discards imputation. But in the sense of a natural and a legal transaction, of a real and a representative relation-of an impartation and an imputation—the former being the ground of the latter, and both the penal consequence of Adam's sin, that is, a just punishment upon him, Edwards, we think, held steadfastly to the doctrine of imputation, both of Adam's sin and of Christ's righteousness—to “ the two federal heads.” In this sense, Edwards was no more a realist than John Calvin, the Westminster Assembly, and the early New England divines. These all believed that the human race was more than an idea, a name, and that the first of the race was its “root,” and that "all mankind descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him in his first transgression.” And he was also as much of a nominalist as they, when they say that original sin in its common acceptation" consists in the guilt of Adam's first sin, the want of original righteousness, and the corruption of his whole nature.” Indeed, he seems not to have been purely a realist, nor wholly a nominalist. He did not confound the abstract and the concrete, nor one man's act with another's. He held to a real oneness of the human race, of which Adam was the head, the veritable unity of that "whole nature" which was corrupted by Adam's first sin. Thus he aimed to place the doctrine of original sin on a solid basis of reason and Scripture, without confining himself to any of the schools in philosophy.
With this view, Woods and Dwight, Backus and Bellamy