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"man's losing the image of God by the fall, and recovering it by Christ.' Tertullian says, 'Man was in the beginning deceived, and therefore condemned to death: upon which his whole race became infected and partaker of his condemnation,' (De testimonio animæ.) Cyprian is express in his epistle to Fidus. Origen says, 'The curse of Adam is common to all.' Again, Man by sinning lost the image and likeness of God.' And again, 'No one is clean from the filth of sin, even though he is not above a day old.' (p. 93.)
"The whole of me,' says Nazianzen, has need of being saved, since the whole of me fell, and was condemned for the disobedience of my first father.' Many more are the testimonies of Athanasius, Basil, Hilary; all prior to Augustine. And how generally since Augustine this important truth has been asserted, is well known. Plain it is therefore that the churches of Christ from the beginning, have borne clear testimony to it.
"To conclude. 1. This is a scriptural doctrine. Many plain texts directly teach it.
"2. It is a rational doctrine, thoroughly consistent with the dictates of sound reason: and this, notwithstanding there may be some circumstances relating thereto, which human reason cannot fathom. (p. 91.)
"3. It is a practical doctrine. It has the closest connection with the life, power, and practice of religion. It leads men to the foundation of all Christian practice, the knowledge of himself: and hereby, to the knowledge of God, and the knowledge of Christ crucified. It prepares him for, and confirms him in, just conceptions of the dependance of his salvation, on the merits of Christ for justification, and the power of his Spirit for inward and outward holiness. It humbles the natural pride of man: it excludes selfapplause and boasting: and points out the true and only way whereby we may fulfil all righteousness.
"4. It is an experimental doctrine. The sincere Christian day by day carries the proof of it in his own bosom: experiencing that in himself which is abundantly sufficient to
convince him, That 'in him' by nature dwelleth no good thing but that it is God alone who worketh in him, both to will and to do, of his good pleasure.'
LEWISHAM, March 23, 1757.
I HAVE now gone through, as my leisure would permit, this whole complicated question; and I have spoken on each branch of it with plainness and openness, according to the best light I have at present. I have only a few words more to add, and that with the same openness and simplicity.
What I have often acknowledged, I now repeat. Were it not on a point of so deep importance, I would no more enter the lists with Dr. Taylor, than I would lift my hand against a giant. I acknowledge your abilities of every kind: your natural and acquired endowments; your strong understanding, your lively and fruitful imagination, your plain and easy, yet nervous style. I make no doubt of your having studied the original Scriptures for many years. And I believe you have moral endowments, which are infinitely more valuable and more amiable than all these. For (if I am not greatly deceived) you bear good-will to all men. And And may not I add, you fear God?
O what might not you do, with these abilities? What would be too great for you to attempt and effect? Of what service might you be not only to your own countrymen, but to all that bear the Christian name? How might you advance the cause of true, primitive, scriptural Christianity ? Of solid, rational virtue? Of the deep, holy, happy, spiritual religion, which is brought to light by the gospel? How capable are you of recommending, not barely morality, (the duty of man to man,) but piety, the duty of man to God? Even, the worshipping him in spirit and in truth?' How well qualified are you, to explain, enforce, defend, even 'the deep things of God?' The nature of the kingdom of God within us? Yea, the interiora regni Dei? (I speak on supposition of your having the 'unction of the Holy One, added to your other qualifications.) And are you,
whom God has so highly favoured, among those who serve the opposite cause? If one might transfer the words of a man to him, might not one conceive him to say, Kα σʊ ɛ εκείνων, και συ τέκνον ; Are you disserving the cause of inward religion? Labouring to destroy the inward kingdom of God? Sapping the foundation of all true, spiritual worship? Advancing morality on the ruins of piety? Are you among those who are overthrowing the very foundations of primitive, scriptural Christianity? Which certainly can have no ground to stand upon, if the scheme lately advanced be true. What room is there for it, till men repent? Know themselves? Without this can they know or love God? O why should you block up the way to repentance? And consequently, to the whole religion of the heart? 'Let a man be a fool,' says the apostle, that he may be wise.' But you tell him, he is wise already: that every man is by nature, as wise as Adam was in Paradise. He gladly drinks in the soothing sound, and sleeps on and takes his rest. We beseech those who are mad after earthly things, to take knowledge of the dreadful state they are in. To return to their Father, and beg of him the Spirit of love and of a sound mind.' You tell them, they are of a sound mind already. They believe, and turn to their husks again. Jesus comes to seek and save that which is lost.' You tell the men of form, (though as dead to God as a stone,) that they are not lost: that (inasmuch as they are free from gross sins) they are in a good way, and will undoubtedly be saved. So they live and die, without the knowledge, love, or image of God, and die eternally!
"They will be saved." But are they saved already? We know all real Christians are. If they are, if these are possessed of the present salvation which the Scriptures speak of, what is that salvation? How poor, dry, dull, shallow, superficial a thing? Wherein does it excel what the wiser Heathens taught, nay, and perhaps experienced? What poor, pitiable creatures are those Christians, so called, who have advanced no higher than this? You see enough of these on every side: perhaps even in your own.
congregation. What knowledge have they of the things of God? What love to God, or to Christ? What heavenlymindedness? How much of the mind which was in Christ Jesus? How little have they profited by all your instructions? How few are wiser and better than when you knew them first? O take knowledge of the reason why they are not. That doctrine will not make them wise unto salvation.' All it can possibly do, is to shake off the leaves. It does not affect the branches of sin. Unholy tempers are just as they were. Much less does it strike at the root: pride, self-will, unbelief, heart-idolatry, remain undisturbed, and unsuspected.
I am grieved for the people who are thus seeking death in the error of their life. I am grieved for you, who surely desire to teach them the way of God in truth. O Sir, think it possible, that you may have been mistaken! That you may have leaned too far, to what you thought the better extreme. Be persuaded once more to review your whole cause, and that from the very foundation. And in doing so, you will not disdain to desire more than natural light. O that the Father of glory,' may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation! May he enlighten the eyes of your understanding, that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints!'
LEWISHAM, March 24, 1757.
The DOCTRINE of ORIGINAL SIN.
Because of the unspeakable importance of thoroughly understanding this grand foundation of all revealed religion, I subjoin one more extract, relating both to the original and the present state of man.
"God made man upright.* By man we are to understand our first parents, the archetypal pair, the root of mankind. This man was made right, (agreeably to the nature of God, whose work is perfect,) without any imperfection, corruption, or principle of corruption, in his body or soul. He was made upright, that is straight with the will and law of God, without any irregularity in his soul. God, made him thus; he did not first make him, and then make him righteous but in the very making of him he made him righteous; righteousness was concreated with him. With the same breath that God breathed into him a living soul, he breathed into him a righteous soul.
"This righteousness was the conformity of all the faculties and powers of his soul to the moral law: which implied three things.
66 First, his understanding was a lamp of light. He was made after God's image, and consequently could not want knowledge, which is a part thereof. And a perfect knowledge of the law was necessary to fit him for universal obedience, seeing no obedience can be according to the law unless it proceed from a sense of the command of God requiring it. It is true, Adam had not the law written on tables of stone ; but it was written upon his mind. God impressed it upon his soul, and made him a law to himself, as the remains of it, even among the Heathens testify. And seeing man was made to be the mouth of the creation, to glorify God in his works, we have ground to believe, he had an exquisite knowledge of the works of God. We have a proof of this in his giving names to the beasts of the field, and the fowls of the air, and these such as express their nature. Whatsoever Adam called every living thing, that was the name thereof.' And the dominion which God gave him over the creatures, soberly to use them according to his will, (still in subordination to the Will of God,) implies a knowledge of their natures.
* Mr. BOSTON's Four-fold State of Man.