« ElőzőTovább »
only without toil or sorrow, pain or disease, to humble and mortify them, and a sentence of death to wean them from the world, but-in the midst of the most exquisite and alluring sensitive delights; the reyerse in every respect, and the highest degree, of that most gracious state of requisite means and great advantages, which mankind- now enjoy! If mankind now under these vast restraints and great advantages, are not restrained from general, and as it were universal wickedness, how could it be expected that Adam and Eve, created with no better hearts than men bring into the world now, and destitute of all these advantages, and in the midst of all contrary disadvantages should escape it?
These things are not agreeable to Moses's account. That represents a happy state of peculiar favours and blessings before the fall, and the curse coming afterwards; but according to this scheme, the curse was before the fall, and the great favours and testimonies of love followed the apostacy. And the curse before the fall must be a curse with a witness, being to so high a degree the reverse of such means, means so necessary for such a creature as innocent man, and in all their multitude and fulness proving too little. Paradise therefore must be a mere delusion! There was indeed a great shew of favour in placing man in the midst of such delights. But this delightful garden, it seems, with all its beauty and sweetness, was in its real tendency worse than the apples of Sodom. It was but a mere bait, (God forbid the blasphemy) the more effectually enticing by its beauty and deliciousness to Adam's eternal ruin. Which might be the more expected to be fatal to him, seeing he was the first man, having no capacity superior to his posterity, and wholly without the advantage of their observations, experiences, and improvements.
I proceed now to take notice of an additional proof of the doctrine we are upon, from another part of the holy scripture. A very clear text for original right ousness, we have in Eccles. vii. 29. Lo, this only have I found, that God made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.
It is an observation of no weight which Dr. T. makes on this text, that the word man is commonly used to signify mankind in general, or mankind collectively taken. It is true it often signifies the species of mankind; but then it is used to signify the species with regard to its duration and succession from its beginning, as well as with regard to its extent. The English word mankind is used to signify the species: But what then? Would it be an improper way of speaking to say, that when God first made mankind he placed them in a pleasant paradise, (meaning in their first parents) but now they live in the midst of briars and thorns? And it is certain that to speak thus of God making mankind--his giving the species an existence in their
first parents, at the creation-is agreeable to the scripture use of such an expression. As in Deut. iv. 32. Since the day that God CREATED MAN upon the earth. Job xx. 4. Knowest thou not this of old, since MAN was placed upon the earth. Isai. xlv. 12. I have made the earth and CREATED MAN upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens. Jer. xxvii. 5. I HAVE MADE the earth, the MAN and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power. All these texts speak of God making man, signifying the species of mankind; and yet they all plainly have respect to God making man at first, when he made the earth and stretched out the heavens. In all these places the same word, Adam, is used as in Ecclesiastes; and in the last of them, used with (HE emphaticum) the emphatic sign, as here; though Dr. T. omits it, when he tells us he gives us a catalogue of all the places in scripture where the word is used. And it argues nothing to the doctor's purpose that the pronoun they is used;THEY have sought out many inventions. This is properly applied to the species, which God made at first upright; the species begun with more than one, and continued in a multitude. As Christ speaks of the two sexes, in the relation of man and wife, continued in successive generations; Mat. xix. 4. He that MADE THEM in the beginning, made them male and female; having reference to Adam and Eve.
No less impertinent, and also very unfair, is his criticism on the word () translated upright. Because the word sometimes signifies right, he would from thence infer, that it does not properly signify moral rectitude, even when used to express the character of moral agents. He might as well insist that the English word upright, sometimes, and in its most original meaning, signifies right up, or in an erect posture, therefore it does not properly signify any moral character, when applied to moral agents. And indeed less unreasonably; for it is known that in the Hebrew language, in a peculiar manner, most words used to signify moral and spiritual things, are taken from external and natural objects. The word (Jashar) is used, as applied to moral agents, or to the words and actions of such, (if I have not mis-reckoned*) about an hundred and ten times in scripture; and about an hundred of them, without all dispute, to signify virtue, or moral rectitude, (though Dr. T. is pleased to say, the word does not generally signify a moral character) and for the most part it signifies true virtue, or virtue in such a sense, as distinguishes it from all false appearances of virtue, or what is only virtue in some respects, but not truly so in the sight of God. It is used at least eighty times in this sense: And scarce any word can be found in the Hebrew language more significant of this. It is thus used constantly in Solomon's
*Making use of Buxtorf's Concordance, which, according to the author's professed design, directs to all the places where the word is used.
writings, (where it is often found) when used to express a character or property of moral agents. And it is beyond all con troversy, that he uses it in this place, (the viith of Eccles.) to signify moral rectitude, or a character of real virtue and integrity. For the wise man is speaking of persons with respect to their moral character, inquiring into the corruption and depravity of mankind, (as is confessed p. 184.) and he here declares, he had not found more than one among a thousand of the right stamp, truly and thoroughly virtuous and upright: Which appeared a strange thing! But in this text he clears God, and lays the blame on man: Man was not made thus at first. He was made of the right stamp, altogether good in his kind, (as all other things were) truly and thoroughly virtuous as he ought to be; but they have sought out many inventions. Which last expression signifies things sinful, or morally evil; (as is confessed, p. 185.) And this expression, used to signify those moral evils he found in man, which he sets in opposition to the uprightness man was made in, shews, that by uprightness he means the most true and sincere goodness. The word rendered inventions, most naturally and aptly signifies the subtile devices and crooked deceitful ways of hypocrites, wherein they are of a character contrary to men of simplicity and godly sincerity; who, though wise in that which is good, are simple concerning evil. Thus the same wise man, in Prov. xii. 2. sets a truly good man in opposition to a man of wicked devices, whom God will condemn. Solomon had occasion to observe many who put on an artful disguise and fair shew of goodness; but on searching thoroughly, he found very few truly upright. As he says, Prov. xx. 6. Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: But a faithful man who can find? So that it is exceeding plain that by uprightness, in this place, (Eccles. vii.) Solomon means true moral goodness.
What our author urges concerning many inventions, whereas Adam's eating of the forbidden fruit was but one invention, is of as little weight as the rest of what he says on this text. For the many lusts and corruptions of mankind, appearing in innumerable ways of sinning, are all the consequence of that sin. The great corruption men are fallen into by the original apostacy, appears in the multitude of the wicked ways to which they are inclined. And therefore these are properly mentioned as the fruits and evidences of the greatness of that apostacy and corruption.
Concerning the Kind of Death threatened to our first Parents, if they should eat of the forbidden Fruit.
Dr. T. in his observations on the three first chapters of Genesis, says, (p. 7.) "The threatening to man in case of transgression was, that he should surely die.-Death is the losing of life. Death is opposed to life, and must be understood according to the nature of that life, to which it is opposed. Now the death here threatened can, with any certainty, be opposed only to the life God gave Adam, when he created him, (ver. 7.) Any thing besides this must be pure conjecture, without solid foundation."
To this I would say it is true, Death is opposed to life, and must be understood according to the nature of that life, to which it is opposed. But does it therefore follow that nothing can be meant by it but the loss of life? Misery is opposed to happiness, and sorrow is in scripture often opposed to joy; but can we conclude from thence, that nothing is meant in scripture by sorrow, but the loss of joy? Or that there is no more in misery than the loss or absence of happiness? And if the death threatened to Adam can, with certainty, be opposed only to the life given to Adam, when God created him; I think a state of perfect, perpetual, and hopeless misery is properly opposed to that state Adam was in when God created. him. For I suppose it will not be denied, that the life. Adam had was truly a happy life; happy in perfect innocency, in the favour of his Maker, surrounded with the happy fruits and testimonies of his love. And I think it has been proved, that he also was happy in a state of perfect righteousness. Nothing is more manifest, than that it is agreeable to a very common acceptation of the word life, in scripture, that it be understood as signifying a state of excellent and happy existence. Now that which is most opposite to that life and state in which Adam was created, is a state of total, confirmed wickedness, and perfect hopeless misery, under the divine displeasure and curse; not excluding temporal death, or the destruction of the body, as an introduction to it.
Besides, that which is much more evident than any thing Dr. T. says on this head, is, that the death which was to come
Adam as the punishment of his disobedience, was opposed to that life which he would have had as the reward of his obedience in case he had not sinned. Obedience and disobedience are con
419 traries; the threatenings and promises which are sanctions of a law are set in direct opposition; and the promises, rewards and threatened punishments, are most properly taken as each other's opposites. But none will deny that the life which would have been Adam's reward, if he had persisted in obedience, was eternal life. And therefore we argue justly that the death which stands opposed to that life, (Dr. T. himself being judge, p. 120. S.) is manifestly eternal death, a death widely different from the death we now die-to use his own words. If Adam, for his persevering obedience was to have had everlasting life and happiness, in perfect holiness, union with his Maker, and enjoyment of his favour; and this was the life which was to be confirmed by the tree of life; then, doubtless, the death threatened in case of disobedience, which stands in direct opposition to this, was an exposure to everlasting wickedness and misery, in separation from God, and in enduring his wrath.
When God first made mankind, and made known to them the methods of his moral government towards them, in the revelation he made of himself to the natural head of the whole species—and letting him know that obedience to him was expected, and in enforcing his duty with the sanction of a threatened punishment, called by the name of death--we may with the greatest reason suppose, in such a case, that by death was meant the most proper punishment of the sin of mankind, and which he speaks of under that name throughout the scripture, as the proper wages of sin; and this was always, from the beginning, understood to be so in the church of God. It would be strange indeed if it should be otherwise. It would have been strange, if, when the law of God was first given, and enforced by the threatening of a punishment, nothing at all had been mentioned of that great punishment ever spoken of under the name of death in the revelations which he has given to mankind from age to age-as the proper punishment of the sin of mankind.And it would be no less strange, if when the punishment which was mentioned and threatened on that occasion was called by the same name, even death, yet we must not understand it to mean the same thing, but something infinitely diverse, and infinitely more inconsiderable.
But now let us consider what that death is, which the scripture ever speaks of as the proper wages of sin, and is spoken of as such by God's saints in all ages of the church. I will begin with the New Testament. When the apostle Paul says, (Rom. vi. 23.) The wages of sin is DEATH, Dr. T. tells us, (p. 120, S.) that this means eternal death, the second death, a death widely different from the death we now die. The same apostle speaks of death as the proper punishment due for sin, Rom. vii. 5. and chap. viii. 13. 2 Cor. iii. 7. 1 Cor. xv. 56. In all which places, Dr. T. himself supposes the apostle to intend eternal