« AnteriorContinuar »
upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners; so by the obedience of one, shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered that the offence might abound; but where sin abounded, grace did much more abound; that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord.'
The apostle, chap. iii. 27. affirms, that in this matter of justification, all kaúɣnois or 'boasting,' is excluded. But here in the verse foregoing, he grants a boasting or a κaúχηκα. οὐ μόνον δὲ, ἀλλὰ καυχώμεθα ἐν τῷ Θεῷ. ‘And not only so, but we also glory in God;' he excludes boasting in ourselves, because there is nothing in us to procure or promote our own justification. He allows it us, in God, because of the eminency and excellency of the way and means of our justification, which in his grace he hath provided. And the κaúxnμa, or 'boasting' in God here allowed us, hath a peculiar respect unto what the apostle had in prospect farther to discourse of, où μóvov dè, and not only so,' includes what he had principally treated of before, concerning our justification so far, as it consists in the pardon of sin. For although he doth suppose, yea, and mention the imputation of righteousness also unto us; yet principally he declares our justification by the pardon of sin, and our freedom from condemnation, whereby all boasting in ourselves, is excluded. But here he designs a farther progress, as unto that whereon our glorying in God, on a right and title freely given us unto eternal life, doth depend. And this is the imputation of the righteousness and obedience of Christ unto the justification of life, or the reign of grace, through righteousness, unto eternal life.
Great complaints have been made by some concerning the obscurity of the discourse of the apostle in this place, by reason of sundry ellipses, antapodota, hyperbata, and other figures of speech, which either are, or are feigned to be therein. Howbeit I cannot but think, that if men acquainted with the common principles of Christian religion, and sensible in themselves of the nature and guilt of our original apostacy from God, would without prejudice read Távrηv τὴν περιοχὴν τῆς γραφῆς, “ this place of the Scripture,” they will grant that the design of the apostle is to prove, that as
the sin of Adam was imputed unto all men unto condemnation, so the righteousness and obedience of Christ is imputed unto all that believe unto the justification of life. The sum of it is given by Theodoret, dial. 3. Vide, quomodo quæ Christi sunt cum iis quæ sunt Adami conferantur, cum morbo medicina, cum vulnere emplastrum, cum peccato justitia, cum execratione benedictio, cum condemnatione remissio, cum transgressione obedientia, cum morte vita, cum inferis regnum, Christus cum Adam, homo cum homine.'
The differences that are among interpreters about the exposition of these words, relate unto the use of some particles, prepositions, and the dependance of one passage upon another; on none of which the confirmation of the truth pleaded for doth depend. But the plain design of the apostle, and his express propositions are such, as if men could but acquiesce in them, might put an end unto this controversy.
Socinus acknowledgeth that this place of Scripture doth give, as he speaks, the greatest occasion unto our opinion in this matter; for he cannot deny, but, at least, a great appearance of what we believe, is represented in the words of the apostle. He doth, therefore, use his utmost endeavour to wrest and deprave them; and yet, although most of his artifices are since traduced into the annotations of others upon the place, he himself produceth nothing material, but what is taken out of Origen, and the comment of Pelagius on this epistle, which is extant in the works of Jerome, and was urged before him by Erasmus. The substance of what he pleads for is, that the actual transgression of Adam is not imputed unto his posterity, nor a depraved nature from thence communicated unto them. Only whereas he had incurred the penalty of death, all that derive their nature from him in that condition, are rendered subject unto death also. And as for that corruption of nature which is in us, or a proneness unto sin, it is not derived from Adam, but is a habit contracted by many continued acts of our own. So also on the other hand, that the obedience or righteousness of Christ, is not imputed unto us. Only when we make ourselves to become his children by our obedience unto him; he having obtained eternal life for himself by his obedience unto God, we are made partakers of the benefits thereof. This is the substance of his long disputation on this subject,
De Servator. lib. iv. cap. 6. But this is not to expound the words of the apostle, but expressly to contradict them, as we shall see in the ensuing consideration of them.
I intend not an exposition of the whole discourse of the apostle, but only of those passages in it, which evidently declare the way and manner of our justification before God.
A comparison is here proposed and pursued between the first Adam, by whom sin was brought into the world; and the second Adam, by whom it is taken away. And a comparison it is K TOυ vavríov, of things contrary, wherein there is a similitude in some things, and a dissimilitude in others, both sorts illustrating the truth declared in it. The general proposition of it is contained in ver. 12. 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.' The entrance of sin and punishment into the world, was by one man; and that by one sin, as he afterward declares. Yet were they not confined unto the person of that one man, but belonged equally unto all. This the apostle expresseth, inverting the order of the effect and cause. In the entrance of it, he first mentions the cause or sin, and then the effect or punishment. 'By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin:' but in the application of it unto all men, he expresseth first the effect, and then the cause; death passed on all men, for that all had sinned.' Death, on the first entrance of sin, passed on all; that is, all men became liable and obnoxious unto it, as the punishment due to sin. All men, that ever were, are, or shall be, were not then existent in their own persons. But yet were they all of them, then, upon the first entrance of sin, made subject to death, or liable unto punishment. They were so by virtue of divine constitution, upon their federal existence in the one man that sinned. And actually they became obnoxious in their own persons unto the sentence of it, upon their first natural existence, being born children of wrath.
It is hence manifest, what sin it is that the apostle intends, namely, the actual sin of Adam; the one sin of that one common person, whilst he was so. For although the corruption and depravation of our nature, doth necessarily ensue thereon, in every one that is brought forth actually in the world by natural generation; yet is it the guilt of Adam's
actual sin alone, that rendered them all obnoxious unto death upon the first entrance of sin into the world. So death entered by sin, the guilt of it, obnoxiousness unto it. and that with respect unto all men universally.
Death here compriseth the whole punishment due unto sin, be it what it will, concerning which we need not here to dispute. The wages of sin is death,' Rom. vi. 23. and nothing else. Whatever sin deserves in the justice of God, whatever punishment God at any time appointed or threatened unto it, it is comprised in death; In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt die the death.' This therefore the apostle lays down as the foundation of his discourse, and of the comparison which he intends; namely, that in and by the actual sin of Adam, all men are made liable unto death, or unto the whole punishment due unto sin. That is, the guilt of that sin is imputed unto them. For nothing is intended by the imputation of sin unto any, but the rendering them justly obnoxious unto the punishment due unto that sin. As the not imputing of sin, is the freeing of men from being subject or liable unto punishment. And this sufficiently evidenceth the vanity of the Pelagian gloss, that death passed upon all, merely by virtue of natural propagation from him who had deserved it, without any imputation of the guilt of sin unto them; which is a contradiction unto the plain words of the apostle. For it is the guilt of sin, and not natural propagation, that he affirms to be the cause of death.
Having mentioned sin and death, the one as the only cause of the other, the guilt of sin of the punishment of death; sin deserving nothing but death, and death being due unto nothing but sin; he declares, how all men universally became liable unto this punishment, or guilty of death, to' Távτes йuaρrov, in quo omnes peccaverunt;' 'in whom all have sinned.' For it relates unto the one man that sinned, in whom all sinned; which is evident from the effect thereof, inasmuch as in him all died; 1 Cor. xv. 22. Or as it is here, on his sin death passed on all men.' And this is the evident sense of the words, ini being put for iv, which is not unusual in the Scripture. See Matt. xv. 5. Rom. iv. 18. v. 2. Phil. i. 3. Heb. ix. 17. And it is so often used by the best writers in the Greek tongue. So Hesiod,
Μέτρον δ ̓ ἐπὶ πᾶσιν ἄριστον, “ modus in omnibus rebus optimus.” So ἐφ ̓ ὑμῖν ἔστιν, ‘in vobis situm est,” τοῦτο ἑπ ̓ ἐμοὶ Kɛīraι, ' hoc in me situm est.' And this reading of the words is contended for by Austin, against the Pelagians, rejecting their eo quod' or 'propterea.' But I shall not contend about the reading of the words. It is the artifice of our adversaries to persuade men, that the force of our argument to prove from hence the imputation of the sin of Adam unto his posterity, doth depend solely upon this interpretation of these words, ip', by in whom.' We shall therefore grant them their desire, that they are better rendered by ' eo quod, propterea,' or 'quatenus;' inasmuch, because.' Only we must say, that here is a reason given, why 'death passed on all men,' inasmuch as all have sinned,' that is, in that sin whereby death entered into the world.
It is true; death, by virtue of the original constitution of the law, is due unto every sin, whenever it is committed. But the present inquiry is, how death passed at once on all men, how they came liable and obnoxious unto it upon its first entrance by the actual sin of Adam; which cannot be by their own actual sin. Yea, the apostle in the next verses affirms, that death passed on them also, who never sinned actually, or as Adam did, whose sin was actual. And if the actual sins of men in imitation of Adam's sin were intended, then should men be made liable to death, before they had sinned. For death upon its first entrance into the world, passed on all men, before any one man had actually sinned but Adam only. But that men should be liable unto death, which is nothing but the punishment of sin, when they have not sinned, is an open contradiction. For although God by his sovereign power might inflict death on an innocent creature, yet that an innocent creature should be guilty of death is impossible. For to be guilty of death, is to have sinned. Wherefore this expression, inasmuch as all have sinned,' expressing the desert and guilt of death, then when sin and death first entered into the world, no sin can be intended in it, but the sin of Adam, and our interest therein;
Eramus enim omnes ille unus homo.' And this can be no otherwise, but by the imputation of the guilt of that sin unto us. For the act of Adam not being ours inherently and subjectively, we cannot be concerned in its effect, but by the 2 D