« VorigeDoorgaan »
strain him to seek for the best in- employed in considering the fact formation respecting it which his and the manner of the fall; the opportunities can command, or his import of the sentences pronounced capacity admit.
upon the Serpent, Eve, and Adam; We are happy to have it in our the consequences of the fall upon power to recommend Mr. Cormack's Adam; and the connexion be. disquisition to our readers, as one tween the threatening before the in which they will find the article fall, the sentence pronounced after of original sin ably and successfully it, and the punishment which enhandled. The volume is of a very sued. In Chapter Fourth, an an: manageable bulk. Its statements swer is given to these questions, are clear and concise. Its argu- Does analogy furnish any light on ment is skilfully conducted. Its the subject? Does positive fact spirit is that of candour united with afford any evidence of the doctrine decision. And its style is charac- of original sin ? And, if it does, terized by appropriateness and per. what is that evidence? Chapter spicuity. Our author gives proof Fifth presents us with a statement of his having studied his subject of what the Scriptures teach conwith much care. He gives no cerning original sin; and, after exquarter to the sophistry and misre. amining the views of this truth, presentations of his opponents. He suggested by Jewish institutions brings forward as much classical the general creed of early Christiand biblical erudition as serves his ans, and the opinions most prevapurpose, or rather the purpose of lent at the present day, we have iruth, without falling into the error these two propositions proved and of overloading his pages with learn. illustrated, ist, That Adam was ed quotations. And pursuing his constituted the federal head of all object with steady aim, and having mankind; and, 2d, That, in the the conclusiveness of his reasoning covenant made with Adam, al in support of the truth which he has mankind were included; in him all undertaken to defend, only surpass- sinned, and fell with him in his ed by his conviction of its import- first transgression. This chapter ance, and his zeal for its mainten- also contains notices of hostility to ance, he has produced a most re- the doctrine of original sin, since spectable work, on a difficult and im- the days of Dr. Taylor, particularportant partof the Christian system. ly in the case of Priestley and Bel
Instead of giving any disserta. sham; reasons for conducting the tion of our own, we shall give a argument in the manner adopted; short view of what our author has an illustration of God's visiting the done, and accompany it with such iniquities of the parents upon ibeir extracts as may afford a fair speci- children ; and an inquiry whether men of the manner in which the eternal death be ever inflicted for work is executed.
Adam's sin alone. Chapter Sixth After a short but suitable intro. discusses the value of objections of duction, he endeavours to ascer- a merely critical or metaphysical tain the information which we de nature against the doctrine of oririve from the light of nature on ginal sin, or any other doctrine, the subject of original sin. This The Seventh Chapter, which is the occupies the First Chapter. In the last, contains a recapitulation of Second Chapter, he inquires into what has been previously advanced, the reality and nature of the state and an improvement of the docof innocence, and the kind of obli- trines defended. The whole con. gation under which Adam was laid cludes with a critical dissertation. in that state. Chapter Third is on the words " All," " All Men,"
« Many,"-in Rom. v. 12, &c. and tabula rasa.” When his faculties begin 1 Cor. xv. 22, with a view to ex. to open, they do not discover an equal ten
dency to good and evil. Who will deny plain and fix the sense of them.
that, in their early development, they exHaving given this analysis of bibit marked propensities to cunning, dethe work, we shall now, quote a few ceit, and selfishness? But if the mind were passages from its pages, to afford thus evenly balanced, ought we not to have the reader some idea of its merits. instances equally numerous and decided,
of openness, candour, and generosity ? The first passage that we select is
“ But besides that the tendency to evil that in which our author combats is clearly, and by general acknowledgment the notion that the principle of at least, greater than the tendency to imitation affords a satisfactory so
good—for it is to be recollected that we are Jution of the universal depravity of reasoning as if possessed of the light of na
ture alone--the exact reverse of this should makind.
be the case, when we take into view the “ Now, if the depravity of mankind is agency of conscience. Supposing the afresolvable into imitation, there must have fections equally disposed to good or evil, been a period in the life of the individual the power of conscience should throw the when this principle began to operate upon
balance decidedly in favour of good. This him, and therefore there must have been a is a power, whose existence is not hypotheperiod when he was free from its influence. tical, and whose agency is not imaginary. There must have been a time, accordingly, Yet, according to the supposition we are when he was perfectly virtuous; or at considering, it is a force incessantly acting least exempt from any wrong bias. We on the one side, without any antagonist might justly demand instances, therefore, force on the other, to preserve or to restore in which the “ divinæ particula auræ, the equilibrium, which, by the agency of was seen to animate humanity in all its conscience, must have been lost. unsullied loveliness. We might demand, “ The attempt to solve the appearances why no solitary instance, at least, has been of human depravity, then, by the principointed out of an escape from the influence ple of imitation, influencing a mind equally of this dread and universal destroyer. The disposed, or, which is the same thing, equalpower of conscience, too, being so mighty ly indifferent to virtue and vice, appears to on the side of moral goodness, how is it be quite untenable. This appears still that examples of untainted virtue may not more decisively, when we take into view be pointed out, since there are mighty rea- the powerful agency of conscience on the sons for imitating her example, while there side of virtue, while the hypothesis of imi. is no reason that can bear examination for tation exhibits no countervailing power to imitating the other ?
balance its force. Although, however, the “ But the attempt to account for the argument seems to be complete, there is universality of human depravity by imi. yet another consideration to be noticed, and tation, has other difficulties to combat, that is, the influence of the whole of those which are, at least, as insuperable as these. tendencies in our nature, which may be Imitation implies an example to copy.
classed under the head of the desire of But how will this coincide with the well self-preservation.” The love of life, and known fact, of continually recurring in happiness, and therefore of all the means stances of iniquity, where no corresponding of securing and perpetuating both, consti. example was exhibited,-instances, indeed, tutes one of the most marked characters of which are distinguished by a measure of human nature. Yet such is the nature of originality and genius coolly exercised, in man, that he cannot act virtuvusly without giving a species of diabolical perfection to feeling that it is immediately followed by the infamous device ? That surely cannot a certain portion of every pure enjoyment; be called imitation, of which there existed nor can be act viciously, without experie no prior example.
encing something of an entirely opposite • Some hold that the mind may be cor. character. Now, without stopping to exarectly compared to a " tabula rasa," which' mine nicely how far this instance may be we may translate a sheet of blank paper. resolvable into the power of conscience it.' It has no characters written on it, but it is self, it is evident that the love of life and ready to receive any. But whatever weight happiness · must throw in much additional may be allowed to this notion in explain force, both into the admonitions and re. ing our intellectual system, and in decid- monstrances of conscience. ing on the doctrine of innate ideas, we must cannot, therefore, be accused of precipitandeny its applicability in a moral point of cy in now coming to the conclusion, that view. The moral part of man is not a the hypothesis of accounting for human
We surely state of spiritual death, as if there were
depravity on the principle of imitation is at rest. For; to suppose the one force to quite untenable, and ought to be rejected prevail over the other, is to suppose it suas " inadequate to solve the phenomena." perior to the other. By the smallest as
“ We must go beyond the range of signable superiority, however, of the one imitation, then, to discover something that force over the other, the equilibrium is deinakes the moral tendencies of man pre. stroyed; and as decidedly, though not so ponderate to the side of evil as we clearly violently, controls the weaker force, as if see they do in defiance of conscience, and the superiority were double, triple, or quad. self-interest, and self-love, and all the host ruple. of minor auxiliaries that range themselves * Let us apply this reasoning. It is not ne. under this mighty alliance. It would seem, cessary to a man's being in the state of moral then, that there must be some original and death, that he have not a single good quainborn propensity to evil interwoven with lity in him. We are not at present called our very frame; for nothing else appears to say, what is the fact in regard of human adequate to the solution of the phenome. nature. This is not necessary to the arna."
gument. We merely admit, that there is
an ascendancy of the artimal over the spi. Our next quotation is the au
ritual and moral nature. Now, according thor's
to the premises, if there be in men, & argument on eternal death,
single particle, so to speak, of evil more as forming a part of the penalty than of good, they are as certainly in s of the first transgression.
not a single particle of good in them. For “Now, upon reflection, this seems to im. the smallest superiority, as has been shown, ply nothing more than the continuance of will as surely, though not so evidently and that ruin, which sin had produced. And violently, control the weaker, ss soy supewithout the intervention of some mighty riority, however great. cause, and that cause extrinsic of the sin. “ This general theorem, as it may be ner himself, it would seem, that all his called, furnishes us with distinct ideas on miseries must necessarily continue ; or, in the subject; and by the recollection of ily other words, that the death must be eter. as we go along, as well as of the illustranal.
tions of it in the case of Adam, wbich • There have been endless disputes about have been already exhibited, many objecthe essence, so to speak, of moral, or spiri. tions will be avoided, which might other tual death. We may take, as the most wise encumber our inquiry. unexceptionable statement of the matter, 6. Now, if the argument be tenable, it what has been shown above, which is, that authorizes the farther conclusion, that the animal nature has the ascendant over moral death is, in its own nature, eternal. the moral and spiritual nature.
We have “ 1. Of the truth and tenableness of already ascertained, that spiritual death, this conclusion, we may be convinced, by to this extent, passed upon our first pa-, attending to the illustration, already given, rents, when they sinned ; and, to whatever of what may be called the essence of moral precision, in regard of degrce, we may be death. Por it is impossible to conceive a afterwards conducted, we shall at present weaker force to prevail over a superior one. go no farther than we are warranted by For, to render this possible, the weaker the general fact.
must become the stronger force; and that “ The subject may be illustrated, in its this again may become possible, something first and simplest aspect, by a reference must be added to the weaker, or taken from to physical science : not that physical de the stronger force. But if this diminumonstrations warrant moral conclusions ; tion, or addition take place, it must be efbut that, when we have reached all 'the fected by some cause, extrinsic of the for. certainty that is attainable in the one ces themselves. For it is not natural to science, we may exhibit its evidence, and them; as, in their own nature, they must reason upon it, by the more tangible re- for ever retain their original relation to presentations of the other.
one another. Hence, the superiority of « Now, we have admitted that moral, or the animal over the rational nature, (that spiritual death is that state of humanity, is, moral death,) is naturally eternal. in which the animal nature has the ascend- “ 2. The conclusion, that moral death ant over the moral and spiritual nature. is, in its own nature, eternal, is farther conHere, then, are two unequal forces acting firmed by the nature of moral qualities or in opposition to one another; and this be- habits. We have as yet supposed the bent ing the case, we can have no doubt con. of the animal nature to have retained its cerning the result.
first power only, without any increase of “ Two forces, equal and opposite, remaia degree. This, however, is less than the
truth. It is well known, and universally quiring after the truth, by attending to acknowledged, that all moral habits are some of the facts of the divine administracontinually acquiring new accessions of tion. For it will be found, that God acts strength; and that, even in indifferent cases, upon the very principle alluded to, in the where they are begun, without any violent government of human affairs; and that, in impulse or excitement, they at last be the legislation of men, also, its adoprion is come quite irresistible and ungovernable. found necessary. God has declared, that Hence the proverbial expression that habit he will visit the iniquities of the fathers is a second nature ; and the Latin one, upon the children. The enemy of divine
revelation may find this declaration incom. • Quo semel est imbuta recens, servabit odorem Testa diu'
patible with his views of justice, and
may found upon this assumption an oba “ Moral habits, then, may be compar. jection to the divine origin of the book,
in which the declaration is made. But ed generally to bodies acted upon by gra. vitation. Beginning from rest, a stone
what shall be said of the validity of falls, during the first second, sixteen feet; but this objection, when we find the fact itself by its own tendency to approach the earth, broadly and prominently meeting us, in the or, to speak philosophically, by the excess ada.inistration of the divine government ? of the earth's attraction of the stone, above To follow out the objection consistently that of the latter to the former, it falls dura now, it will be necessary to conclude, that ing the next second, thirty-two feet; and the world is not governed by a Being of
It is something in this way tha: infinite perfection-nay, that the Ruler sins, at which corrupt nature itself at first and the Judge of all the earth, if such there shuddered, come, through familiarity, to
be, is deficient in justice, and does not do be regarded with less horror ; they are
that which is right. But this is a conclu. next borne with, afterwards they are loved, sion at wbich Deism itself would shudder, and, last of all, they are followed with and which can find admittance only into greediness. To illustrate and confirm the the cold and the dark bosom of Atheism. position we have now been considering,
16 Where then does the fact meet us ? an English and a Latin proverb of similar Every where : in the history of nations and import baye been introduced ; and it is individuals, and in our own daily observa, perhaps impossible to conclude these re
tion. In the history of the Jewish momarks more appropriately than by quoting narchy, we find the guilt visited apparently the following Hebrew proverb, whose less sometimes upon the actual transgrestruth is sanctioned by divine authority. sor, than upon his descendants ; so that, in . Can the Ethiopian,' says the Almighty by his day, were “ peace and truth,” while his prophet Jeremiah, . can the Ethiopian captivity and its worst evils awaited them, chauge his skin, or the leopard his spots ? 2 Kings xx. 19. And, without going remoteThen may ye also do good that are accus. ly into antiquity, who knows not of whole tomed to do evil.'-Jer. xiii. 23.
nations suffering, in various respects, for " In accordance, then, with the dictates successive generations, on account of crimes of sound philosophy, applied to certain and profligacy, committed before they facts in human nature, and the sanction of
were born ? Take next individual hu. Scripture, which might be extended to all man beings, and mark the effects of the that is said of the necessity of divine agen- good or evil of their conduct and characcy to restore the moral and spiritual life of ter upon their children. Take, first of all, man, we may now be perniitted perhaps
a dissolute parent, and let him be one that that it has been proved, that moral
moves in the lower ranks of life. The first death is, in its own nature, eternal."
form, in which his children suffer for his
misconduct, is that of hunger and cold; We also give the following ex.
while they are obnoxious to the diseases,
which often accompany these privations, tract on the subject of imputed and not seldom fall their victims. Again, guilt.
they are exposed to the two-fold evil, which .« It may be proper, however, to make arises from misgovernment, on the one a remark upon the “ hard saying,” so dif- hand, and the contagious example of vice, ficult to be received in this doctrine, and on the other. Another consequence of the against which many of the keenest objec. dissolute father's conduct is, that there is tions are pointed ; and that is, the imputa. with from his children the education tion to men of the guilt of a sin, in which necessary to their acting a useful and rethey were not personal agents. Consider. spectable part in life ; as well as the yet able light, however, will be thrown upon more needful and important instruction in the doubts of those, who are sincerely in- religious faith and dury. Then, with what
peculiar disadvantage does the child of an commend it to the attention of our immoral and dissolute parent, compared readers. with that of the virtuous, enter upon the business of life? Do we want a servant ? “ There is just one topic more, to which --There are few situations, and these the the author of this treatise would solicit very lowest, which his neglected education the attention of the reader, whose views enables him to fill ; and, even for these, we are in unison with his own; and that is, the are desirous, if possible, to obtain the child cultivation of Christian charity. He who of religious and virtuous parents, who has sees himself to be, by nature, depraved, never been familiar with vice, and has been guilty, and under the curse of God's taught at least a sacred regard to truth and righteous law, and indebted to free, sovethe rights of his neighbour. Thus it ap. reign grace and compassion for his salvapears, that God has, in point of fact, 60
tion from first to last, is acting entirely out connected the fortunes (if the word be al. of character, if he be not anxious, that lowed) of children with their parents, that “ the same mind be in him, which was they must suffer for their iniquities.
also in Christ Jesus, who, though he was • In human governments the same prin. rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that ciple is adopted. The nobleman, who has we, through his poverty, might be made been convicted of treason, is deprired of
Mearken to the great Apostle, his estates and honours, as well as of his while he urges upon our cultivation, as life; and his children are driven, orphans, being the appropriate fruits of a free salvain poverty and shame, for their parents' tion through the cross of Christ, the fol. home. As we have discovered the same lowing lowly, yet lofty graces of the re
newed soul. principle pervading the divine and human
6. Put on, therefore," says governments, we may perhaps find little he, as the elect of God, holy and be dificulty in discovering the reason of its loved, bowels of mereies, kindness, hum. adoption in both cases ; although, strictly bleness of miud, meekness, long-suffering; speaking, we have to do at present only forbearing one another, and forgiving one with the fact. The reason appears to be another, if any have a quarrel against any; this: that, as children are the dearest even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. objects on which a parent's affections can
And above all these things, put on charity, rest, by the knowledge that their happiness which is the bond of perfectncis.” Col. iii. and respectability are indissolubly connect.
12-14. We are required to “ put on ed with the faithful and upright discharge charity,” above all the other graces of the of his own duty, the parent is naturally Spirit, in which we are arrayed. It must deterred from the vices, which would ruin not only exist, but exist in such large mes. them, and powerfully stimulated to the sure as to cover us, and be distinctly risivirtues, which promote their good. And, ble by all who behold us. And, if the notwithstanding the comparatively few in
writer might lay aside the formality, which stances of brutalized vice, with which we his present duty, in some measure, imposes sometimes meet, there seems to be no rea.
upon him, and address the congenial reader son to doubt, that one of the most power
with the familiarity and affection, which fully successful principles, which operate to
are so suitable and seemly in children of the prevention of the world becoming worse the same family, he would add, “ Now, than it is, is that wbich it has now been at
my brother, see that you not only possess, tempted shortly to illustrate, and of which
and constantly wear this fair robe of charity, the distinct enunciation is, that God pun
but that you wear it with a noble, yet ishes the children for the iniquities of their lowly gracefulness, appropriate to the dig. parents. The same beneticial result may nity of your character, as a child of God. be traced in the operation of this principle It is worn by the redeemed immortals in human governments. A man may have above, and it is one of the very few things so far made up his mind to the execution
you' at present possess, that shall accompany of a treasonable purpose, as to embark his you to your heavenly home, and be with own individual life, and property, and
you there for evermore. Prophecy shall honour in the enterprise ; but yet he is in
soon be fulfilled, and tongues shall cease to stantly deterred from it, upon reflecting, be needed, and when faith has conducted that his failure must involve his children
us to the realities, with the prospect of in the same ruin with himself.”
which she has so often comforted our
hearts, her task is done, and she leaves us The last extract we give is, from that cheerer of our earthly pilgrimage,
in the land of enjoyment. Even hope, the chapter in which our author having conducted us to the portals of beaimproves the doctrine he had been ven, leaves us there, • entering into the discussing; and we earnestly rea joy of our Lord ;' but • charity never fail