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impieties and superstitions, who are continually guilty of national immoralities, and practise idolatry, malice and lewdness, fraud and falsehood, with scarce any regret or restraint. (p. 415.)
"Then sighing within myself I said, It is not many years since these were all infants; and they were brought up by parents who knew not God, nor the path that leads to life and happiness. Are not these unhappy children born under difficulties almost unsurmountable? Are they not laid under almost an impossibility, of breaking their way of themselves, through so much thick darkness, to the knowledge, the fear, and the love of him that made them? Dreadful truth indeed! Yet, so far as I can see, certain and incontestible. Such, I fear, is the case of those of the human race who, cover at present the far greatest part of the globe. (p. 416.)
“Then I ran back in my thoughts four or five thousand years, and said within myself, what multitudes in every age of the world, have been born in these deplorable circumstances? They are inured from their birth to barbarous customs and impious practices; they have an image of the life of brutes and devils wrought in them by their early education: they have had the seeds of wretched wickedness, sown, planted, and cultivated in them, by the savage instructions of those that went before them. And their own imitation of such horrible examples has confirmed the mischief, long before they knew or heard of the true God: if they have heard of him to this day. Scarce any of them have admitted one thoughtful inquiry, whether they follow the rules of reason, or whether they are in the way of happiness and peace, any more than their parents before them. As they are born in this gross darkness, so they grow up in the vile idolatries, and all the shameful abominations of their country, and go on to death in the same course. Nor have they light enough, either from without or within to make them ask seriously, 'Is there not a lię in my right hand? Am I not in the way of destruction ?'
"St. Peter, says indeed, That 'in every nation he that feareth God and worketh righteousness is accepted of him.' But if there were very few (among the Jews) who feared God, very few in those learned nations of the Gentiles, how much fewer, may we suppose, are in those barbarous countries, which have no knowledge, either divine or human ? (p. 419.)
"But would this have been the case of those unhappy nations, both of the parents and their children, in a hundred long successions, had they been such a race of creatures, as they came out of the hand of the Creator? If those children had been guiltless in the eye of God could this have been their portion? In short, can we suppose, the wise, and righteous, and merciful God would have established and continued such a constitution for the propagation of mankind, which should naturally place so many millions of them so early in such dismal circumstances; if there had not been some dreadful and universal degeneracy spread over them and their fathers, by some original crime, which met and seized them at the very entrance into life? (p. 420.)
THE SECOND ESSAY.
A plain Explication of the Doctrine of Imputed Sin and Imputed Righteousness.' (p. 427.)
"This Doctrine has been attended with many noisy controversies in the Christian world. Let us try whether it may not be set in so fair and easy a light, as to reconcile the sentiments of the contending parties.
"When a man has broken the law of his country, and is punished for so doing, it is plain that sin is imputed to him : his wickedness is upon him; he bears his iniquity: that is, he is reputed or accounted guilty: he is condemned and dealt with as an offender. (p. 428.)
"On the other hand if an innocent man, who is falsely accused is acquitted by the court, sin is not imputed to him, but righteousness is imputed to him; or to use another phrase, his righteousness is upon him.
"Or, if a reward be given a man for any righteous action, this righteous act is imputed to him.
"Farther, If a man has committed a crime, but the prince pardons him, then he is justified from it; and his fault is not imputed to him. (p. 429.)
“But if a man, having committed treason, his estate is taken from him and his children, then they bear the iniquity of their father, and his sin is imputed to them also.
"If a man lose his life and estate for murder, and his children thereby become vagabonds, then the blood of the person murdered is said to be upon the murderer, and upon his children also. So the Jews: His blood be on us and on our children; let us and our children be punished for it.
"Or, if a criminal had incurred the penalty of imprisonment, and the state were to permit a friend of his to become his surety, and to be confined in his room, then his crime is said to be imputed to his surety, or to be laid upon him: he bears the iniquity of his friend, by suffering for him. Meantime the crime for which the surety now suffers, is not imputed to the real offender. (p. 430.)
"And should we suppose the prince, to permit this surety to exert himself in some eminent service, to which a reward is promised, and all this in order to entitle the criminal to the promised reward, then this eminent service may be said to be imputed to the criminal, that is, he is rewarded on the account of it. So in this case, both what his friend has done and suffered, is imputed to him.
"If a man do some eminent service to his prince, and he with his posterity are dignified on account of it; then the service performed by the father is said to be imputed to the children also. (p. 431.)
"Now if among the histories of nations we find any thing of this kind, do we not easily understand what the writers say? Why then do we judge these phrases when
they are found in the inspired writers, to be so hard to be understood?
"But it may be asked, how can the acts of the parent's treason, be imputed to his little child? Since those acts were quite out of the reach of an infant, nor was it possible for him to commit them? (p. 432.) Or how can the eminent service performed by a father, be imputed to his child, who is but an infant?
"I answer, 1. Those acts of treason or acts of service, are by a common figure said to be imputed to the children, when they suffer or enjoy the consequences of their father's treason or eminent service: though the particular actions of treason or service, could not be practised by the children. This would easily be understood should it occur in human history. And why not, when it occurs in the sacred writ ings? (p. 433.)
"I answer, 2. Sin is taken either for an act of disobedience to a law, or for the legal result of such an act; that is, the guilt, or liableness to punishment. Now when we say, the sin of a traitor is imputed to his children, we do not mean, that the act of the father is charged upon the child: but that the guilt or liableness to punishment is so transferred to him that he suffers banishment or poverty on account of it.
"In like manner righteousness is either, particular acts of obedience to a law, or the legal result of those actions, that is, a right to the reward annexed to them.
"And so when we say, The righteousness of him that has performed some eminent act of obedience, is imputed to his children, we do not mean, that the particular act of the father is charged on the child, as if he had done it: but that the right to reward, which is the result of that act, is transferred to his children.
"Now if we would but thus explain every text of Scripture wherein either imputed sin or imputed righteousness is mentioned, (whether in express words, or in the plain meaning of them) we should find them all easy and intelligible. (p. 435.)
"Thus we may easily understand, how the obedience of
Christ is imputed to all his seed; and how the disobedience of Adam is imputed to all his children. (p. 436.)
"To confirm this, I would add these three remarks:
1. "There are several histories in Scripture, where expressions of the same import occur.
"So Gen. xxii. 16, Thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies, because thou hast obeyed my voice.' Here Abraham's obedience, that is, the result of it, is imputed to his posterity.
"So Numb. xxv. 11, God gave to Phinehas and his seed after him the covenant of an everlasting priesthood, because he was zealous for his God,' and slew the criminals in Israel. This was so imputed to his children that they also received the reward of it. (p. 437.)
"Thus the sin of Achan was so imputed to his children, that they were all stoned on account of it, Josh. vii. 24. In like manner the covetousness of Gehazi was imputed to his posterity, (2 Kings v. 27,) when God by his prophet pronounced, that the leprosy should cleave unto him and to his seed for ever. (p. 438.)
2. "The Scriptures both of the Old and New Testament, use the words sin and iniquity, (both in Hebrew and Greek,) to signify not only the criminal actions themselves, but also the result and consequences of those actions, that is, The guilt or liableness to punishment: and sometimes the punishment itself, whether it fall upon the original criminal, upon others on his account. (p. 439.)
"In the same manner the Scriptures use the word righteousness, not only for acts of obedience, but also the result of them, that is, justification, or right to a reward. A mode rate study of some of those texts where these words are used, may convince us of this.
"So Job xxxiii. 26, 'God will render to a man his right eousness:' that is, the reward of it. Hos. x. 12, Sow to yourselves in righteousness, till the Lord come and rain righteousness upon you:' that is, till he pour down the re wards or fruits of it upon you.
"I might add here, that in several places of St. Paul's