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where in all the Old Testament or the four Evangelists, as the occasion of it.
What christian has there ever been, that believed the moral corruption of human nature, who ever doubted that it came in the way of which the apostle speaks, when he says, "By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin?" Nor indeed have they any more reason to doubt of it, than to doubt of the whole history of our first parents, because Adam's name is so rarely mentioned on any occasion in scripture, after that first account of him, and Eve's never at all; and because we have no more any express mention of the particular manner in which mankind were first brought into being, either with respect to the creation of Adam or Eve. It is sufficient, that the abiding, most visible effects of these things remain in the view of mankind in all ages, and are often spoken of in scripture; aud that the particular manner of their being introduced is once plainly set forth in the beginning of the Bible, in that history which gives us an account of the origin of all things. And doubtless it was expected by the great author of the bible, that the account in the three first chapters of Genesis should be taken as a plain account of the introduction of both natural and moral evil into the world. The history of Adam's sin, with its circumstances, God's threatening, the sentence pronounced upon him after his transgression and the immediate consequences, consisting in so vast an alteration in his state-and the state of the world, with respect to all his posterity-most directly and sufficiently lead us to understand the rise of calamity, sin and death, in this sinful, miserable world.
It is fit we all should know, that it does not become us to tell the Most High, how often he shall particularly explain and give the reason of any doctrine which he teaches, in order to our believing what he says. If he has at all given us evidence that it is a doctrine agreeable to his mind, it becomes us to receive it with full credit and submission; and not sullenly to reject it, because our notions and humours are not suited in the manner, and number of times, of his particularly explaining it. How often is pardon of sins promised in the Old Testament to repenting and returning sinners? How many hundred times is God's special favour there promised to the sincerely righteous, without any express mention of these benefits being through Christ? Would it therefore become us to say, that inasmuch as our dependence on Christ for these benefits is a doctrine, which, if true, is of such importance, God ought expressly to have mentioned Christ's merits as the reason and ground of the benefits, if he knew they were the ground of them; and should have plainly declared it sooner, and more frequently, if ever he expected we should believe him when he did tell us of
it? How oft is vengeance and misery threatened in the Old Testament to the wicked, without any clear and express signification of any such thing intended, as that everlasting fire, where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth, in another world, which Christ so often speaks of as the punishment appointed for all the wicked? Would it now become a christian to object and say, that if God really meant any such thing, he ought in reason and truth to have declared it plainly and fully; and not to have been so silent about a matter of such vast importance to all mankind, for four thousand years together?
Observations on various other Places of Scripture, principally of the New Testament, proving the Doctrine of Original Sin.
Observations on John iii. 6. in Connection with some other Passages in the New Testament.
Those words of Christ, giving a reason to Nicodemus, why we must be born again, John iii. 6. That which is born of the flesh, is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit, have not without good reason been produced by divines, as a proof of the doctrine of original sin: supposing that by flesh here is meant the human nature in a debased and corrupt state. Yet Dr. T. (p. 144.) thus explains these words, "that which is born of the flesh is flesh; that which is born by natural descent and propagation, is a man consisting of body and soul, or the mere constitution and powers of a man in their natural state." But the constant use of these terms, flesh and spirit, in other parts of the New Testament, when thus in opposition, and the latter said to be produced by the spirit of God, as here-and when expressive of the same thing which Christ is here speaking of to Nicodemus, viz. the requisite qualifications to salvation-will fully vindicate the sense of our divines. Thus in the 7th and 8th chapters of Romans, where these terms flesh and spirit, (ragg and aveva are abundantly repeated, and set in opposition, as here. So chap. vii. 14. The law is (veuμarm) spiritual, but I am (σapxx) carnal, sold under sin. He cannot only mean, I am a man consisting of body and soul, and having the powers of a man.' Ver. 18. I know that in me, that is, in my FLESH, dwelleth no good thing. He does not mean to condemn his frame, as consisting of body VOL. II. 57
and soul; and to assert, that in his human constitution, with the powers of a man, dwells no good thing. And when he says in the last verse of the chapter, with the mi, I myself serve the law of God, but with the FLESH, the law of sin; he cannot mean, 'I myself serve the law of God; but with my innocent human constitution, as having the powers of a man, I serve the law of sin. And when he says in the next words, the beginning of the 8th chapter, there is no condemnation to them, that walk not after the FLESH, but after the spirit; and ver. 4. The righte ousness of the law is fulfilled in us, who walk not after the FLESH ; he cannot mean, 6 there is no condemnation to them that walk not according to the powers of a man,' &c. And when he says, (ver. 5. and 6.) They that are after the FLESH, do mind the things of the FLESH and to be carnally minded is death; he does not intend, they that are according to the human constitution, and the powers of a man, do mind the things of the human constitution and powers; and to mind these is death.' And when he says, (ver. 7. and 8.) The carnal (or fleshly) mind is enmity against God, and is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be so that they that are in the FLESH, cannot please God; he cannot mean, that to mind the things which are agreeable to the powers and constitution of a man,' who as our author says, is constituted or made right, is enmity against God; and that a mind which is agreeable to this right human constitution, as God hath made it, is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be; and that they who are according to such a constitution cannot please God.' And when it it is said, (ver. 9.) Ye are not in the flesh,but in the spirit, the apostle cannot mean, ye are not in the human nature, as constituted of body and soul, and with the powers of a man.' It is most manifest, that by the flesh here the apostle means a nature that is corrupt, of an evil tendency, and directly opposite to the law and holy nature of God; so that to walk according to it, and to have a mind so conformed, is to be an utter enemy to God and his law; in a state of perfect inconsistence with subjection to God, and of being pleasing to him; and in a sure and infallible tendency to death and utter destruction. And it is plain, that here by walking after, or according to the flesh, is meant the same thing as walking according to a corrupt and sinful nature; and to walk according to the spirit, is to walk according to a holy and divine nature or principle; And to be carnally minded, is the same as being viciously and corruptly minded; and to be spiritually minded, is to be of a virtuous and holy disposition.
When Christ says, John iii. 6. That which is born of the FLESH is FLESH, he represents the flesh not merely as a quality : for it would be incongruous to speak of a quality as a thing born. Therefore man, as in his whole nature corrupt, is called flesh; which is agreeable to other scripture representations, where he corrupt nature is called the old man, the body of sin, and
the body of death. Agreeable to this are those representations in the 7th and 8th chapters of Romans. There, flesh is figuratively represented as a person, according to the apostle's manner. This is observed by, Mr. LocKE, and after him by Dr. T. who takes notice that the apostle, in the 6th and 7th of Romans, represents sin as a person; and that he figuratively distinguishes in himself two persons, speaking of flesh as his person. For I know that in ME, that is in my FLESH, dwelleth no good thing. And it may be observed, that in the 8th chapter he still continues this representation, speaking of the flesh as a person. Accordingly, in the 6th and 7th verses, he speaks of the mind of the flesh, (ogovna sagx) and of the mind of the spirit, (@govnμa avsuμar) as if the flesh and spirit were two opposite persons, each having a mind contrary to that of the other. Dr. T. interprets this mind of the flesh, and mind of the spirit, as though the flesh and the spirit were the different objects, about which the mind is conversant. But this is plainly beside the apostle's meaning; who speaks of the flesh and spirit as the subjects in which the mind is; and in a sense the agents, but not the objects about which it acts. We have the same phrase again, ver. 27, He that searcheth the hearts, knoweth what is the MIND OF THE SPIRIT, (ogovýμa avsuμar.) The mind of the spiritual nature in the saints is the same with the mind of the spirit of God himself, who imparts and actuates that spiritual nature; and here the spirit is the subject and agent, but not the object. The same apostle, in a similar manner, uses the word, (vas,) mind. Col. ii. 18, Vainly puffed up by his FLESHY MIND, (αTO TX voC rns dagx@ aurs,) by the mind of his flesh. And this agent so often called flesh, represented by the apostle as altogether evil, without any good thing dwelling in it, or belonging to it-yea perfectly contrary to God and his law, and tending only to death and ruin, and directly opposite to the spirit-is what Christ speaks of to Nicodemus as born in the first birth, and furnishing a reason why there is a necessity of a new birth, in order to a better duction.
One thing is particularly observable in that discourse of the apostle-in which he so often uses the term flesh, as opposite to spirit-that he expressly calls it sinful flesh, Rom, viii. 3. It is manifest, that by sinful flesh he means the same thing with that flesh spoken of in all the context: And that when it is said, Christ was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, the expression is equipollent with those that speak of Christ as made sin, and made a curse for us.
Flesh and spirit are opposed to one another in Gal. v. in the same manner as in the 8th of Romans. And there assuredly, by flesh cannot be meant only the human nature of body and soul or the mere constitution and powers of a man, as in its
natural state, innocent and right. In the 16th ver. the Apostle says, Walk in the SPIRIT, and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the FLESH: the flesh is something of an evil inclination, desire, or lust. But this is more strongly signified in the next words; For the FLESH lusteth against the SPIRIT and the SPIRIT against the FLESH; and these are contrary the one to the other. What could have been said more plainly, to shew that what the apostle means by flesh, is something very evil in its nature, and an irreconcilable enemy to all goodness? And it may be observed that in these words and those that follow, the apostle still figuratively represents the flesh as a person or agent, desiring, acting, having lusts, and performing works. And by works of the flesh, and fruits of the spirit, which are opposed to each other, (from ver. 19, to the end) are plainly meant the same as works of a sinful nature, and fruits of a holy renewed nature. "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, &c.-But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness," &c. The apostle by flesh does not mean any thing that is innocent and good in itself, which only needs to be restrained and kept in proper bounds; but something altogether evil, which is to be destroyed. 1 Cor. v. 5. To deliver such an one to satan, for the DESTRUCTION OF THE FLESH. We must have no mercy on it; we cannot be too cruel to it; it must even be crucified. Gal v. 24. They that are Christ's have CRUCIFIED the FLESH with the affections and lusts.
The apostle John-the same apostle that writes the account of what Christ said to Nicodemus-by the spirit means the same thing as a new, divine, and holy nature, exerting itself in a principle of divine love, which is the sum of all christian holiness. 1 John iii. 23, 24. "And that we should love one another, as he gave us commandment; and he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him: And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the spirit that he hath given us. Chap. iv. 12, 13. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us: Hereby know we that we dwell in him, because he hath given us of his spirit." The spiritual principle in us being as it were a communication of the Spirit of God to us.
And as by (veuua) spirit, is meant a holy nature, so by the epithet (VEUμar) spiritual, is meant the same as truly virtuous and holy, Gal. vi. 1. "Ye that are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness." The apostle refers to what he had just said at the end of the foregoing chapter, where he had mentioned meekness as a fruit of the spirit. And so by carnal or fleshly, (dagxix) is meant the same as sinful. Rom. vii, 14.