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“Again, Adam's death in Paradise, and the death of us all, which according to the constitution of the law was suspended upon his conduct, is, in the divine reckoning, the first death that ever happened among men. And eternal death, according to the same reckoning, is the second death.” Death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them; and they were judged every man according to his works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the Second death. This is eternal death. It is without
end. But the death which Adam brought by the fall,
may have an end, and it certainly does have an end,
say to Adam, in the day that thou eatest thereof thou
shalt surely die, except thou shalt repent? This was
not the tenor of that law. But if Adam were threatened with eternal death, its not being executed upon him, amounts, then, to the same as to say, the threatening was not absolute, but conditional, carrying the idea that he should not die, on the condition he should repent. Upon this ground, where is the difference between the law of Paradise and the Gospel? For Adam, say you, was threatened with eternal death, but that death he never died.” Was not Abel threat
” saith an objector, “every threatening of God’s law is per
émptory, and in itself exclusive of mercy; yet the veracity of God is not pledged to execute it. A possibility of a merciful remission is ever understood, in the
* “I suppose,
ened with eternal death? Was not Paul threatened with eternal death? Did Abel die an eternal death? Did Paul die an eternal death? You will say, no. Abel and Paul were good men, were righteous men, were penitent believers. Was Adam exempted from death upon the ground of repentance and faith? Did the same law which threatened death, exempt from death on the condition of repentance? If so, what is the difference between the law of Paradise before the fall, and the Gospel law since the fall? The threatening of death to Adam, therefore, could not be eternal death, for this would suppose that the Gospel law was in force before the apostasy. And this being the case, Adam, as soon as he had eaten the forbidden fruit, and before the sentence of death was executed, was taken upon Gospel ground, and so the execution of the sentence of death was suspended to eternity; that is, though Adam were threatened with eternal death, yet this death he never died. To those who thus confound Law and Gospel, the Bible will be for ever unintelligible. On the whole, it is evident, that eternal death was not implied in the threatening to Adam in Paradise.
scripture abundantly declared.” You say that the veracity of God is not pledged tp execute a peremptory threatening of his law. If the objector would give information through what medium he came to the knowledge of this, it would cast great light upon the subject. Is it consistent for God to act contrary to the threatening of his law, and to grant a merciful remission? You say, that, “The possibility of a merciful remission is ever understood.” Was it understood by Adam, that there was a possibility that the death with which he was threatened might not fall upon him? was it, in the Scriptures abundantly declared to him? What Scripture had Adam to read in the garden of Eden? What knowledge had he of the Gospel which points out to us, the way in which God can consistently and mercifully remit sin? All the threatenings contained in the word of God, since the apostasy, are conditional; hence, said Jesus, to the Jews, “If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” “And Jesus answering, said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, nay; but eaccept ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” The threatening to Adam was peremptory, and therefore, did not admit of an if. But the Gospel always admits of an is: if we obey the Gospel we shall be saved; if not, not “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end.” Heb. iii, 14. And, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if any man hear my voice, and open, the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
, * “Mo mention had been made of mercy, and probably the offenders had no expectation of forgiveness.” Scott's Bible,
What was threatened was cariied into effect. He was threatened with death and he died. The death, therefore, was not temporal, nor eternal, it was therefore spiritual death. By spiritual death is meant a carnal mind. For, “To be carnally minded is death.” This, therefore, is the worst kind of death; for it is enmity against God. It is not only to be a sinner, but it is to be totally sinful; it is to be dead in sin. From this carnal mind we can be recovered only by grace, the grace of God which bringeth Salvation. Being dead in sin, we can be raised only by the mighty power of God. “But God who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, by grace ye are saved, and hath raised us up together, and hath made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness towards us through Christ Jesus. For, by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works lest any man should boast.” This account of our recovery to life, in the way and by the means of grace, goes wholly upon the ground that our ruin consists in spiritual death. Otherwise, the language of quickening, of bringing us to life, and of saving us by grace, is wholly without force, and without meaning. This establishes, beyond all reasonable doubt, the doctrine, that our native, ruined state, since the fall, is a state of spiritual death.” “For our recovery from this moral, or spiritual death, there is required the spirit of life in Christ Jesus. His power is put forth in renewing us in the spirit of our minds, and in reconciling us to God. By this life giving power, we are brought out of darkness, into God's marvellous light. This change of mind is a great change, and this salvation from a carnal mind is a great salvation. Upon this principle that our ruin is spiritual death, this account of our recovery is intelligible and interesting. I see not that it is intelligible on any other principle.” Perhaps an inquiry may here arise in the minds of some, whether the design of the atonement was not to raise men to eternal, as well as to spiritual life? I answer, yes; it was, however, a leading object in the design of atonement, to raise sinners to spiritual life, and, at a proper time, to make them perfectly holy; and that all the sins of all such should be blotted out, and they treated as if their sins were forgot, or as if they had never sinned; and that the bodies of the redeemed should be rendered immortal, and complete in beauty, and that they should be restored not to an earthly, but to an heavenly paradise. Being thus without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, and being clothed with robes made white in the blood of the Lamb before the throne of God, they become objects of divine complacency, and in a situation to love God perfectly, and to be loved of God and Christ: they will, of course, have the most intimate communion and fellowship with the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. They will, therefore, be filled with the enjoyment of God; they will be completely happy, for they will see God; they will be where Christ is, to behold his glory. They will therefore be in full possession of eternal life. Loving God perfectly, and enjoying his love completely and for ever, is, properly speaking, eternal life. The essential properties of this eternal life consist in the perfect restoration of the divine image which was lost in the apostasy. This holy image and complete likeness to God being restored, and fallen man being perfectly and eter: mally in the love of God, and having all his sins blotted out, and being filled with the fulness of Christ, is in a condition to be completely and eternally happy.
GENESIS ii, 17.
—In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt - surely die.
IT is evident from this divine declaration to Adam, that he was placed under a law requiring sinless obedience in order to happiness. But with his posterity it 1S llot SO. We shall now endeavour to show that since the fall of Adam, God has given no law to man requiring sinless obedience in order to happiness. The law of nature was the same after as before the fall. This law is binding on all rational creatures, in heaven and on earth, to love their Maker with all their heart, soul, strength and mind, forever; and this law with respect to the angels did not admit of mercy, for as soon as they had sinned they were cast into everlasting fire which was prepared for them. But with Adam it was not so, because, respecting the human race, God had a previous purpose of redemption. And therefore there is no law found in divine revelation, which requires sinless obedience in order to happiness. By happiness is meant salvation or eternal life. Adam was made upright after the likeness and in the image of God. And God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Man being thus created perfectly sinless, and with a principle of holiness, it was perfectly rational to put him under a law requiring sinless obedience, with the threatening of death in case of disobedience, and perfectly consistent with the government of the holy God. But his Maker was under no obligation to keep him from falling into sin, or to redeem him after he had fallen. For as the scheme of redemption by Christ is