Imágenes de páginas

every day, of the fruits of their labour, and doomed to suffer the combined affliction of excessive toil, and excessive hunger because their supreme magistrate chooses to plunge them into ambitious wars? Is it justice that millions of men, ardent lovers of liberty, should be doomed to the most degrading bondage and grinding oppression, for centuries together, because their supreme magistrate chooses to play the tyrant? Is it just that millions of our race should be born to no inheritance but disease and infamy, because their parents choose to be vicious? These things indisputably occur in the government of a righteous God; and how shall they be reconciled with his justice? But you will say, that these evils grow out of the system of human things. True, and God of his own free will at first established, and still supports, that system; and produces and regulates all its movements. The system of human nature is worthy of God, because he has established it; and it is a representative system, in which the good or evil conduct of a representative entails blessings or curses, happiness or misery, on those whom they represent; and of consequence, there is nothing repugnant to the moral perfections of the Supreme Being in a system which shall stake the inte

rests, the highest interests-of millions, and of miriads of millions of men, on the conduct of a single re presentative.

[ocr errors]


Of Adam's Representative Character.

The doctrine of Adam's representation is admitted among ourselves; but as this piece may chance to fall


into the hands of some who deny that doctrine, and who, of consequence, must esteem the following argument entirely nugatory, I think it absolutely necessary to give here a short scriptural demonstration of the fact, that Adam did represent the human family in the covenant of works. I quote for this purpose, the following well known passages. Rom. v. 12, 13, 14,"Wherefore, as by ONE MAN sin entered into the world and DEATH by sin; and so death passed on ALL men, for that all have sinned; (for until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed where there is NO LAW,) nevertheless death reigned, from Adam unto Moses, even over them who had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that is to come." See also ver. 15-19. I forbear any other quotations; as my intention is, simply to state the doctrine as exhibited in scripture, and not to illustrate it at large. From the passage quoted, and that referred to, we collect the following points of doctrine :

1. That by one man's (Adam's) sin-and that a single transgression-sin entered the world.

2. That in consequence of sin, death, which is its wages, also entered into the world.

3. That from the universality of death in this world, we must infer that all men are sinners.

4. That as sin is the transgression of the law, all men who are under Adam's sin, were under the law which Adam transgressed.

5. But, since it might be alleged, that men die for their own personal transgressions, and not for Adam's sin; the apostle states, that "death reigned from Adam to Moses," not only over those who had forfeited their lives by their own actual transgressions, but "even

over them who had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression," namely, infauts and idiots, who were incapable of sinning voluntarily. And therefore, since death is the wages of sin, and sin the transgression of the law; and, that those persons who never transgressed the law by any act of their own die, it follows, that they are under the law because Adam was under it, transgressed it in Adam's sin, and suffer the penalty of death for that transgression.

This is the outline of the scripture doctrine, on the subject of Adam's sin, and its imputation to those whom he represented, exhibited in the simplicity of the scriptural stile.

But two questions have been moved and much agitated on the subject, to which we must pay some attention; or rather, a great deal of attention, for a great deal will be necessary to qualify us for thoroughly understanding the exact amount of their meaning. The first of these questions respects the formal consideration in which mankind were viewed in the covenant of works. The second regards the bond which connects mankind with Adam, and brings them under the operation of the covenant. Instead of dealing in subtle speculations and strifes of words, I think it the most advantageous course to state, from indisputable scriptural facts, what I know of the subject, in a manner that shall be as intelligible to the plainest Christian at the spinning-wheel or at the loom, as to the first metaphysician of the age.

It is granted on all hands, that in the covenant, Adam represented human nature as it existed in his own person. This is nothing more than to say, that he be came personally responsible for his personal conduct. But the passage which has been quoted from the epis

tle to the Romans, proves, that the whole human family were as much interested in that transaction as Adam himself; they were personally bound by the divine institution, and rendered personally responsible, so soon as they should have personal existence, and be capable of the personal attributes of merit or guilt; and the personal experience of happiness or misery. We infer, like the apostle Paul, the doctrine from the fact. And that a covenant, which was to affect human persons, and human persons alone, should regard them in their human personality, appears to me too plain to require much proof. But, to make assurance doubly sure, to concentrate every ray of divine light which we have it in our power to concentrate, on a subject so deeply interesting to every mortal man, I shall show, that Adam did not represent human nature generally-but human nature, existing in human personality. The fact is simple, the proof is short.


Jesus of Nazareth was a man; his Heavenly Father prepared him a body-sent forth his son, made of a woman. He possessed human nature in all its parts, a true body, and a reasonable soul. He was of the blood of that Adam, with whom the covenant was made in paradise, a living part of that human nature, which was represented by Adam in the covenant. Now, I ask, was he represented by Adam in that covenant, or was he not? If he was, then he appeared in more than the likeness of sinful flesh he was sinful flesh; he was born under the wrath and curse of God, like other sinners of the race; he was not a holy thing, born of the virgin; he could not become the Lamb of God that taketh way the sin of the world. But these are conclusions which no one wearing the name of Christian ever has drawn. And I would not have


troubled the reader with a detailed state of the argument, but to prepare him for a question which I shall propose, when he takes the other side of the dilemma.

Let it be denied, then, as it must, that Adam represented the Redeemer of the world, Jesus of Nazareth ; I ask, then, why was not Jesus represented in that covenant? Here is human nature, entire human nature; why is it exempted from the law of human nature? What attribute of a human being did Adam possess, which Jesus of Nazareth possessed not? The answer is simple, he did not possess human personality ; in other words, he was not a human person: and it was the want of that human personality, and that want alone, that exempted him from the personal guilt common to mankind. I know my reader is quite impatient to pour in upon me an objection, or to give a dif ferent solution. I shall not trifle with his patience a moment longer. I shall state his solution myself.

The solution contemplated is, that Jesus did not descend from Adam by ordinary generation; and that, as ordinary generation is the bond which unites us to Adam, the extraordinary generation of our Lord prevented a federal union with Adam, and acquitted him from any personal responsibility for Adam's conduct. And I acknowledge, that this is the solution of the question given in the confessions, aud catechisms, and formularies of all the reformed churches, and in the writings of the ablest divines; and the solution to which Mr. M'C. repeatedly recurs, through all his publications on federal representation. And I feel that it must excite prejudice against me, to declare, that I am not satisfied with it: a pruriency to deal in new words and phrases, is at once a proof of shallow science and false taste. But, several years ago, when engaged in

« AnteriorContinuar »