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rized to transact for him, or be his representative; this seemed to others so little consistent with the justice or goodness of the great and infinite God, that they thought there was no redemption necesfary, and consequently that there was none, rather than admit of it upon a supposition to derogatory to the honour and attributes of that Infinite Being; and so made Jesus Christ nothing but the restorer and preacher of pure natural religion ; thereby doing violence to the whole tenor of the New Testament. And, indeed, both sides will be suspected to have trespassed this way, against the written word of God, by any ones who does but take it to be a collect tion of writings designed by God for the instruction of the illiterate bulk of mankind in the way to falvation; and therefore generally and in necessary points to be understood in the plain direct meaning of the words and phrases, such as they may be fupposed to have had in the mouths of the speakers, who used them according to the language of that time and country wherein they lived, without fuch learned, artificial, and forced senses of them, as are fought out, and put upon them in most of the systems of divinity, according to the notions tirat each one has been bred up in.
To one that thus unbiased reads the scriptures, what Adam fell from, is visible, was the state of perfect obedience, which is called & juftice" in the New Testament, though the word which in the original fignifies “justice" be translated “ righteousness :" and by this fall he loft paradise, wherein was tranquillity and the tree of life, i, e. he loft bliss and immortality. The penalty annexed to the breach of the law, with the sentence pronounced by God upon it, thews this. The penalty stands thus, Gen. ii. 17. « In the day that thou “ eateft thereof thou shalt surely die.” How was this executed ? He did eat, but in the day he did 'cat, he did not actually die, but was turned out of paradise from the tree of life, and fhut out for ever from it, left he thould take thereof and live for ever. This thews that the state of paradise was a State of immortality, of life without end, which he loft that very day that he eat : his life began from thence to fhorten and waste, and to have an end ; and from thence to his actual death, was but like the time of a prisoner between the sentence past and the execution, which was in view and certain. Death then entered and shewed his face, which before was shut out, and not known. So St. Paul, Rom. v. 12. « By one man * fin entered into the world, and death by fin ;" i. e. a state of death and niortality : and 1 Cor. xv. 22. “ In Adam all die ;" i. e, by reason of transgression all men are mortal, and coine to die.
This is so clear in these cited places, and so much the current of the New Testament, that nobody can deny but that the do&trinė of the gospel is, that death came on all men by Adam's fin; only they difter about the fignification of the word « death." For some will have it to be a state of guilt, wherein not only he, but all his pofterity was so involved, that every one descended of him deferved endless torment in hell-fire. I shall say nothing more here, how far, in the apprehensions of men, this consists with the justice and
gooitiefs goodness of God, having mentioned it above : but it seems a strange way of understanding a law, which requires the plainest and directeft words, that by « death” should be meant eternal life in misery. Could any one be supposed by a law, that says, “ for felony thou u shalt die,” not that he should lose his life, but be kept alive in perpetual exquifite torments ? And would any one think himfelf fairly dealt with, that was so used ?
To this they would have it be also a state of necessary finning and provoking God in every action that men do: a yet harder fense of the word « death” than the other. God says, " That in the day " that thou eatest of the forbidden fruit, thou shalt die;" i. e. thou and thy posterity shall be ever after uncapable of doing any thing, but what shall be finful and provoking to me, and thall justly deserve my wrath and indignation. Could a worthy man be fupposed to put such terms upon the obedience of his subjects ? much iefs can the righteous God be supposed, as a punishment of one sin wherewith he is displeased, to put a snan under a necessity of fina ning continually, and so multiplying the provocation? The reason of this ftrange interpretation we shall perhaps find in some mistaken places of the New Testament. I must confess, by death here, I can understand nothing but a ceasing to be, the losing of all actions of life and sense. Such a death came on Adam and all his poste. rity by his first disobedience in paradise, under which death they would have lain for ever, had it not been for the redemption by Jesus Christ. If by death threatened to Adam, were meant the corruption of human nature in his posterity, it is strange that the New Teftament should not any where take notice of it, and tell us, that corruption seized on all because of Adam's transgression, as well as it tells us fo of death. But, as I remember, every one's fin is charged upon himself only.
Another part of the sentence was, “ Cursed is the ground for thy u fake; in forrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life, in K the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto « the ground : for out of it wast thou taken ; dust thou art, and to “ duft Ihalt thou return.”. Gen. iii. 17, 19. This shews that pas radise was a place of bliss as well as immortality, without toil and without sorrow. But when man was turned out, he was exposed to the toil, anxiety, and frailties of this mortal life, which should end in the dust, out of which he was made, and to which he should return; and then have no more life or sense than the dust had, out of which he was made.
As Adam was turned out of paradise, so all his posterity was born out of it, out of the reach of the tree of life. All liké their father Adam in a state of mortality, void of the tranquillity and bliss of paradise. Rom. v. 12.“ By one man sin entered into the world, « and death by fin." But here will occur the common objection, that so many stumble at: how doth it consist with the justice and goodness of God, that the posterity of Adam should suffer for his lin; the innocent be punished for the guilty ? Very well, if keep
ing one from what he has no right to, be called a punishment. The state of immortality in paradise is not due to the posterity of Adam more than to any other creature. Nay, if God afford them a temporary mortal life, it is his gift, they owe it to his bounty, they could not claim it as their right, nor does he injure them when he takes it from them. Had he taken from mankind any thing that was their right ; or did he put men in a state of misery worle than not being, without any fault or demerit of their own; this, indeed, would be hard to reconcile with the notion we have of justice, and much more with the goodness and other attributes of the Supreme Being, which he has declared of himself, and reason as well as revelation must acknowledge to be in him ; unless we will confound good and evil, God and Satan. That such a state of extreme irremediable torment is worse than no being at all, if every one's sense did not determine against the vain philosophy, and foolith metaphyficks of some men ; yet our Saviour's peremptory decifion, Matt. xxvi. 24. has put it past doubt, that one may be in such an estate, that it had been “better for him not to have been born.”. But that such a temporary life as we now have, with all its frailties and ordinary miseries, is better than no being, is evident, by the high value we put upon it ourselves. And therefore, though all die in Adam, yet none are truly punished but for their own deeds. Rom. ii. 6. «God will render to every one, how ? according to u his deeds. To those that obey unrichteousness, indignation and « wrath, tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doth “ evil,” ver. 9. 2 Cor. v. 10. “ We must appear before the judge“ment-seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done « in' his body, according to that he has done, whether it be good « or bad.” And Christ himself, who knew for what he should condemn men at the last day, aflures us in the two places where he describes his proceeding at the great judgement, that the sentence of condemnation palles only on the workers of iniquity, such as 'neglected to fulfill the law in acts of charity, Matt. vii. 23. Luke
Matt. xxv. 42. And again, John v. 29. our Saviour teils the Jews, that all shall come forth of their graves, they that have
done good, to the resurrection of life, and they that have done “ evil, unto the 'resurrection of damnation.'
But here is no condemnation of any one, for what his fore-father Adam had done, which it is not likely should have been omitted, if that should have been a cause why any one was adjudged to the fire with the devil and his angels.' And he tells his disciples, that when he comes again with his angels in the glory of his father, " that then he will « render to every one according to his works.” Matt. xvi. 27.
Adam being thus turned out of paradise, and all his pofterity born out of it, the consequence of it was, that all men thould die, and remain under death for ever, and so be utterly lost,
From this estate of death Jesus Christ reftores all mankind to life; 1 Cor. 22. “ As in Adam all die, so in Chrilt shall all be made « alive." How this shall be, the fame apoftle tells us in the fore
**: concerning the
going ver. 21. “By man death came, by man also came the refur= #rection from the dead." Whereby it appears, that the life, which Jesus Chrift restores to all men, is that life, which they receive again at the resurrection. Then they recovered from death, which otherwise all mankind should have continued under, loft for ever, as appears by St. Paul's arguing, 1 Cor, xvconcerning the resurrection.
And thus men are by the second Adam restored to life again : that so by Adam's fin they may none of them lose any thing, which by their own righteousness they might have a title to. For righteousness, or an exact obedience to the law, feems by the scripture to have a claim of right to eternal life, Rom. iv. 4. « To him that “ worketh," i. e. does the works of the law, “is the reward not « reckoned of gracé, but OF DEBT :" and Rev. xxii.
Blessed ” are they who do his commandments, that they may HAVE " RIGHT to the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” If any of the posterity of Adam were just, they thall not lose the reward of it, eternal life and bliss, by being his mortal.iffue : Christ will bring them all to life again ;- and then they shall be put every one upon his own trial, and receive judgment, as he is found to be righteous or not: and “ the righteous; as our Saviour says, Matt. xxv. 46. “ shall go into eternal life." Nor shall any one miss it, who has done what our Saviour directed the lawyer, who asked, Luke x. 25. « What he should do to inherit eternal life? do this,' i. e. what is required by the law; and thou shalt live."
On the other side, it seems the unalterable purpose of the divine justice, that no unrighteous perfonis no one that is guilty of any breach of the law, should be in paradise ; but that the wages of finy Thould be to every man, as it was to Adam, an exclufion of him out of that happy state of immortality, and bring death upon him. And this is so conformable to the eternal and established law of right and wrong, that it is spoke of too'as if it could not be otherwile, St. James fayschap. 12'15..« 'Sin, when it is finished, bring56 eth forth death,” as it were by a natural and necessary production. “ Sin entered into the world, and death by fin,” says St. Paul, Rom, v, 12. and vi. 23. “ The wages of fin is death." Death is the purchase of any, of every sin. Gal
, iii10.1“Cursed is every “ one who continueth not in all things which are written in the « book of the law to do them." And of this St. James gives a reason, chap. ii. 10, 11, “Whosoever shall keep the whole law, " and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all : for he that said, . Do not commit adultery, said also, do not kill !?? 1. é. He that offends in any one point, fins against the authority which established the law,
Here then we have the standing and fixed measures of life and death, Immortality and bliss belong to the righteous : those who have lived in an exact conformity to the law of God, are out of the reach of death : but an exclusion from paradise, and loss of immortality, is the portion of finners, of all those who have any way
broke that law, and failed of a compleat obedience to it by the guile of any one transgression. And thus mankind by the law are put upon the issues of life or death ; as they are righteous or unrighteous, juft or unjust ; i. e. exact performers, or transgreflors of the law,
But yet « all having finned,” Rom. iii, 23:“ and come Short of & the glory of God, i, e, the kingdom of God in heaven, which is often called his glory,“ both Jews and Gentiles,” ver, 22. lo that by the deeds of the law no one could be justified,” ver. 20.; it follows, that no one could then have eternal life and bliss,
Perhaps it will be demanded, why did God give fo hard a law to mankind, that to the Apostles time no one of Adam's ifle had kept it ? as appears by Rom. ii. and Gal. j. 21, 22.
Answ. It was such a law as the purity of God's nature required, and must be the law of such a creature as man, unless God would have made him a rational creature, and not required him to have lived by the law of reason, but would have countenanced in him irregularity and disobedience to that light which he had, and that rule which was suitable to his nature ; which would have been to have authorized disorder, confusion, and wickedness in his creatures, For that this law was the law of reason, or, as it is called, of nagure, we shall see by-and-by ; and if rational creatures will not live up to the rule of their realon; who shall excuse them? If you will admit them to forsake reason in one point, why not in another? Where will you stop? To disobey God in any part of his commands (and it is he that commands what realon does) is direct rebellion, which if dispensed with in any point, government and order, are at an end, and there can be no bounds set to the lawless exorbitancy of unconfined men, « The law therefore was," as St, Paul tells us, Rom. vii, 21, "holy, just, and good," and such as it ought, and could not otherwise be,
This then being the case, that whoever is guilty of any fin should certainly die, and cease to be, the benefit of life restored by Christ at the resurrection would have been no great advantage, (forasmuch as here again death must have seized upon all mankind, because all had finned ; for the wages of fin is every where death, as well after, as before the resurrection), if God had not found out a way to justify fome, ia 'e. so many as obeyed another law, which God gave, which in the New Teitament is called “the law of faith,” Rom. in. 27. and is opposed to “ the law of works. And therefore the punishment of those who would not follow him was to lose their Souls, i.e. their lives, Mark vili. 35, 38. as is plain, considering the occalion it was spoke on.
The better to understand “ the law of faith,” it will be convenient in the first place to consider “ the law of works," The law of works then, in short, is that law which requires perfect obedience, without any remiffion or abatement; so that by that law a man cannot be just, or justified, without an exact performance of every tittle. Such a perfect obedience in the New Teftament is termed dixclocúrn, which we translate “ righteousnefs."