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tion of successive creatures, in whom moral qualities are to be displayed? Why shall He here depart from the grand fundamental law of His agency, which obtains throughout this world? Is He under obligations to create every moral being, by a perfectly separate act of power, in full possession of all its qualities at once, and in a state of absolute independence on all others? We do not find that he is in reference to man; for his existence is derived from that of his parent, in whom, for a season, he unquestionably lived. His faculties are gradually acquired, and he can never be absolutely independent. Whatever may be said of the exclusive applicability of the above observations, to our corporcal nature, it is certain, that all our characteristic, morul qualities, are actually acquired through the growth and development of our material being.
Assuming it then as fact, that the agency of God, in the formation and support of man, is exerted according to the law of development, which secures the evolution of a similar being from its parent; the sin and fall of Adam being admitted, we may sce how his posterity become affected by his sin.
1. They inherit a constitutional nature, which has been subjected, by virtue of the constitution of God,' to a for
1. The word covenant, as used in the Old and New Testament, is preferred by many.
It must be obvious, that it differed in some circumstances, very materially, from what we call covenants among men. "The word, in the Old Testament language,” says a very able writer, “by which God hath chosen to express his instrument of government, and which our translators always use, is covenant. The word signifies, generally, all kinds of deeds, whereby rights of any sort are conferred, and is very frequently used for covenants, or mutual agreements between man and man. This might have been reckoned decisive, if the New 'Testament writers had not cleared up the difference. Where the Hebrews had but one word for all kinds of deeds, the Greeks have two-ourenxen and doce@axn. The first, as the word plainly imports, is used to signify covenants, or mutual agreements, wherein two or more are engaged; the other is never used, but to denote the deed of one, a constitution or established order, a grant, or deed of gift; and particularly a testament, by which inheritances or legacies are conveyed. And
feiture of those privileges and immunities, which would have ensued or been prolonged, on the obedience of our great primogenitor. There can be no doubt, but that the circumstances and condition of the human race, are very different now, from what they would have been, had not Satan seduced our first parents from their allegiance to God. Whatever may be men's theories about the paradisaical state of Adam, or the ultimate effects of his fall, on the hopes and destiny of his offspring, the fact cannot be denied, that their condition, at present, is very unlike to what it certainly would have been, had he not eaten the forbidden fruit.
They are the subjects of disease, of suffering, and of death, from which they would have been exempted, according to the promise of immunity and life, implied in the original threat-"on the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.” Adam was constituted, as it were, the fountain, whence life or death was to flow to his descendants. Our fortunes were placed in his hand; and whatever, on the one hand, of enjoyment he was rendered susceptible, and of resources for it with which he was furnished; or, on the other hand, of misery, and the means by which it could be produced, constituted the estate or inheritance which should be parcelled out among his descendants and heirs. On them, the consequences of his rebellion fall, and they are subjected to the very same forfeitures which he incurred. He incurred the forfeiture of that life, which, in innocence, he possessed, and the interruption and loss of that communion with God, which he enjoyed. Bodily disease, and suffering, and an indisposition to maintain and seek an intercourse with God, quickly affected him, and these things have been experienced by all his progeny.
whoever will, with any care and attention, consider what in our translation are called God's covenants, will find them all of this latter kind, either authoritative constitutions, which those to whom they were given were oblig. ed to submit to, or grants and deeds of gifts in their favor, which went always together, and constituted at once the rule of judgment for the sovereign, and duty for the subject.-Riccaltoun's Works, v. ii, p. 70–71.
In the large sense wherein Beritu is taken, a man's end or purpose may be called his covenant, as Job xxxi, 1. “I made a covenant with my eyes. And so God calleth his purpose or decree, concerning the orderly course of nature.--Oven on the Hebrews, vol. ii, p. 85.
Whether eternal life was actually included in that forfeiture, which would be exacted from him and his offspring, have by some been doubted.' It is certain, that eternal death in their own persons, has not been incurred by many of the human family. Had eternal death in a man's own person been actually the very punishment ordained, it would have been forever impossible for man to have been saved.
1. In order therefore, to attain any thing like proper conceptions of the great change which was made in the circumstances of mankind, by our first father's transgression, we must, in the first place, be sure of the right import and mcaning of that denunciation which produced it, and particularly of that which he must certainly fall under upon his eating the forbidden fruit. Many have carried this so far, as to extend it even to that which has been since called eternal death; the punishment we find denounced against the despisers or neglecters of Jesus Christ and his great salvation; therefore called eternal, because there remains no possibility of relief. Others stop as much short, confining it entirely to the death of the body, and redu. cing it to dust. There are only two ways on which we can certainly determine this important question, viz: the judgment given upon the delinquents by the judge, who was the framer of the law, and therefore understood it perfectly, and our own experience of what we either do, or may feel, in ourselves, in this our present state, which was fixed and determined by that judgment. There has been a third way attempted, and much insisted on; viz. reasoning upon the circumstances of the case, and the consequences wbich seem naturally to arise out of them. So far as these are found agreeable to, and supported by the other two, we may conclude them just; otherwise no great dependence can be had on them, however they may appear to our apprehensions of things, which are at best but a badl rule to judge by.
As death is allowed by all to import an end put to life, and as the denunciation was peremptory, “In the day thou eatest thou shalt surely die," Tłu, and not another, we must conclude, could import no less than the
All that we can say, with certainty on this subject,-and it is abundantly sufficient to fill us with horror in contemplating the natural condition of the liuman race, and to induce us to accept and prize the great salvation offered through Jesus Christ,-is, that man was subjected to a forfeiture of all that life, which, in a state of innocence our first parents possessed, and for any thing he knew, or could do, to better his condition, it must and would have been eternal. To Jesus the blessed mediator, do we owe the resolution of our painful doubts, and horrible suspense on this subject. The justice that exacted a present forfeiture of life, and inflicted a present suffering, might be presumed to require that they should be eternal, since it was, manifestly, morally imposible that man could re-instate himself in the condition from which he fell, or undo what had been done. Vague hopes, wretched delusions, distracting fears, gloomy forebodings, horrible anticipations, were the exchange that our first parents made for the peace and joy of a calm life of communion with God. And the very same things are characteristic of that condition into which we are born. By virtue of our connection with Adam as descending from him, we are subjected in fact to the forfeiture of all the prilvileges and immunities pertaining to a state of innocence. It cannot for a moment be alleged, that we are treated as we would have beer, had we been the children of innocent parents.
loss of all that life, he was then in possession of, which we may call the paradisiacal life, and no further. It seems therefore incumbent on those who extend it to eternal death, to make it appear that Adam, in paradise, was pos sed of that kind of life, which is called ETERNAL, the life which is in Christ Jesus; which I believe nobody will say. They build much on the nature and demerit of sin: and I would not willingly say any thing, that might be constructed into the least tendency toward extenuating the nature of that horrible evil; but by the issue of this first dispensation, and several other instances in the record, we must conclude, that it belongs to the Great Sovercign to affix what penalty he pleases to his laws. The conclusions drawn from the nature of vindictive justice, are rather too bold for man to make, without better authority than the record gives us. But there is one insuperable prejudice, that attends this supposition. That had eternal death been the penalty, Adam himself at least, must have died eternally; and if the denunciation given upon the transgression, extends to all his posterity, as appears by the event it did, not one of them could have been saved, without dispensing with the unalterable divine constitution, or somehow changing the tenor of it: an absurdity which can never be admitted on any consideration whatsoever. That original life must be destroyed; nor can the original law be satisfied by any means whatsoever until that is done; but when it is done, and that law thereby fulfilled, there is nothing to hinder the Creator to raise whom he pleases to eternal life: Riccaltoun's works, rol. ü. p. 72–75.
2. But this is not all. In consequence of the sin of Adam, men come into existence under the influence of causes and circumstances, which render it morally certain, that they universally, will sin, as soon as they are capable of moral agency. As to the facts here stated, there is no dispute. But what are these causes?. An innate powerful efficient principle, says one.
The internal constitution, says another. A corrupt habit, says a third. The operative disposition or propensity, says a fourth. The very nature itself, says a fifth. It is of little moment to dispute about words. The whole dispute here, it seems to us, turns on the decision of the following question. Is there in simple nature, as created by God, and derived from Adam, and prior to all acts, an efficient cause, whose operation renders it certain that men will sin? It is admitted, that, in so far as it relates to the appetites and passions of our nature, there is some foundation laid for them in our very being. We hunger, we thirst, we love, we fear, because such is our nature. God has so constituted us. There is a cause for these things in our physical constitution, just as there is in the irrational animals.
Some animals are carnivorous; others are graminivotous. They are instinctively inclined to the food which is adapted to their appetites. In all this, there is a foun-