Графични страници
PDF файл

the Gospel. But we do say they were never expressly taught by them as a part of the Christian scheme. Paul, in his epistle to the Romans, makes use of this superstition to illustrate his own argument, and reasons with them upon the supposition of its truth. But so did Christ speak of an unclean spirit, when it was cast out of a man walking through dry places and finding no rest, all which is taken from the Rabbinical fables of that period. Paul uses the argumentum ad hominen, as it is called, uses an argument well calculated to strike the Jews, but which when reduced to the strict rules of logic, would not be conclusive to us: “As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive. Now it is not pretended that Christ is the absolute author of immortality to man, but that he made it known and proved it by his resurrection. There is no more reason to suppose that the mortality of mankind is any more nearly connected with Adam, except the derivation of a mortal nature from him. It has been translated with good reason, “As like Adam all die, so like Christ shall all be made alive." Doctrines may be referred to, nay, assumed

true for the sake of illustration, without affirming their truth. That strict argument is not intended, but illustration, we learn from the nature of the comparison. “Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.” Now those who maintain original sin do not believe that the resurrection of Christ produced the immortality of man, but only made it certain. He was the first


who rose. The looseness of the argument does not require that Adam should have produced the death of his descendants, but only death came by him in such a sense that he was the first mortal, and his posterity inherit from him a nature subject to mortality.

“And were by nature children of wrath, even as others.” Examine your Bibles and you will find that the apostle is not here speaking of the moral condition in which men are born in contrast with any possible state of innocence in which they might have been created, but is contrasting their present state of Christian purity with their former licentious practical conduct, in their heathen and unconverted state, surrounded as they were by bad example and manifold corruption. “And you hath he quickened who were dead”—not in original sin but "in trespasses and sins” of their own. “Wherein in time past ye walketh according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit which now worketh in the children of disobedience. Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past, in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were naturally,” as it might be more accurately rendered, that is from the circumstances in which we were placed,“were naturally children of wrath,” that is exposed to sin, and the sufferings that flow from it.

To this passage we would oppose the unequivocal declarations of Christ concerning infants.

“Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” “Unless ye repent, and become as little children ye shall not enter into the kingdom of God.” That is, that infants are in a state which fits them for the kingdom of heaven. But if this doctrine be true, then when men have come back to the condition of children, so far from being fit for heaven they deserve God's wrath, curse, and damnation, for the very qualities, which he hath given them.

We would oppose to this doctrine, what is said in the book of Jonah concerning the infants in the city of Nineveh. “Should not I spare Nineveh, that great city,” said God, "wherein are more than six score thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left.” If the doctrine of original sin be true, then these children could have been no obstacle, for if they deserved God's wrath and damnation, temporal destruction must have been but a light thing for them to endure.

We would oppose to this doctrine the declaration of Solomon, concerning the rectitude of man's moral constitution. “God hath made man upright,” or rather right, “but they, not Adam,)“have sought out many inventions.” What does this assert, but that God has made human nature right and good, and that the natural action of all its parts is good, and that evil is an invention, a perversion of the action of that nature, and a constraint from that course which it is constituted to pursue. If the

doctrine we are opposing be true, the very reverse of this is the fact, that God makes men wrong, and wrong is their natural and spontaneous action. The invention, the perversion would be to do right. But what is still more extravagant, of this invention they are made utterly incapable.

Such are the arguments on which the doctrine of original sin rests, and such are the reasons why we reject it. Let each one judge of them by the light of his own understanding.




“Then Peter opened his mouth and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.”-Acts x. 34.

PETER as you recollect, was led to make this remark, by the fact that Cornelius, a Gentile, had received a peculiar mark of God's favour and approbation. God had said to him in a vision, “Cornelius, thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God." This, to Peter, was utterly astonishing, bound up as he was in his narrow Jewish prejudices, and conceiving that no one but a Jew could be saved. “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” This declaration of Peter seems to my mind to assert the general truth, that every human being in all nations and ages is in a state of moral probation, has some knowledge of God, or of some superhuman Power, and is capable of acting with reference to that power, of fearing God in the sense of exercising towards him the sentiments of piety and reverence, has the capacity of distinguishing right from wrong, and of


« ПредишнаНапред »