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under a judicial blindness, and applies this passage to them, as descriptive of their guilty and miserable condition. “Therefore they could not believe, because Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they might not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.” The apostle Paul, however, cites this passage as a proof of their hardening their own hearts. “Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet to our fathers, saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive. For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them." These different applications of the same text can be reconciled, only on the supposition, that the Prophet, that Christ, and the Apostles meant to convey the idea, that sinners work out their own destruction, under the pos- . itive influence of the Deity. And this is expressly asserted by the apostle Paul, concerning the reprobate Jews. “What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for: but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded, or as it is in the margin, hardened.”
INFERENCE 4.-If God can work in saints both to will and to do that which is virtuous and holy; then he might have made man upright, and formed him in his own moral image, at first. Some suppose, it was
, out of the power of God to create Adam, at first, in righteousness and true holiness; because righteousness and true holiness belong to the heart; and are free, voluntary exercises. But though every species of moral rectitude be a free voluntary exercise of the heart; yet it may nevertheless be the fruit of a divine operation. The heart may be created as well as the understanding, or moral exercises as well as natural faculties. It appears from what has been said, that the hearts of saints are created, or that their free and voluntary exercises are the production of divine power. Where, then, is the difficulty of conceiving, that God made man upright at first, and created him in his own moral image? If saints may be the workmanship of God created unto good works, in the meridian of life; then Adam might have been the workmanship of God created unto good works in the first moment of his existence. God was as able to work in Adam, both to will and to do that which was virtuous and holy, the first moment of his creation, as he is, to work in saints both to will and to do that which is yirtuous and holy, in any period of their lives. The cases are exactly similar. If holiness can be created in one man, it may be in another; and if it can be created in one period of life, it may be in another. There is nothing, therefore, in the supposition of man's orig. inal rectitude, which is repugnant either to the nature of holiness, as a voluntary exercise; or to the nature of man, as a moral agent.
INFERENCE 5._Since God can work in men both to will and to do of his good pleasure, it is as easy to account for the first offence of Adam, as for any other sin. Many, who believe his original rectitude, suppose it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to account for his first act of disobedience, in eating of the forbidden fruit. But in as much as they acknowledge the fact, they endeavor, in some way or other, to solve the difficulty.
Some say, that Adam being necessarily dependent, was necessarily mutable and liable to fall. It is true,
indeed, Adam was necessarily dependent and liable to fall: but by whom was he exposed to this evil? not by himself, not by satan, not by any created agent. God can make creatures immutable with respect to all beings but Himself. Angels and the spirits of just men above, are immutable with respect to all beings but the Deity. So long therefore as Adam retained his original rectitude, he was equally immutable in his moral character, and stood above the power and influence of satan, or any other malignant seducer.
Some say, that God having made man upright, left him to the freedom of his own will; in consequence of which he sinned and fell. That God left man to the freedom of his own will must be allowed; but how this can account for his first transgression is hard to conceive. Every moral agent is left to the freedom of his own will, so long as he remains a moral agent; because freedom of will is essential to moral agency. And there is no evidence from Scripture nor reason, that man was any more left to the freedom of his own will before, than after his fall. But if by being left to the freedom of his own will be meant, that God with. drew some aid or support, which he had given him before, and which was necessary in order to resist temptation; then such a suspension of divine aid or support, must have excused him for eating of the forbidden fruit; since there could have been no criminality in his not resisting a temptation, which was above his natural power to resist. Besides, there is an absurdity in supposing, that Adam could be led into sin, by the violence of temptation, while his heart remained perfectly holy. For, a perfectly holy heart, perfectly hates every motive, every suggestion, every temptation to sin. This was exemplified in the conduct of Christ, when he was so artfully and violently assaulted by the devil. Satan's temptiog him to disobey his Father's will, instead of leading him to comply, only served to excite his resentment against the tempter himself. And just so the devil's tempting Adam to eat of the forbidden fruit, must have excited his love, rather than his hatred, to God, had he remained perfectly holy. It is impossible to conceive, therefore, that Adam's pure heart was corrupted, or drawn into sin, by the mere force of external temptation.
Nor will it relieve any difficulty on this subject, to say that Adam and Eve were deceioed, when they partook of the forbidden fruit. For, their deception must have been either voluntary or involuntary. If it were voluntary, then their sin was the cause of their deception, and not their deception the cause of their sin. But if their deception were involuntary, then it entirely excused them. For their eating of the forbidden fruit, while their hearts were perfectly holy, and they really supposed they ought to do it, would have been a duty, instead of a crime. : As these and all other methods to account for the fall of Adam, by the instrumentality of second causes, are insufficient to remove the difficulty; it seems necessary to have recourse to the divine agency, and to suppose, that God wrought in Adam both to will and to do, in his first transgression. As Adam acted freely, while he was acted upon, before he fell; so he acted freely, while he was acted upon, at the moment of his fall. His first sin was a free, voluntary exercise produced by a divine operation, in the view of motives. Satan placed certain motives before his mind, which, by a divine energy, took hold of his heart and led him into sin. In this view, Adam's first sin is as easy to account for, as David's in numbering the people; as Pharaoh's in refusing to let the people go; as Ahab's in going up to Ramoth-Gilead; or as any other man's sin since the fall. This, perhaps, is a full solution of
the first sin in this world, and, of consequence, of the first sin in the universe.
INFERENCE 6.-If God can work in moral agents both to will and to do of his good pleasure; then we may easily account for the moral depravity of Infants. Next to the first sin of Adam, the first sin in his pos- . terity is supposed to be the most difficult to account for.
Some suppose, that the human soul, as well as the human body, proceeds directly from the parents who naturally and necessarily convey their own moral image to their children. And upon this principle, they suppose, that after our first parents became corrupt, they conveyed a corrupt nature to their children, and they again to theirs; and so a corrupt nature has, ever since the fall, been transmitted from parents to children, and will continue to be transmitted in the same manner to the latest posterity. This solution, however, by no means, gives satisfaction. We are not certain, that the soul of the child does proceed directly from the parents. Scripture and reason rather lead us to suppose, that the soul is a divine production, and proceeds immediately from the Father of spirits. But even allowing, that the soul does proceed, according to a divine constitution, from the parents; yet this will not account for its moral pollution. For, moral depravity consists in the free, voluntary exercises of a moral agent; and of consequence cannot be transmitted, by one person to another. Adam's moral impurity or defilement was his own voluntary wickedness, which could not, by any divine constitution or appointment, become the moral impurity or defilement of his natural offspring, either in whole or in part. Besides, if parents naturally convey their moral likeness to their children, then Adam, after he became holy, must