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too, or he would never thus look upon us. If we may rightly understand what they are, perhaps we may come to look upon ourselves as he does ; and then the grace of the gospel will be. gin to appear to us in the same light it does to him.-Thé grounds, then, are as follow :
1. God, the great Governor of the world, does, in the gospel, consider mankind as being guilty of Adam's first sin, and, on that account, to be in a perishing condition. In Adam all died, (I. Cor. xv. 22); but death is the wages of sin, (Rom. vi. 23) : therefore, in Adam all sinned; for by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned, i. e. sinned in Adam....(Rom. v. 12) ; for (ver. 19.) by one man's disobedience many were made sinners : And, accordingly, by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation : and hence all are, by nature, children of wrath....(Eph. ii. 3.)
OBJ. But how can we be guilty of Adam's first sin ? It was he committed it, and not we : and that without our consent, and a long time before we were born.
Ans. Adam, by divine appointment, stood and acted as our public head : He stood a representative in the room of all his posterity ; and, accordingly, acted not only for himself, but for them. His sustaining this character rendered him a type of Christ, the second Adam, who has laid down his life in the room and stead of sinners : And his being spoken of in scripture as a type of Christ, with respect to this character of a public head, proves that he did actually sustain such a character....(Rom v. 14): And, therefore, as, by the obedience of Christ, many are made righteous ; so, by the disobedience of Adam, many are made sinners-(ver 19,) i. e. by the imputation of Christ's obedience, believers become legally righteous -righteous in the sight of God, by virtue of an established constitution; and so have the reward of eternal life : So, by the imputation of Adam's first sin, his posterity, by ordinary generation, became legally sinners-sinners in the sight of God, by virtue of an established constitution, and so are exposed to the punishment of
eternal death, the proper wages of sin. Now, it is true, we did not PERSONALLY rise in rebellion against God in that first transgression, but he who did do it was our representative. We are members of the community he acted for, and God considers us as such ; and, therefore, looks upon us as being legally guilty, and liable to be dealt with accordingly—and so, on this account, in a perishing condition : But, perhaps, some will still be ready to say, “ And where is the justice of all this?” Methinks the following considerations, if we will be disinterestedly impartial, may set the matter in a satisfying light :
(1.) That the original constitution made with Adam, as to him self personally considered, was holy, just, and good.
(2.) That if all his posterity had been put under the same constitution, one by one, from age to age, as they came into being, to act for themselves, it had also been holy, just, and good.
(3.) That it was, in the nature of the thing, in all respects, as well for our interest, that Adam should be made our public head and representative, to act not only for himself, but for all his posterity, as that we should each stand and act for himself singly; and, in some respects, better.
(4.) That, in such a case, God, as supreme Lord and sovereign Governor of the whole world, had full power and rightful authority to constitute Adam our common head and public representative, to act in our behalf.—Let us, therefore, distinctly consider these particulars :
(1.) It is to be noted, the original constitution made with Adam, (Gen. ii. 17.) as to himself personally considered, was holy, just, and good, as will appear if we consider the circumstances he was under, antecedent to that constitution or covenant: For,
In the first place, antecedent to that covenant-transaction, he was under infinite obligations, from the reason and nature of things, to love God with all his heart, and obey him in every thing. From the infinite excellence and beauty of the divine nature, and from God's original, entire right to him, as his creature, and absolute authority over him, as his subject, did his infinite obligation so to do necessarily arise. It was fit....it was
infinitely fit and right that he should look upon the infinitely glorious God, his Maker and Governor, as being what he was, and as having such a right to him, and authority over him, as he had, and that he should be affected and act accordingly, antecedent to the consideration of any covenant-transaction : And, no doubt, this was actually the case with him before that covenant was made ; for he was created in the image of God, (Gen. i. 27.) And so his heart was full of a sense of his glory, and of admiring and adoring thoughts : He felt that he was not his own, but the Lord's—and he loved him, and was entirely devoted to him, in the temper of his mind, conscious of the infinite obligations he was under thereto. And farther, it is certain that God was the sole Lord and owner of this lower world, and all things in it ; and that Adam had no right to any thing but by a divine grant : And it is certain it was fit that Adam should be put into a state of trial, and that God had authority
to do it.
And now, since he was naturally under such infinite obligations to love and obey God, his Maker....God, the supreme Lord and sovereign Governor of ali things-since he had no right to any of the trees of the garden, but by the free grant of God; and since it was fit he should be put into a state of trial, and God had authority to do it: since these things were so, it is evident that constitution was HOLY—In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die. God had a right to make such a law, for Adam was his, and all the trees in the garden were his, and he was, by nature, God, SUPREME LORD AND SOVEREIGN Gov. ERNOR of the whole world, and it was fitting he should act as such—and it was infinitely fit that Adam should have a sacred regard to his authority in all things, because he was such-and that his eternal welfare should lie at stake, and be suspended upon his good behavior : And, no doubt, Adam viewed things thus, and was thoroughly sensible that God had a right to prohibit that tree upon pain of death, and that he was under infinite obligations to have a most sacred regard to his will in that matter,-Thus that constitution was holy.
And if we consider, in the next place, that, as has been observed, Adam was under infinite obligations to love God, his Maker, with all his heart, and obey him in every thing, resulting from the very reason and nature of things, it will appear that the threatening was just ; and no more than what he must have expected, had he fallen into any sin whatsoever, antecedent to any constitution at all. Adam, in a state of pure nature, i. e. prior to any covenant-transaction, was under infinite obligations to perfect love and perfect obedience ; the least defect, therefore, must have been infinitely sinful ; and so, by consequence, must have deserved an infinite punishment : And it was meet that God, the Governor of the world, should punish sin according to its real desert : in the nature of things it was meet, antecedent to any express declaration of his design to do 80; and Adam knew all this : He knew what obligations he was under to God, to love him with all his heart, and obey him in every thing; and, by consequence, he was conscious to himself that the least defect would be an infinite evil, and so would deserve an infinite punishment ; and he knew that it was the nature of God to render to every one according to his deserts : he was certain, therefore, from the reason and nature of things, antecedent to that threatening, that the least sin would expose him to an infinite punishment. From this view of the case, it is plain, that that threatening was just, and Adam did most perfectly approve of it as such. It was no more than it was reasonable for Adam to expect, and meet for God to inflict, for any transgression of the law of nature : And it was against the law of nature for Adam to eat the forbidden fruit, when once God had said he should not. It was practically denying God's supremacy..... casting off his authority, and actually setting up his will against the Lord's. If any sin, there. fore, deserved an infinite punishment, surely that did.
Remark. And here, by the way, from this view of the case, we may gain a certain knowledge of what God meant by Thou shalt surely die ; or, as it is in the original, In dying thou shalt die ; and may be certain how Adam understood it. He did
not mean that Adam should be annihilated; for such a punishment was not equal to the crime : He might, without injustice, have annihilated Adam, had he remained innocent ; for he that gives Being, of his mere good pleasure, may, of his mere good pleasure, take it away again : nor could Adam have brought God into debt by a thousand years' perfect obedience ; for he owed himself, and all he could do, to God his Maker....Rom. xi. 35. God meant to punish Adam according to his deserts ; but annihilation would not have been such a punishment: and therefore it is certain that this was not what God meant. Adam knew that sin was an infinite evil, and so deserved an infinite punishment, and that it was meet it should be punished according to its deserts, and that it was the nature of God to do so ; but annihilation was not such a punishment, and Adam could not but know it: and therefore Adam could not understand death in this sense. God meant to punish Adam according to his deserts. And what did he deserve ? Why, an infinite punishment ; i. e. to have all good taken away, and all kinds of evil come upon him forever.
him forever. Well, what good had Adam in possession? Why, he had a natural life, resulting from the union of his soul and body, with all the delights and sweetnesses thereof; and he had a spiritual life, resulting from the gracious influences of the holy spirit, and consisting of the image of God, and sense of his love, with all the delights and sweetnesses thereof ; and he was formed for immortality, and so was in a capacity of eternal life and blessedness, in glorifying God, and enjoying him : Here, therefore, he was capable of a natural, a spiritual, and an eternal death-to have soul and body rent asunder forever--to be forsaken by the spirit of God, and given up to the power of sin and satan forever, and to have God Almighty become his everlasting enemy. All this he deserved ; and therefore God meant all this: All this he knew he should deserve, and therefore he could not but understand the threat. ening to comprehend all this. Besides, that which makes it still more certain, that this was the meaning of that first threatening, is, that God has since very expressly threatened eternal