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nurfing fathers, and queens nursing mothers to the Christian church, this cannot, in reason, be supposed to intend any more than that kings and queens should take Christ's people into their protection ; and defend and secure them,
a nurse doth her child, from every evil that they are exposed to, upon the account of their profession ; but it will not follow from hence, that they were to make men christians by force and violence, or to deftroy the common rights of mankind,
E NOU I RY
Concerning SIN, in which is con
sidered Original Sin.
HIS enquiry is threefold ; first, what sin is. Secondly, who are guilty of it, so as to be properly called sinners.
Thirdly, whether one person may be guilty of the sin which is actually committed in and by the person of another.
First, To use St. John's definition, as in 1 John iii. 4. Sin is the transgression of the law ; or to express it more fully, fin is an irregular, disorderly, wicked act, either of the mind singly, or of the mind and practice in conjunction ; by which a person chufes to do what in reason and justice he ought not, or chuses to avoid what in reason and justice he ought to do.
Secondly, Such, and such only, are guilty of fin, so as to be properly called sinners, who transgress the law, or who chufe to do, or to avoid doing, as aforesaid.
Thirdly, When any person, by advising, approving of, consenting to, or not using his endea. vour to prevent the sin committed by another ; or any other way makes himself an accessory to another's crime, either before or after the fact, such a person inay, in some fenfe, be said to be guilty of the sin which is committed in and by the person of another, because he becomes a partner with the criminal in his folly, Not, but properly speaking, every one in this case is guilty only of the part he bore in, or contributed to the sin committed; and is not guilty of the part which others bore in, or contributed towards it. Thus, if one man advises another to murder his neighbour, and another approves of, and justifies the fact, after it is committed, the latter, in this case, will not be guilty of advising to, nor of actually committing the murder, but only of justifying and approving it, when done, which was the part he bore in this wickedneis.
: If it be asked, may not one person be guilty of another's sin, except he is some way or other accelory to it? I answer, he cannot ; for as guilt arises from the irregularity and wickedness of the act to which it cleaves, so it cannot, in the nature of the thing, extend itself any farther than to the personal actor, and to all those that are some way or other, in some kind or degree, accessory to it for as it is altogether unreasonable, and unjust, to charge that upon a person which he did not act, nor was any way accessory to, so there can be no , such thing in nature as a person to be guilty of a çrime which was wholly out of his power to prevent, which he never consented to, or approved of, nor was any way accessory to, either before or after the fact.
Objection, Tho' in the nature of the thing the guilt of any act can extend no farther than the actor, and those who are some way or other acs çessory to it, yet as God is an absolute and uncong troulable Being, who can dispose of his creatures as he lifts, so he can impute the guilt of one person's acts to another, tho the person he imputes it to be no way accessory to that act. Thus God imputes the guilt of Adem's
fin to all his posterity, tho' they were no way accessory to his crime,
Answerin Arswer, Tho' God is absolute and uncontroulable with relation to his creatures, and in that respect can do with them as he lists, yet he is not lo with relation to himself; because he is influenced and governed by those divine perfections of wildom and goodness, truth and righteousness, which dwell everlastingly in him.' And tho' God is under no restraint, with refpect to any thing without himself, yet he is so far restrained in all his dealings with his creatựres) by the moral rectitude of his nature, as that he never will act contrary to the principles of wisdom, goodness, truth, and justice; and consequently, to say that he imputes the fin of one person to another, which was in no respect accessory thereto, is to impute unrighteousness and iniquity to the most holy God; than which there can be no greater Aander or defamation. That to impute sin, as aforesaid, is contrary to the principles of justice and equity is manifest, not only from the nature and reason of the thing, but also from the testimony of God, who hath declared it to be so, in his holy word, as in Ezek. xviii. where, when God, by his propheţ, had assured the people of Israel that as all fouls were his, so the Tous that sinned should die ; and that if a good man had an evil son, the son only, and not the father, should be chargeable with the guilt of his actions, and the like of a wicked father and a good fon; and that the father should not bear the iniquity of the fon, nor the fon the iniquity of the father but that the righteousness of the righteous Mhall be upon him, and the crickedness of the wicked upon bìn : he then appeals to the judgment of those very Israelites who complained of the iniquity of his dealings with thein, whether he did not govern himself in this respect by the principles of justice and equity, as at verse 25, 29. Hear now, Okcuje of Israel, cre nct nu urys equal From
hence I infer, that as the charging every man's fins upon himself, and not upon another, was just and equal in God's account, so the contrary to this, viz. the charging or imputing one man's fin to another, that was no way accessory thereto, is unequal and unjust in his account allo. And as God declared, by the mouth of his prophet, that he would deal equally with his creatures in this refpect, by charging the guilt of every man's sin upon himself, and not upon another; so whoever asserts otherwise of God, is guilty of Nander and false accusation against the most High ; consequently God will not impute Adam's fin to his posterity.
If it should be here replied, that tho' this is true with respect to actual, yet it is not so with respect to original fin. Every common father shall be chargeable only with the guilt of his own fin; but Adam was more than a common father, he being the head and representative of all mankind, and therefore the guilt of this his fin is chargeable upon
all his pofterity. Answer, if by original sin is here meant the son of Adam in eating the forbidden fruit, this was as much an atual sin as any that hath been committed by any other man; and God is as much obliged, by the rectitude of his nature, to deal equally in charging the guilt of this sin upon no other than hiin that actually committed it, and those that were some way or other accessory to that crime, as he is obliged to deal fo with all other sins and sinners. And if we consider Adam as a head and representative to his pofterity, it makes no alteration in the case, because it was not his posterity, but almighty God which constituted that relation, and therefore his pofterity ought not, in justice, to be sufferers by it. If the body of mankind had chosen Adam to be their kead, and had given him power and au