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How strange, that in a continued discourse all in the first person plural, the we and us should be changed backward and forward four times! What torturing of the scripture is here! At this rate, what discourse in the world will be intelligible? How will it be possible for any man, and especially for the common people, for whom as well as for the learned, the scriptures were written, to understand them ?
But this is not all. By this various reference of the pronouns we and us, the reasoning of the apostle is rendered utterly inconclusive, in almost every step of it. Thus the first verse of the fifth Chapter is manifestly brought in by the apostle, as a consequence drawn from the last verse of the preceding Chapter. But from the consideration, that Christ died and rose to put all men into a capacity of obtaining justification at the great day, it by no means follows, that believers are now justified by faith, and have peace with God. Verse 9th, if it be ever so true, that all men are put into a possibility of salvation, it by no means follows, that all men will be actually saved. It no more follows, than from the opportunity given all men, of obtaining salvation immediately after this life, it follows, that all will actually be saved immediately after this life: Or than from the opportunity of entering the land of Canaan, given all that generation, which came out of Egypt, it followed, that all that generation would in fact enter that land: Or than from the opportunity given any man to become rich or honorable, it follows, that he will in fact become rich or honorable. The same observation is equally applicable to the 10th verse. What was before observed concerning the 11th verse, understood in Dr. C's sense, needs not to be re
But what is of chief importance is, that according to the Doctor's construction, there is no argumentative
connexion between the 11th and the 12th, or which is the same thing, between the 11th and the 18th verses. If the Doctor's sense of the 11th and 18th verses be true, the latter is no just consequence from the former. The Doctor's sense of the 11th verse is, that all men through Christ have received a possibility of final salvation; and his sense of the 18th verse is, that all men will actually be saved. But if it be ever so true, that all men have received a possibility or opportunity of final salvation, it does not follow, that all will actually be saved. Yet as the 12th or 18th verse, (the intermediate verses being a parenthesis) is a deduction from the 11th, the last of the propositions just expressed, should justly follow from the other; otherwise the apostle argues inconclusively. And as the Doctor's gloss of these two verses makes the apostle reason inconclusively, we may be sure, that he has not given the true sense of them.— But according to the common understanding of these verses, the reasoning is clear and certain. For if believers have obtained through Christ a cordial reconciliation and peace with God, then certainly those same believers will, in the same way, obtain eternal life and salvation.
That the 12th, and therefore the 18th verse, is an inference from the 11th, is, I think, manifest from a careful perusal of the passage, and it is at least implicitly granted by Dr. C. He expressly says, that the therefore in the beginning of the 18th verse, "is the same which began the 12th verse. The protasis or first part of the comparison was there entered upon, but left unfinished. "Tis here resumed, I say, therefore, as by the offence of one man," &c.* And his paraphrase of the 18th verse is in these words: "I say, therefore, (to resume now and pursue the comparison I began in the 12th verse) as it was by the lapse of the one man, Adam," &c. The
* Page 67.
† Page 26.
Doctor also quotes Dr. Doddridge's assertion, that "the 12th verse is an inference from the 11th," and does not contradict that assertion, though he labours through a number of pages, to affix a different sense from that of Dr. Doddridge, to the 11th verse, that thus he may evade the construction of the 18th verse, which Dr. Doddridge had given, and establish his own. But all this was needless, if indeed the 12th and 18th verses are not an inference from the 11th.-Nor is there any inconsistence in the opinion, that the 18th verse may be at the same time an inference from the 11th and from the 15th, 16th and 17th verses. True and sufficient premises or reasons of the proposition of the 18th verse, may be contained in the 11th verse. Those reasons may be explained, and even others added in the 15th, 16th and 17th verses, which fall into a parenthesis; and the 18th verse may contain an inference justly deducible from either, or frem both.
I am indeed sensible, that Dr. C. in his paraphrase of the 12th verse, does not consider it as an inference from the 11th; but the 11th as deducible by way of inference from the 12th, in this manner: Because sin and death came upon all men by Adam, therefore all men have obtained a possibility of salvation by Christ. His words are, "For this cause or reason, we have received reconciliation by Jesus Christ, namely, because as sin entered into the world by the one man, Adam,' 99* &c. But this is as surprising as any part of Dr. C's truly surprising exposition of this chapter. In the first place, it is a mere conjecture, unsupported by any thing, but pure imagination. In the second place, to apply this paraphrase to the 18th verse, which is but the full expression of the 12th, it will stand thus: For this cause or reason all men have received a possibility of salvation, namely, that as
* Page 23.
by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so, by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men to actual salvation. Or more briefly thus: The reason, why all men have obtained a possibility of salvation, is, that salvation is actually come upon all men: Or to place the sentence in its proper arrangement, Salvation is actually come upon all men ; therefore all men have received a possibility of salvation. On this reasoning I need make no remark. It is not however probable, that the Doctor was sensible, that his paraphrase of the 12th verse, applied to the 18th, would come to this. Nor is the reason just expressed, that which the Doctor believed to be the true one, why we have received the reconciliation. But that which in the Doctor's opinion was the true reason, he expressly declares to be, "That it was in such a way, viz. by the offence of one, that judgment came upon all men to condemnation."*-Who is answerable for this inconsistency, I need not inform the reader.
Before I dismiss this part of Dr. C's book, I cannot but observe, that he speaks of a double justification,† the ore meaning absolution at the great day; the other meaning the advantageous state, or the possibility of the salvation of all mankind through Christ. It seems then that the Doctor had forgotten, that he had but a few pages before made out a threefold justification: The first kind consisting in the introduction to a capacity or possibility of salvation through Christ: The second in the justification of believers, who have peace with God while in this life; such was the justification of Abraham: The third in absolution at the great day.-But when any thing is abundantly multiplied, no wonder if the author himself of that multiplication forgets the number of units contained in his own product.
* Page 30.
† Page 38.